A Stopover in the UK

View from the Top of Cheddar GorgeI decided this trip would be a good time to stopover in the UK and catch up with some good friends who I haven’t seen in quite a while on my way home. I’ve been to Dhaka three times now and have flown BA through Heathrow each time, always with the intention to stay for the weekend on one of these trips. Well, BA is no longer flying to Dhaka after March, so I don’t know what airline or routing I will be taking next. I thought I had better do it now because I don’t know when I will have another such opportunity.

I flew into Heathrow on Sat morning, having been upgraded to business class on my flight. This is the second time, as the same thing happened last time I went to Bangladesh on the Dhaka-London leg of the trip! I was really happy because this meant I might have a chance of actually sleeping and arriving in the UK in a bit better shape than otherwise. It’s a 10 to 11 hour flight, so the upgrade was really quite appreciated and I made use of it by putting my seat all the way down (flat!) and getting several hours of sleep. My flight left Dhaka at 5:30am and we landed in London at 10am, and then I caught the bus to Bristol.

I have two really good friends in Bristol - Robin and Katie. Robin was able to make it to Ottawa for our wedding in the fall so I saw him then but when it’s your own wedding you don’t get much of a chance to actually catch up with people. Katie I hadn’t seen for more than 2 years, which is crazy. Time flies. I was really looking forward to spending time with them both. This was made pretty easy by the fact that Katie and Robin are also friends because I introduced them when Katie moved to Bristol!

Robin and his girlfriend Helen met me at the bus station in Bristol, with some very exciting news. They had got engaged the previous evening!! I now have a reason to come back to the UK in the near future! So it was a very exciting weekend for them as they shared the news with all their friends, and I was happy to be a part of that. Saturday afternoon disappeared in a nap and generally catching up. Saturday night we met up with Katie and went for a delicious curry at a local curry house and then to a nearby pub for a pint and more stories of the engagement and ring shopping, which were quite entertaining. I managed to stay up til 11pm (which in Dhaka time was 5am!).

Sunday morning I hung out at Robin’s house and did a bit of work which needed to be done, while he was out. Once he got home we went to pick up Katie and then headed to Cheddar, which is about a 45 min drive through the British countryside from Bristol. I love the rolling hills of England, so it was great to get out of the city. There we headed to a pub for lunch and had the Sunday roast. I also had a pint of local cider which came out of the tap bright orange! The barman said that was normal. It tasted pretty good, despite the colour. We sat out in the beer garden and had our lunch as it was an absolutely lovely and sunny day.

Cheddar is known for the Cheddar Gorge, the largest gorge in England. We went for a walk to the top of the gorge and back down the other side. The views were excellent, and as I said before the weather was lovely. I couldn’t have asked for a better day in England in the spring. (The daffodils are out here already … it really makes me hope that warm weather will arrive soon at home!). Part of the walk passed through an area with feral goats and we were lucky enough to come across them as they were munching on some grass. After the walk we had an ice cream, Robin bought some cheddar from Cheddar (I really wanted to as well but I don’t think border agents like cheese crossing borders so I decided not to risk it, plus the lack of refrigeration).

We headed back to Bristol and Robin dropped Katie and I off in Clifton where we wandered a little bit and then headed to dinner while he was off doing other things. We then met up with him, Helen and some of their friends for a pint at a local pub. I really think Canada needs local pubs – it really is a great way to socialize. Bars are so loud, and there are few pubs in Ottawa that really have the same relaxed atmosphere as a true British pub where people meet up for a beer and to chat with friends on a Sunday night. Afterwards it was back to Robin’s to pack up and go to bed. I caught the bus early Monday morning to head back to Heathrow, where I am now sitting by the only power outlets (there are 4 of them) that I have seen in this entire terminal!! I was quite lucky to notice them when I did as several were not being used. I unfortunately could not use my BA lounge privileges because I am flying on AC out of T3, and all the BA flights go from T5 now so I couldn’t even try to get in. I must admit I was pretty disappointed when I realized that a couple of days ago.

Well this is getting long. I take off direct for Ottawa on AC in an hour. I am looking forward to being home and quite excited with the prospect of making another, longer trip to the UK in the not too distant future for the wedding!

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Posted in bristol | england | travel Submitted by Meg on Mon, 2009-03-23 19:53

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