Nah, still not done yet! Sorry! Ohhh, it’s nice to be so inspired again. Sitting at my hotel’s pub, being surrounded by chatting, it’s actually quite loud and if anyone were with me, we would barely hear each other without shouting, increasing the sound level to another 10%.

Anyway, waiting for my dinner, it’s burger again (I just couldn’t resist, they are just so much better than the stuff one gets back at home, even at my love-hate restaurant “Sissi & Franz”) I continue giving an account of my visit to Bristol.

Day 2 basically started the same way as Day 1. Withwonderful British breakfast, thrown in with some watermelon and a croissant with Nutella. Bliss, pure bliss.

I knew I had to get some sightseeing in, well, not exactly had to but want to. With an estimated half hour of walking time I left the hotel at 9 a.m. (fearing I might lose my way again) and with my trusted Google Maps App I had no trouble at all finding my destination. Which is THE place to go when in Bristol: Brunel’s SS Great Britain (the first ocean liner, for anyone who didn’t know that). And being an engineer it was even more essential to go there. One just has to admire the technical inventions of those times.

Of course, I was half an hour early. Gee, what a surprise. But I didn’t mind. The sun was shining, I was sitting on a bench next to the river Avon and I just enjoyed the view.

I knew, I had approx. 1 and a half hours to get everything done. The museums, the ship, the souvenir shopping. For a tour that usually takes 3-4 hours. Well, I got it done in one. My proud record – I think my running through Madame Tussaud’s many many years ago, when smartphones were still a thing of the big unknown and plain cameras were the only way to take pictures, loaded with film rolls, took longer. And for those, who are wondering, why I was running through Madame Tussaud’s taking pictures of basically everyone I knew and didn’t know? My camera didn’t work the first time I was there and I had to borrow the one from our host. And being me, even then, I took as many pics as possible. As far as I remember approx. 3 rolls, 36 pics each. You do the math …

Where was I? Right! Rushing through, taking pics of basically everything. Well, since one doesn’t have to pay for the pics to be developed at the horrendous price of 25 years ago, it doesn’t matter, how many pics one takes with one’s smartphone. (Even though I tend to print them out for my photo albums. And I tend to print ALL of them! I just can never decide! And I love to thumb through them physically!) The marvellous thing? I was basically alone on the ship, leaving the others behind in the first room of the Dockyard Museum. And let me tell you! It was awesome. And I wish I had had more time to explore and look into the tiny cabins and rooms moreextensively. What was creepy, though, as one walks through the quarters, moans, sighs and voices are following you. From the man sitting on his bunk sewing. From the man being treated by the ship’s doctor. From the seasick woman retching into a bowl. And since I was basically alone … it definitely gave me the creeps. Ghost voices from another day and age.

Isambard Brunel sure was a fascinating man. Withthe first ocean liner just one of his many inventions and accomplishments. And I’m really looking forward to reading the guide book and the book about Brunel I bought. (Apart from other souvenirs! The usual cup, a fridge magnet, a fabric bag … the usual!)

Ohhh, look at that! Nearly 700 words just for my vacation report of the morning of Day 2. But don’t worry, I will stop right here and continue with the rest of my day’s adventures in next week’s post! Cheerio!



You didn’t really think I would be done with one measly post about Bristol, did you? After all those boring months with nothing happening and nothing exciting to write about, I just have to draw my vacation out as much as possible. Hopefully not boring you to death in the process.

Part 2 starts with Day 1. Right now, I’m sitting in my hotel’s bar, with a cup of Early Grey, enjoying some peace and quiet to get some writing done. Unfortunately, afternoon tea didn’t happen, even though I had planned to … but let me start at the beginning. Breakfast consisted of baked beans, fried egg, bacon, mushrooms and toasted bread. I always skip the sausages, that’s one acquired taste I haven’t gotten yet. Compared to the sunny welcome I received the day before, England showed its usual face by greeting me with rain. Lots of rain. Cats and dogs kind of rain. But … I had no choice. I needed to get rid of my big bag of books and so I started my trip armed with my mini umbrella, Google Mapsdirections shouted at me, my handbag slung across my body and the bag of books hanging from my soon aching shoulder. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant. Surprisingly, I found my way quite easily. But … did you know Bristol has hills? Yeah, hills! And guess what! I had to climb one of those hills to get to another part of the city to the nearest Oxfam shop. Boy, I was exhausted by the time I arrived there and sighed loudly, “Thanks God! I’m here!”

I donated my books and looked around myself, happily discovering a few for myself, knowing, I did some good and that people with little money will have a chance to get my pristine conditioned books and will hopefully enjoy them.

It was still raining by the time I left the store, but I was quite relieved to be rid of the weight. My five Oxfam book purchases were nothing compared to that.

I briefly considered returning to the hotel to drop offmy book bag, but then discovered Primark not far away and headed there. Yes, I admit it, occasionally I also buy stuff at Primark, particularly stocking up on home office leggings which do tend to fall apart after some time. And, my greatest purchase, a rain jacket to bring me through the day.

Happily, I continued on my way, too curious to turn back, discovered an open-air shopping mall and was in Next – Ann Summers – WH Smith – Boots and Superdrug heaven. I skipped Victoria’s Secret. As iconic as VS is, I much prefer Ann Summers for my unmentionables and of course I did find the one or other piece to make my special friend (and me) happy. By the time I finally emerged from my first shopping spree, rain had stopped and the sun was peeking out. Oh, this wonderful British weather. Parched, hot and half-dead on my feet I finallyheaded back to the hotel. Time to unload and unparch – as in hydrate with Strawberry infused still water bought at Tesco the evening before – before being on my way again. With the goal to treat myself to Afternoon Tea at Harvey Nichols. I had certainly deserved that and was looking forward to a nice cup of Earl Grey, sandwiches, cakes and scones which would have been lunch and dinner in one … just to being told that I should have booked. Not, because the restaurant was fully booked – there was ONE table occupied. No, because the chef needs to know in advance in order to prepare Afternoon Tea. Gee, that left me a bit speechless. I mean, Harvey Nichols. One expects the place filled with people enjoying Afternoon Tea every single day. 

I left. Drowning my pain at “Waterstones” by buying the next book load. Happily scratching off some from my extensive book list. Wondering on my way back to my hotel, whether THEY would serve afternoon tea. Well, since I wrote in the beginning that I’m sitting here at the hotel bar with a cup of Earl Grey, you might have guessed, that no, they do not serve Afternoon Tea. Thinking back longingly to Harrogate and the Old Swan Inn, with the wonderful lounge and delicious Afternoon Tea, not much “worse” than my booked Afternoon Tea at “Betty’s”.

Anyway, since I don’t want to return to “town” for the third time today, I decided to forget about this wonderful tradition and have dinner at the pub again. Today it will be the traditional Fish and Chips with mashed peas for me. Since this is on my culinary England schedule as well, nothing is lost. 

And that’s exactly what I did. Ending the evening just like the night before. By stretching out my aching not-used-to-much-exercise-home-office-body and zapping my way through British TV programs before falling asleep in my wonderful hotel bed with the even more wonderful pillows – compact and not those horrible thin soft ones I have to endure in Germany when staying at a hotel, with me always having to request a second or third pillow to compensate.

Yes, that’s England for me too! Great pillows! Toodle-oo!


Well, here I am, at the airport, Gate 53, waiting for departure. And as usual I’m way too early. Waaay too early. Still one a half hours before the gate will be opened. And I have already done the whole Starbucks thing – a must and tradition after dropping off my suitcase – with Iced Chai Latte and a late breakfast ham and cheese panini. Got through security without problems, checked out the Duty-Free store and just had some Iced tea, parched. My Gate is tiny, just about 6 rows of seats – well, after all it will just be a city hop from Düsseldorf to Amsterdam and another city hop from Amsterdam to Bristol. I guess I would not have been much slower if I had decided to drive after all. But, well, the experience of flying again after five years is nice too. And worth the waiting around at the airport. It’s my own bloody fault I have to be everywhere way ahead of time. At least there are so few people around one can forget wearing a mask for the time being. Which is a relief after the hour-long-train ride.

I am kind of bored, though. I’m not in the mood for reading, nor browsing magazines at my magazine app, and my travel diary writing is already done for now. (Since not much has happened, of course!)

Well, the flights were quite uneventful, however, since I had a window seat from Amsterdam to Bristol I spent more time watching the world and England from above than reading my Mrs Jeffries mystery (apart from devouring the tasty vegetarian curry sandwich and the obligatory tomato juice). Oh, to be back in one of my favourite countries. To watch the green fields with tiny cows and even tinier sheep, thegentle rolling hills … bliss. Pure bliss. Plus, the beautiful weather expecting me … just perfect. Due to whatever ails an airport with several flights arriving at the same time, the waiting time for my suitcase was much longer than I’m used to. But at least I caught a bus to Bristol Coach Station right away. The walk to my hotel, however, was quite an ordeal. Even with Google Maps I took wrong turns all the time because of the many narrow roads I was supposed to take. Without Google Maps? I would have been totally lost, or let me rephrase that, even more lost. And probably would just have taken a cab to take me to my 10 minute-walk-away hotel. But in the end, I arrived and checked in. The exterior of the Mercure Grand Bristol is beautiful. One of those old huge mansions, my room? Comfortable, practicable, clean … in industrial style. Maybe a “hint” at the great Brunel who is present all around the city?

Anyway, I just dropped everything off and headed to the closest pub a few paces away. And really, really lucked out in terms of good food. (Since I don’t like beer, this was not my main goal!) I ordered the burger with fries and Strawberry Eton Mess for dessert and loved every single bite. Delicious! Could have missed out on the soccer game displayed loudly on the huge screen, though. Especially since Liverpool was playing against Aston Villa. And I really could have done without seeing the German trainer Klopp all the time. I was rooting for the other team, of course! As I found out later, sadly my team didn’t win. Darn! Darn, darn, darn! Exhausted from my travel day I finished the day off with some TV, looking forward to the days to come!


I’m so excited! After more than two years I will be A) travelling again, B) in an airplane and C) to one of my most favourite countries. I can’t believe, I haven’t flown anywhere for 5 long years. And I’m so looking forward to it. (Despite the horrible mask wearing issue!) Why? I just love it! I love to be at the airport early, have my usual Starbucks coffee and start my travel diary (old-fashionedly handwritten) before checking in and wandering around, through security check and browse the shops and magazines. Reading, texting friends or even doing some writing while waiting for my flight to be called.

Why I didn’t fly anywhere the past five years? Because my ex and I went everywhere by car. And our vacations took us to either England, the Netherlands or Austria (with a little Italy thrown in).After that Covid hit us, with me not going anywhere in 2020, happy to at least go home to Austria in 2021.

But now I’m back! Starting my travel year with a trip to Bristol, England. I guess it will take me longer to get there by plane as if I had actually decided to drive. Especially the return trip will be an ordeal. Flying from Bristol to Amsterdam, having to spend 6 hours at the airport for my flight back to Düsseldorf. Just because my connecting flight has been cancelled. Oh well, I will do what I always do. Move from one coffee shop to another, with my reading material and MacBook. Maybe do some airport shopping. There are worse locations to spend one’s waiting time.

Anyway, I’m not telling you yet, why I’m going to Bristol – instead of my darling London. I have to keep the suspense going (even though I might have mentioned the reason for my travelling to Bristol in one of my posts already). 

Apart from my real reason for going there, Bristol will be a treasure trove for the engineer in me. With Brunel and his influence everywhere you go. So, of course there will be some sightseeing. And of course, there will be some shopping too. And stupid me will be lugging some English books with me to donate to Oxfam or any other charity that comes across my way. Because, let’s just face it, Germany is not exactly the ideal place to get rid of English books (as in donating them) without fearing they would just be thrown away. And one just does not throw away books. (With the one exception: mouldy smelling books. The mould would jump to my other books and I just can’t have that!) AND I too love to browse books at charity shops and have come across the one or other in mint condition at a bargain.

The organizer in me has already looked up the most important addresses, checked the routes from my hotel to wherever I want to go, inquired regarding bus schedule from the airport to Bristol and back, I even got a brand new mini fold-out map, made notes on what to wear when, what to pack and what I absolutely have to buy back in England. (Not to mention having a printed version of my “yet-to-buy-booklist”. Sometimes it’s hard to track which books I already have and which I still want from my favourite authors!)

So, I’m absolutely ready to go! And in a few days I will. England, here I come!