Bristol - 28th April to May 3rd 2019

AustroBrits.. Here we go again ….
this time Bristol for a change

For three years, AB has been eager to discover the “England outside London,” preferably the northern parts. This year it was Bristol, not so much in the north but definitely outside London.

The beginning was a bit familiar, though: Another airline went bankrupt (this time it was BMI) and booking arrangements had to be changed. A big thanks to “Herbert’s Travel-Agency” for solving our problems yet again and for covering all the extra costs. Hazel suggested a WALKING TOUR to England for next year…..

Finally this year’s tour could start:

Sunday 28th April saw 7 AB’s, armed with the correctly printed out boarding passes, ready for take-off at Innsbruck Airport.

After so much information and walks across the bridge and to the hills above it (for the wonderful views), the visit to the first pub was due to start: The Mall, conveniently situated at Clifton Village.

Our hotel (Holiday Inn) was a bit difficult to find and to access due to construction works going on in the area around the station (Bristol Temple Meads). Comparisons with Südtiroler Platz in Innsbruck were of course instantly made. The hotel restaurant / bar area was only busy in the morning, serving as the breakfast lounge. Not everybody appreciated the breakfast, it was English only, i.e. cooked, but showed little variation (bacon, eggs, sausages).

Monday was dedicated to the exploration of Bristol. We took the right bus (Hazel had worked out everything fine) and took to extensive walking afterwards. First, we headed for the Red Lodge and arrived too early. But we were allowed a garden tour until opening time.

At 11 sharp, the visit to the 500 years old, Elizabethan, Tudor building could start from the cellar to the attic.

At Heathrow Karin and Reinhold, who had preferred “inside London” before our tour, were waiting for us. Hazel then knew where to ask and go to take the National Express bus to Bristol straight away, without any travels to other terminals. She also arranged for the cheapest inside Bristol tickets e.g. for our late afternoon trip to Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Heinz, as always our competent co-guide, passed on his knowledge of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the famous engineer, builder of bridges and ships.

Everybody was so thrilled that we decided to add the 300 year old, Georgian House to our list. While walking from one century into another, we discovered Banksy paintings and picturesque pubs that we did NOT visit, but Reinhold took pictures. And there was of course Heinz, who introduced us to all the famous Bristol people whose statues are scattered around town.

Finally, after discovering that another Banksy had sort of disappeared, we “landed” in the harbour. There was a short time for a lunch break before taking the boat to Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s SS Great Britain.

A world of its own to discover – we spent the whole afternoon on the discovery.

The day ended in The Ostrich, where some people ordered their second fishn’ chips of the trip.

After the usual breakfast, day 3 started off at Temple Meads, where got on a train to Bath. There, AB did not head straight for the town centre, but for the Kennet and Avon Canal, dear to Heinz, who had already introduced it in a talk at the AB rooms.

The sun came out and so we could follow the Canal and enjoy the landscape and of course watch boats passing through the locks.

The visit to Bath, the Crescent, a lunch in the open air, the cathedral and the Roman baths came afterwards. Some were so eager to have tea at Sally Lunn’s upstairs that they missed the opening (or rather closing) time of the museum downstairs. Thanks to less greedy people like Reinhold, a few photos could be taken.

The visit to Bath, the Crescent, a lunch in the open air, the cathedral and the Roman baths came afterwards. Some were so eager to have tea at Sally Lunn’s upstairs that they missed the opening (or rather closing) time of the museum downstairs. Thanks to less greedy people like Reinhold, a few photos could be taken.

The evening meal was however enjoyed at the Crystal Palace, where we met Hazel’s childhood friend Rita.

Day 4 started less friendly as far as the weather was concerned. And it started a little later than planned because the people that were meant to bring us the hired cars had great difficulties in finding the way to the hotel (due to the construction site in the area).

But then we had our cars (fitted with GPS, not necessarily working properly) and set out for the day trip. Dyrham Castle (and the large park around it) was our first aim. Some people took the “castle bus” to get from the entrance to the castle, the sporting ones preferred to walk through the large estate photographing the deer and other animals. While we were busy exploring the ground floor inside, the rain set in. Unfortunately, there were not enough places on the tour of the upper storeys left. So, some members explored the gardens and the flowers ending up in the cafeteria early, whereas the happy few got an English lesson on vermin. After a lunch break (rather hasty for the vermin experts) there was a rush for the 1 o’clock bus. Annemarie had to eat her salad on the bus because the cafeteria had somehow forgotten about it.

Meanwhile, the sun had definitely disappeared, but the rain made several breaks.

The Cotswolds were lovely nevertheless. Burton on the Water, Upper and Lower Slaughter proved the next highlights of the tour. Bourton on the Water also gave ever body the chance to do their shopping: biscuits, tea, sausages etc. In the evening, we managed to find The Fox Den, the most exclusive pub of the tour, without or despite the GPS (no matter if English or Austrian). A local biker was very happy indeed, when he stopped to help and then we discovered the pub sign ourselves.

Day 5 offered us a very different picture of the UK: Wales and its old coal mines.

After a train journey to Newport and a bus ride to Blaenavon Big Pit, all members got their helmets and left their belongings on the shelves (no lockers!) before going down into the dark Pit. An experience of an unusual kind, accompanied (and entertained) by somebody who still remembers his life as a coal miner.


A short visit to Newport and its harbour followed, essentially in search of Ye Olde Murrenger  (you guessed it: a pub)  whose meal rounded off the day.  The oldest pub we’ve ever been to.

Day 6 was mainly “organised” by the fact that we had tickets for a relatively late train to Gatwick (via Reading). So, after packing and saying good-bye to Karin and Reinhold, who added a further tour to explore Stonehenge and some other places by car, the morning was spent at the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery before starting off from Temple Meads again, always hoping that all trains would be punctual. And they were and so was the plane. Arriving very late at Munich Airport (for once the luggage was already running along the conveyor belt before we got there) and after managing to find our Four Seasons taxi, everybody was happy to reach home (some lucky ones before midnight, most afterwards). Thanks again Hazel (and Herbert) for the arrangements, thanks again Heinz, our competent co-guide and driver, thanks again Reinhold for driving and photographing, even if you don’t want to be thanked.