Saturday, November 15, 2014

Eurotrip Part Two: Bath, Cardiff, and Weston-Super-Mare

If you read my previous post, you will know that I recently took an amazing trip to England and France! This is part two of my recent adventures in Europe!

After an awesome time in London, I was off to Bath with my sister Lexi. She is spending a semester abroad in Bath now, and I was excited to see the city she's living in and what her experience is like! Although I had been to London before this trip, this was my first time in Bath, and I ended up loving it even more than I thought I would! The city is on the smaller side, but still has so much going on there. There are a ton of great shops and restaurants, lots of history, beautiful scenery, and the people there were all so friendly!

Lexi and I got to Bath from London a little after midnight, so we just went straight to her house and went to bed. Then the next day, while she was in class, I met up with my friend Ben who lives near Bath! It was great hanging out with him again because the last time I had seen him was almost two years ago when we studied abroad together. On my first full day in Bath, we actually ended up heading to a completely different city—Cardiff! 

Cardiff is a city in Wales and is not too far from Bath by train. Cardiff had a totally different feel to it than Bath and London, but still felt very distinctly British! The first thing we saw was the Cardiff castle. We didn't tour it, because it was very overpriced, but even from where we could see it, it looked really cool! That's one of the many things I love about Europe—there are so many castles! After that, we got some lunch, walked through the city centre, walked down to the water, and walked though the National Assembly for Wales, which is where the Welsh government operates. Cardiff was so pretty and exactly the way I pictured a coastal Welsh city! And then on the way back to Bath, we had an amazing view of the Welsh countryside!
Cardiff Castle
Cardiff city centre
the Welsh seaside
When we got back to Bath, we met up with Lexi for some dinner. We found a Thai place that had such amazing food! I swear, out of everywhere I've ever been, England has some of the best Asian food, second only to Seattle. I got pad thai, which was sooo good! After dinner, we all walked around Bath for a bit, and then Lexi and I headed back to her house, and Ben headed to the hostel where he was staying for the night, because the next day, he and I were taking another day trip...this time to the English seaside!

The next morning, we hopped on a train and headed to a town called Weston-Super-Mare. I had never heard of it until Ben suggested going there, but I am so glad we went! It was a beautiful and relaxing town, and the weather was completely perfect on the day we went. For most of the day, we just walked all along the seafront. We saw the beaches, a big ferris wheel, and the pier. Apparently, the original pier in Weston-Super-Mare burnt down, and this one was built only a few years ago. At the end of the pier, there was food and lots and lots of arcade games! Seeing as we were at the sea, I felt it was fitting to order some fish and chips. And like all the other fish and chips I've had in England, it was delicious and so big! After lunch, we played a few of the arcade games. And I must say, I did pretty awesome at Guitar Hero :) We walked around some more that afternoon and just enjoyed being in the sun and then headed back to Bath that night.
view from the top floor of the pier
The views of the English countryside were so pretty from the train!
Ben took a train home to Wiltshire then, and Lexi and I tried something that I have always wanted to experience... a conveyor belt sushi restaurant! We sat right at the counter and watched all the sushi and food going by us. The sushi was pretty cheap, but I could see how someone could really overdo it, because it was so tempting to just take everything that went by! I got a couple different sushi rolls, a piece of sashimi, and some terriyaki chicken that Lexi and I shared. It was so amazing and such a cool experience, and I really want to experience another conveyor belt sushi restaurant soon!
The next day, I was in need of a more chill day after all the sightseeing I had done during the trip. So I decided to check out some of the British stores that we don't have in the US. First, I went to one of my favourites, Primark. If you don't know Primark, it is really similar to Forever 21, but even less expensive! And apparently, Primark is expanding to the US in 2016, and the first store they're opening is going to be a huge one in Boston! I ended up getting some great things from Primark during the trip. I also went to Superdrug to see the British makeup, Next, and New Look which I really loved.

And then after some shopping, it was time to head to the bus station to meet up with my parents who arrived that day! I was really excited for them to experience England and France, because before this trip, neither of them has ever been outside North America. They loved all the cities we went to, Bath especially! After dropping their suitcases off at the hotel, we went to Lexi's school to meet her when she got out of class, and we even got to see inside the school a little bit. It was totally different from the university I studied at in Lyon where most of the classes were lecture-style, because this had just one small classroom and each class only had about 10 people in it. It's really cool how personal it is, but I don't think I would have liked a class like that, because I always liked being more anonymous in classroom settings haha :) After walking around for a little while and introducing my parents to England, the four of us went to a pub for dinner and a pint. Lexi and I both got a shepherd's pie which was the perfect comfort food! Then I headed back to the hotel with my mom to get to bed early, because I was so exhausted, and my dad and Lexi spent the night hitting a few different pubs.

The next day was our last full day in Bath, and my parents and I really took advantage of that to see all the main sights. Ben came back to Bath that day and played tour guide for us, and Lexi joined too after she was out of class. We saw the Pulteney Bridge, which was in the movie version of Les Misérables, the River Avon, the Holburne Museum, Bath Abbey, the Circus, and the Royal Crescent. All of the architecture we saw was so pretty and it was so fun walking around and soaking it all in!
the Pulteney Bridge
my dad and Ben bonding outside the Holburne Museum
really pretty view from the Holburne Museum
the Pulteney Bridge
my mom and dad posing by the River Avon
Bath Abbey
the inside of Bath Abbey
the Circus
the Royal Crescent
That night, my parents, Lexi, and I did something that had been recommended to us by Ben and a couple of other people: the Bizarre Bath comedy walk. I absolutely loved this and would completely recommend it to anyone who goes to Bath! It starts off right in the centre of Bath, and it is very similar to a walking tour, hitting all the main tourist attractions in the city. But instead of just giving you facts and history, the guy leading the walk puts a funny spin on all the different aspects of Bath! There were too many funny things to even mention, but if you go to Bath, you need to do this comedy walk. I'm curious if that company does tours in other cities too, because I really want to go to another!
the Pulteney Bridge all lit up at night
And then it was our last day in Bath before heading to London. We had originally planned to take a mid-day bus, but after we were having such a great time in Bath, we decided to stay longer and take a late-afternoon bus to London instead. We walked around some more and met up with Lexi for another Full English Breakfast. This one was good, but it couldn't top that delicious one Lexi and I had in London! We went back to Bath Abbey, saw some street performers, and did a little more shopping before we headed to the station to catch our bus to London. I had such a great time in Bath, Cardiff, and Weston-Super-Mare spending more time with both Lexi and Ben, and I really hope to go back someday!
Full English Breakfast
the Royal Crescent

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