On nearly every trip that I have been on thus far, the trip was planned by Debra. For the first time, I did the planning! Not long after we met, Camille and I found out that we were both huge SKINS fans. Once we learned this, we decided that we had to take a trip to Bristol together so that we could see where the show was filmed. After we chose a prime weekend to go, a weekend that we were both free, and the weekend that Debra was going to meet Cody (her boyfriend) in London, I got to planning! I found the cheapest tickets and came up with a train itinerary for the weekend, and found a nice Airbnb place for us to stay. Our trip was all set!
Camille and I bought a tickets not long after and started getting excited about our trip. We both had a lot of places that we wanted to see. Camille found a BuzzFeed post that listed places in Bristol where SKINS was filmed, and what scenes the places were in. We made a note to do as many of those things on the list as we could! Later that night, our Airbnb place got cancelled, as the owners were going out of town for a wedding that weekend. I was on it, searching for a new place for us to stay. Finally I found a cute, little caravan for us to stay in, and it got accepted!
A week later, we only had one day left until our trip! I packed late that night, and Camille messaged me a time for us to meet at the train station. The next day we were both running late, but met at the station and had enough time for me to print my final ticket, and board the train.
The train rideconsisted of a lot of reading on my part, and listening to music for Camille. Our first stop was Cardiff central. Neither of us had been to Cardiff yet, which was a must see when in Wales. (It’s the capital after all!) We spent our time walking around, and seeing everything that we could in the six hours that we had in Cardiff. The castle was lovely from the outside, but we didn’t go in because neither of us wanted to pay for it. We both have castle cards, but Cardiff castle is not owned by CADW. Instead, we went to different stores, saw the arcades (not game arcades), and talked to a lot of friendly people. We ate Chinese for dinner before taking the train in to Bristol Temple Meads.
Bristol Station was full of people! We stood in a line (queue) for a taxi and were taken to the Airbnb we rented for the weekend. When we arrived, we met a nice couple and were shown to the caravan. It was lovely! The caravan was beautifully decorated and very homey. There was a bathroom, heater, electric burners, kettle, and even a fireplace. We settled in quickly and after talking to our hosts we learned that the Clayton (the husband) had a friend who went to school with “one of the guys from SKINS”, and that Tiffany (his wife) was one of the hairstylists for the show. She styled the wigs that were worn. Camille and I thought this was cool and asked if they had any places we should see, and Clayton told us to go and see the college.
The next day we woke up early and showered before hitting the town. I was so tired that I let Camille shower first so I could sleep a little longer before going to the main house for my shower. I forgot to bring a towel so I had to dry off with a section of my wash cloth that I kept dry. That was interesting…
Our place was not far from the bus stop. Camille had looked up two places that were close enough to walk to, so we went to those before boarding the bus and going to the center. The bus had free wifi, which I was thankful for since the caravan was out of reach of the house’s wifi. I FaceTimed my boyfriend, but was hung up abruptly when the bus reached the center. The bus shut down completely and the driver got off. Camille and I were confused since we didn’t know that we were at the center already, but we exited and walked around a building to see that we had arrived. We asked for directions to College Green and walked up a steep hill (the one that Freddy skates down in season 3 episode 1) and found it quickly. It was stunning! I had flashbacks of the SKINS cast sitting on the green and joking around, and of when Freddy, Cook, and JJ first saw Effie.
Across the street from College Green was the famous graffiti art by Banksy of a naked man hanging from a window. Afterwards we walked up the hill and went into different shops. We took hundreds of pictures. The church at the top of the hill was beautiful and was the star of a lot of my pictures. Camille and I were hungry so we went to Rocotillo’s (the restraint in SKINS where Cassie eats a burger with Sid which was a big deal for the plot line as her character suffers from a severe eating disorder). Camille tried a milk shake and I had a delicious steak and cheese sub. Afterwards, we walked up a huge hill to find the bench that Cassie sat on that overlooked the city. Our path took us past a huge tower that we climbed to the top of and had a sky view of all of Bristol. The weather was beautiful and I decided then that Bristol was my favorite city in the UK thus far.
Once we descended, we found Cassie’s bench and took tons of artsy photos. For the rest of the day we walked around finding SKINS stuff. We saw Pero’s bridge, the place on the Avon where Effie runs to and Pandora stops her and they talk about her mother’s affair, Vauxhall Bridge, and the aquarium. We really wanted to see Tony’s house, so we headed off on a long walk to find it. After about an hour and a half of walking (22k steps for the day), we found Elvaston road, where Tony’s house was. Then we went to Naomi’s house. We were so excited, and the way we walked was so beautiful. People were home in Tony’s house, but we were so excited that that didn’t stop us from acting like crazy fans and taking pictures. Even ran up and touched the door, which made Camille die of laughter.
Afterwards, we took a bus back to the center and ate at an Indian restaurant. It was so yummy. We had so much food, yet we ate it all. Then we went to Tesco and bought marshmallows and chocolate. By the time we got back on the bus to go to our Airbnb place, we were beat. My eyelids were heavy, but I kept an eye out for the street we needed to get off on. We were the last stop. After a while of driving, the bus pulled over and the lights went off and it shut down completely, as it had done earlier. We were confused and asked the driver where we were and we were in the right spot but nothing looked familiar. Camille and I exited and tried to find a road sign to get a sense of where to go. It was hard, and we were tired. A police car pulled up to park, and as the officers got out, I asked one if they new where the address for our Airbnb was. They directed us about two miles down the road, but then one of the officers offered us a ride. I was so grateful. Camille and I both reached for the driver’s seat (as we are both from countries that drive on the opposite side) and gave the officer a good laugh.
He was very nice and drove us straight to the right place. We were in for a long walk if he hadn’t of offered us a ride! When we got back, I sat in the back garden where the wifi reached and called my family and my boyfriend. I talked until my phone died on my mom, and then went inside the caravan to charge for a while before I called her back and said goodnight. Then Camille and I started a fire and roasted marshmallows with a knife. We had fun, and the fire was warm. I slept well that night, setting my alarm for later so Camille and I could sleep in for our last night. We had to check out at ten the next morning.
The next morning we woke up and packed everything up. We checked out by 10:15am and returned the key to Clayton and Tiffany. Next on our list was to visit Abbott’s Leigh, where Naomi and Emily swam and camped out in the woods, and Bristol’s suspension bridge. We took a bus to the station and got day tickets. Using our tickets we went to Abbott’s Leigh. We had a long walk down a windy, country road before we got to the nature park. It was pretty and we took more pictures, and saw beautiful horses. We had a lot of fun. On our way back into the city we stopped at the suspension bridge which was spectacular. It was huge, and people were walking over it and I was in awe of hoe grandeois it was!
Afterwards we took the bus back into the city, walked up the huge hill (it put’s Bitch Hill to shame) back to Rocotillo’s, had some burgers, fries, and shakes, and then headed to the train station to go back to Bangor. Both Camille and I loved it in Bristol, and decided that we have to go back some day. We were lucky to have amazing weather all weekend long. I seriously didn’t want to leave, but I hope to take my family there some day!
[Pictures to be added on April 11th!]