It's only a month until Christmas Eve and I could not be more excited! My festive adventures started at the weekend, when Visit Bristol very kindly sent me to explore the winter fun in the city. As well as time spent ice skating and at the German Christmas Market, we sampled some local food and popped into the aquarium.
After starting my day at Arnos Vale Cemetery, which will have its own post later, I parked up in the city. Since learning to drive, I've really come to understand how vital parking is and I was pleasantly surprised to find out it only cost me £5 to park for the entire day in the Trenchard Street multistorey). By this time, I was pretty peckish so I headed straight to Pieminister for a spot of lunch.
I'd already had a bit of warning that Pieminister might be difficult to find but I still got hopelessly confused trying to find it! If anything though, this just added to the experience. Tucked away inside a stall area at St Nicholas Market, it felt like stumbling on a hidden gem. Despite this, it was pretty busy so I it seems Pieminister's reputation has spread far and wide!
Now, if I'm completely honest, I'm not much of a pie girl. I am partial to bit of steak and kidney, however, so for my "pie feast", as the vouchers called it, I chose to have a Kate and Sidney pie with mash and gravy. It. Was. Delicious. One of the issues I have with pies usually is that there's too much stodgy pastry but this pie had thin, crispy pastry and was piled high with juicy meat. It was also much bigger than I was anticipating. Winning all round!
Once we'd filled our tummies, we set off to find the ice rink at At-Bristol (which was thankfully much easier to locate!). Long-term readers may remember the last time I went ice skating and the immense pain that the ice skates gave me. In preparation for this, I brought along the thickest, fluffiest socks I own and went up a size. Although the hard plastic still hurt a little, it was nothing like last time. As before, I found that my balance is absolutely fine but my confidence is beyond lacking! By the end of our 45 minute slot, I was incredibly proud to be able to do a whole lap of the rink without touching the side once! The ice rink was in a great location and the music was amazing- What could be better than skating to the sounds of the Hairspray soundtrack, Bohemian Rhapsody and S Club 7? (Just like last time, I'm strongly considering taking an ice skating course. I think I'll start one in the new year!)
Since the ice rink was right next to Bristol Aquarium, and we were pretty knackered from all that skating, we decided to chill out and watch the fish. In a brilliant stroke of luck, we happened to get there just before the shark talk and feed. I'm a big shark fan so this was very exciting for me!
By the time we left the aquarium, it was starting to get dark so we headed off to the German Christmas Market. Even before we arrived, I was excited by the sight of the huge illuminated Christmas tree (apparently the tallest in the UK) and the sounds of Bavarian music emanating from a chalet at the entrance. On closer inspection, the source of the music turned out to be Der Alpen Klaus, a fantastically charismatic German musician, playing the accordion.
We took a look around the chalets (and finally bought one of those big iced gingerbread biscuits!) before finding a seat in the balcony above Alpen Klaus so we could listen to his music while tucking into a bratwurst.
Our day in Bristol was the perfect way to kick off the Christmas season. Huge thanks to Visit Bristol for a great day out! If you're in the south west, I highly recommend popping along and taking a look for yourself before the end of the year!