24 Hours In: Bristol & Bath

When the opportunity to catch a coach to Bristol and spend the weekend attending the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta arose, I couldn’t say no. Plus I’d be staying with my old roommate from Madrid and it would be great to catch up and brush up on my Spanish. As I clicked “buy” and confirmed my ticket, a day dream of a sunny weekend at a carnival, indulging in fair food and watching hot air balloons dot the sky played in my mind. It looked something like this:

Lorraine_Mondial_Air_Balloon_Rally_in_France18

What actually happened? The one weekend I book an impromptu trip to a festival of course happens to be the weekend of the most miserable weather since I’ve arrived in London. As soon as my coach dropped me in the center of Bristol in the late afternoon, we bought a few ciders and took off towards the festival. After two hours of exploring, drinking, and finally settling on a grassy patch to wait, the dreaded rain began. Rain is actually an understatement. We got caught in a full-on downpour and hid under a tree until it lightened up enough for us to dash to the fudge tent. As much as I love chocolate (and I LOVE chocolate), this treat did little to the disappointment that washed over me as they announced the 6pm launch was officially canceled and the 9:30pm launch would be weather permitting. The thick, black clouds weren’t promising. As we trekked the two and a half miles home in our soggy shoes, all I could think was, “nothing says Bristol International Balloon Fiesta like a downpour and no hot air balloons.”

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Well, there were hot air balloons. As soon as we made it back to my old roommate’s house, the skies parted and the howling winds turned to mere whispers. So what did they do at 9:30? They launched the hot air balloons! And where were we? Eating mediocre Mexican food at My Burrito.

Luckily I live in San Diego and grew up in an area where we saw hot air balloons on an almost nightly basis every summer. What we don’t have in San Diego are ancient cities, so off to Bath we went on Sunday morning. We had to duck into a restaurant for coffee at one point when the rain decided to make a reappearance. But for the most part, the clouds rolled over this tiny town to do their damage elsewhere and allowed me to be a tourist and take all these photos:

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Sure, the weather wasn’t ideal. But I suppose a summer in England with almost no rain was pushing my luck. The forecast is predicting rain day in and day out until I leave next Wednesday… maybe this is England’s way of telling me it really is time to start packing up for sunny San Diego?

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