Saturday, 5 July 2014

Goodbye Bristol, Hello Bath (and Stoke St Gregory)

Getting a rental car here has been an interesting process, but get one I did. However, we needed to get a taxi to the airport to pick it up. They have a system here where you can pre-book a taxi which sounds great in theory, but it seems when they arrive they aren’t quite what you expected. It has happened twice now.

Today the driver only just managed to get our monster bags into his Mercedes sporty type car for the drive out to the airport which is miles away. Once we got there, there was a queue of people to pick up cars and two people working. As well as doing the paperwork for each person, they also had to man the barrier to let the completed renters exit the carpark. Thirty minutes later we had a car, and piled our bags into it relatively easily. We were off, in pretty much a brand spanking new car, with no maps – because they were a bit budget in that department.

Following signs seemed like the sensible option, and very soon we arrived in Bath. Total contrast to Bristol. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is absolutely stunning, and so many museums and activities to experience. Plus, all of this AND the shops are right in the heart of the city. Today as well as all the normal tourist crowd it was graduation at the university so there was extra traffic and less parking.

We parked, found a lovely place for lunch and then marvelled at the shops and soaked up the vibe. People were so much warmer than they seemed in Bristol, willing to stop and chat instead of scurrying off and avoiding eye contact. We looked at 3 flats after lunch and are going to have trouble choosing between them I think.

Then it was back to the car, with our new map book and off to Holly Farm. There were some tense moments of map reading, and a couple of instance where the driver doubted the map readers skill, and the map reader used a shouty voice instead of a SatNav voice.

But, we made it and have been made to feel most welcome. Our hosts, who are related distantly (6th cousins to me with common ancestors who were born early 18th century) have given us all sorts of ideas for places to visit and even other places we could consider to live. More of that as time goes on.

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