I have decided that anything vaguely Iceland-related goes on this blog. And today I met up with one of the girls from the SEEDS work camp. Her name is Kazuko, she’s from Tokyo, she has funny hand gestures and she’s a really kind, easy-going person. And I LOVE her smile.
Here she is, smiling (because she is in Iceland. In my opinion, being in Iceland is reason enough to smile. Especially when you’re standing next to a hot river like I think she is here. But that’s another story for another day :D)
Anyway, she’s in England for a few weeks in a school in Cornwall improving her English (which is actually really good, especially when you think about how different Japanese and English are!), and since today was a free day we decided to meet in Bristol. I’d never been to Bristol before, but everyone had always told me it was beautiful. And it so is. It reminded me of Oxford and Camden and Edinburgh all mixed together, with a dash of West Country added in just for kicks. The Gorge, the Harbourside and College Green impressed me especially much. I’ll shove some pictures at the end.
I didn’t realise how happy I was to see her again until I actually saw her in the flesh. We actually ran towards each other, arms outstretched! Like some cheesy movie, but it was SO GREAT. Bear in mind it’s only been about two, maybe three weeks since I last saw her. Anyway, then we went on a two-hour walking tour of central Bristol which was nice and low-key and when we got bored or couldn’t hear the tour guide we just chatted, mainly about Iceland, England and school.
And of course the weather. People joke about the English always talking about the weather, but that’s because it’s a constant topic. I’m not joking when I say the weather changes every minute or so. Today for example, it was so warm that I was wearing just a vest on top (and jeans etc etc) and I was sweating. Ten minutes later, our glasses in the restaurant we ate at were being blown over by gusts of wind, and I was wearing two cardigans and a scarf. Later, it rained for a few minutes before the sun burst out.
Look I just wrote a paragraph about the weather. You see?
This is why it amused me when Icelanders told us the weather is ‘changeable’. In Iceland you could see the dark clouds approaching and had at least an hour to go get a raincoat if you needed one. Pshaw. You ain’t seen nothin’, bitch.
ONWARDS AND UPWARDS. After lunch in Las Iguanas (burrito for me, fishcakes for her), we walked to the Corn Exchange, bought nothing, and caught a bus to Clifton Village. There, we wandered toward the Clifton Suspension Bridge and were sucked into a little Oxfam book shop which spat us out a few minutes later with new books. Kazuko got ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ to practise reading English, and I got a volume of Fitzgerald’s short stories and, of course, a Woolf. ‘The Years’.
[Virginia Woolf, if you don’t know, is probably my favourite writer. Ever. Even beats Tolkien – as a writer. Nothing more, mind.]
Clifton Suspension Bridge over the gorge… it’s one of the most beautiful sights I have seen in a long time. It was actually breathtaking, especially with the late afternoon golden sunshine over the distant fields and colourful terraces of Clifton. I couldn’t stop saying “It’s so beautiful!”
At the end of the day we decided that we would see each other next weekend as well – Oxford on Saturday, then staying the night with me in Reading and seeing Reading on Sunday. She’s scoping out Universities for a possible year abroad. God, compared to Bristol, Reading will look even more rubbish than normal…… [Edit: Turns out we can’t meet then and there because travel is too pricey, so we’ll hopefully see each other for a day the weekend after. I want to see her again before she jets off home to Toh-Kee-Oh!]
Kazuko looking at handmade books in the market outside the Corn Exchange.
Kazuko and me in front of the Clifton Suspension Bridge
The ‘Gorge’ous Gorge with West Country countryside beyond
Kazuko likes the Gorge!
I loved the ‘Clif-’ part of Clifton…
…and the ‘-ton’ part, too.
When Ellie lives in Bristol she will find herself plagued by me 🙂