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Laundry and Banksy Tour

Friday, August 2, 2013 @ 04:22 pm from England England
Day 37

After the long walk yesterday I knew I wanted to take today a little easy. I got up, ate and then did some very much needed laundry. Washing things in sinks without proper soap only goes so far.

Once that was finished and I ate lunch, I loaded a map on my phone of all the nearby spots that Banksy had done some work. It was a little frustrating at first because the map doesn't really give you precisely where the works are, but rather a general area. I spent quite a bit of time hunting around but finally found a few. Unfortunately some of the works were covered over or were behind construction equipment. I did get to see a few good ones though.

I read in the College Green park for a bit but decided to head back to the hostel for the rest of the afternoon. It was a little noisy in the park and it kept looking like it was going to rain.

Tomorrow I head to Cardiff for a few nights. I'm hoping that once I'm there I can investigate a place to stay for a couple weeks so I don't have to constantly be on the move. It would be nice to spend some quality time in a city without having to think about where I'm heading to next.
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Banksy's work
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Banksy - Mild Mild West

Walking to Bath

Thursday, August 1, 2013 @ 07:43 pm from England England
Day 36

Walking. Lots of walking. I got up at 7:30 this morning and was out the door by 9am after eating and answering some emails. It took me about 20 minutes to make it to the Bristol-Bath Railway Path and once I was on there, it was 16 miles of uninterrupted paved pathway all the way to Bath.

The path reminded me a lot of the Monon Trail in Indianapolis, IN. A nice mix of shade and sun with some nice scenery and river crossings along the way. Next to the path for quite a distance were blackberry and raspberry plants. Unfortunately they weren't all ripe but I was able to pick a few and eat them along the way.

I stopped a few times along the way to snack or have some water. It was about 1:30 by the time I made it into Bath's city center. I was thoroughly exhausted by this point. I got some cash from an ATM, bought some ice cream and a peanut butter cookie and enjoyed that in a park in Bath.

I saw the outside of the roman baths and the Bath Abbey again. I didn't need to pay another 12 pounds to enter the baths since I saw it 2 years ago when Eric and I were there. The town was definitely much more busy this time than when I was here last time. I'm not sure if it was due to the time of the year or the amazing weather we've been having here, but the tourists were out in force.

Rather than walk another 17 miles back to Bristol, I got on a bus which dropped me off not too far from the hostel. I picked up a locally made sausage for dinner and some bread to make a sandwich for tomorrow's lunch.

When I got back to the hostel I immediately took a much needed shower and then answered some emails and have been relaxing with some beers and dinner since then. I have a feeling I'll be passing out early tonight!

Tomorrow I'm going to walk around Bristol and check out some of Banksy's art on the streets. I also need to do some much needed laundry before I leave here. They've got a washer and dryer that I can pay to use. I definitely need to take advantage of that.
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Walking to Bath
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Bath Abbey and Pump House
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Bath, England

Exploring Bristol

Wednesday, July 31, 2013 @ 06:46 pm from England England
Day 35

I got up at 7:30 today so I could get an early start on walking around and exploring Bristol. I was originally thinking about walking down to Bath via the old railway path today but the forecast was calling for 70% chance of rain. Staying closer to buildings and the hostel seemed like the wiser choice.

The first place I visited was the Clifton area. In this section of town they have the suspension bridge, a giant park and an old observatory (which is now being sold to the highest bidder). It was a big gloomy during the 2 mile walk over there but I passed through some really nice areas of towns full of cafes and outdoor fresh food stalls.

There's a big tower on top of Brandon Hill here that's dedicated to John Cabot who set sail from Bristol and first landed in Canada. I walked around there an took a few pics but it started to rain. Being a little too early for lunch and not wanting to go into the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery before eating, I made the logical choice of going to a cafe and getting a cappuccino and waiting for the rain to die down.

In order to kill a little more time before lunch I walked down to the Town Hall, Bristol Cathedral and City Library. The area was really nice and the library looked like it was several hundred years old (a really cool exterior)!

For lunch, I found a place that was advertising cheap paninis that came with chips (fries) and a small salad. I went in and ordered a chicken fajita panini served with guacamole. It was delicious! And for less than 5 pounds it was a pretty good deal.

The Bristol City Museum & Art Gallery was free to enter and had a wide range of exhibits. I learned about local wildlife, ancient Egyptians, dinosaurs, minerals, fossils, and more. For some reason I thought they had an exhibit on Banksy (the graffiti artist) but they didn't. Not sure where I thought I saw that.

After leaving the museum, I went down to Queen Square when it started to rain again. That's when I saw that the St Mary Redcliffe church was free to enter. It would get me out of the rain and also let me see some really cool old church architecture. The stained glass and arched ceilings were really nice to see.

For some reason I started craving an omelette last night so on my way back to the hostel I swung by the St Nicholas outdoor market looking to buy some local cheese, eggs and sausage. Unfortunately everyone selling eggs had already left but I did get some local cheese and sausage. I went to the grocery and picked up some eggs.

I still had a few hours before dinner so I caught up on a little work and read for a while. I made my omelette (also threw in some orange bell pepper) and now I'm just hanging out in the lounge area at the hostel. I'll probably run out and grab some beer and bring it back.

Tomorrow I'm going to walk the 13 mile path from Bristol to Bath. I was in Bath a couple years ago with Eric and it was a really nice town. We only got to spend about an hour there before we had to be back on our tour bus though. The jury's still out if I should attempt to walk the path back or take a bus. I have a feeling I'll probably take a bus back to Bristol. 26+ miles in one day would be quite a lot!
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Clifton Suspension Bridge
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Cabot Tower on Brandon Hill
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Bristol Cathedral
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St Mary Redcliffe Church

Settling into Bristol

Tuesday, July 30, 2013 @ 07:46 pm from England England
Day 34

My trail didn't depart Birmingham until 11:45 this morning so I had plenty of time to eat, pack up and relax before heading to the train station. I still got to the station about 45 minutes early and ended up sitting around waiting.

Since I had properly booked my tickets ahead of time, I had a seat number and everything which made the boarding process much easier. I was able to find my seat and relax for the duration of the trip. There was some kind of congestion on the tracks so we ended up being about 20 minutes late but that didn't really matter much.

I wasn't able to actually check into my hostel until 3:00 so I had a couple hours to burn. First on the list was to find some food. I couldn't pass up a doner kebab when I saw a few people in the shop enjoying them. After eating and feeling nice and full I went to the Brew Dog pub and had a glass of beer.

Checking into my hostel was a breeze. I dropped off my pack and set out to explore. I've found out I like aimlessly walking around the first day I'm in a new city. It helps me get a feel for the town and helps me make a mental map of the town based on my random wanderings. I found myself in a huge pedestrian mall area and then in an open area called Castle Park. I took a few photos of St. Peter's Church in the park and then went to find a grocery store to get some food for dinner.

Hunger hadn't hit yet but I knew I'd be better off getting everything now rather than having to head back out in a couple hours. There was a Tesco I passed near the hostel earlier so I went in and got some pasta sauce (I still have some pasta left over from Birmingham), bread, bell peppers, some cheap wine and some mixed fruit.

Back at the hostel I ate some of the fruit while looking for somewhere to charge my computer and phone. All of the plugs are for un-grounded plugs and my adapter has a slot for the ground. I finally found a tiny computer area that had a few open slots so I plugged everything in and started to read and drink my wine. Eventually I got hungry and cut up some of the bell pepper and threw it in with my pasta.

I was planning on taking the old railway path down to Bath tomorrow but there's a 70% chance of rain all day. Instead, I'll save that for Thursday when there's 0% chance of rain and instead spend tomorrow here in Bristol. There's a lot of sights to see including a free museum/art gallery that features a lot of Banksy's work (it's also all over town too).
Santa Croce. #florence #europetrip2013
La Sagrada Familia. Unfortunately it's all covered in construction equipment and scaffolding. #barcelona #europetrip2013
Astrological clock in Pragues old square. #prague #europetrip2013
Raspberry tart from a small patisserie in Paris and some wine. Great end to a successful week! #paris #europetrip2013
Whisky tasting. I tried the highlands flight and Eric tried the Speyside flight. #europetrip2013
Brecon Beacons from Pen y Fan. #europetrip2013
Homemade dinner tonight. Pasta with garlic, red pepper and jamon iberico. Served with wine and bread of course. #dinner #europetrip2013
Remains from the burnt down West Pier. #brighton #europetrip2013
La Mezquita in Cordoba Spain. #mezquita #europetrip2013 #cordoba
I'll Duomo. #florence #europetrip2013

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Where I've been:

Good Evening… Planet Earth
All the countries I visited on this trip (in yellow).

What's this about?

Traveling is something I've loved doing for as long as I can remember. I've been lucky enough to travel out of the US a few times but never longer than 2 weeks at a time. I decided that I should go see the world and experience all it has to offer. I booked a one-way ticket to Dublin, Ireland to depart on June 26, 2013. After I get to Europe I'll let serendipity take hold and see where I end up. No schedules and no itinerary… just go with the flow. That's as close to a plan as I'm making.

Who am I?

My name's Brandon O'Brien and I'm a travelholic. Before this journey I've been to 11 countries and put over 17,500 miles on various motorcycle trips through the USA and Canada. I'm a self-employed web developer so I'm fortunate enough to be able to work anywhere there's an internet connection. That's what truly made this experience possible.

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