“We will shortly be arriving at… BIRMINGHAM NEW STREET” Oh brilliant… Never been to Birmingham before… (Well once but that was a school trip to Cadbury World when I was ten so it doesn’t really count) I wonder if it’s as awful as everyone claims it is? Everything looks big and scary here… It’s like the station has been built into this huge massive crater, like a prison where they hold people in sci-fi horror films… It’s not helped by the massive concrete skyscrapers they’ve built around it either.
Why is there a horse on the platform? No seriously… a metal horse sign thing. What does Birmingham have to do with horses again? Oh yeah… That’s right… NOTHING!Credit where credit’s due here… They’ve at least tried to make a bit of the station look stylish, about five meters of it, and really it just makes the place look like an airport rather than a train station. And then you get… PLATFORM 10!!!!! I swear that if hell were a station platform it would be Platform 10 of Birmingham New Street. It’s like your average copy of the Daily Mail: Depressing, dirty and full of rubbish. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything more depressing. This isn’t a station, it’s a pit of despair!
Thank god this stop was only to catch a connecting train, a rather old fashioned train from the sixties by the looks of it. The doors weren’t even electric… They had handles on the outside and little windows that you had to pull down to reach them. And the noises it was making were awful… It felt like the thing was about to tip over at any minute. And I had to spend 90 Minutes on this thing. Am I going back in time? Probably not.
Finally, after what has to be one of the most uncomfortable journeys I have ever experienced, I arrive at my destination. It’s lunchtime and the day is a hot one as emerge from what has to be one of the most famous stations in the UK outside of London: Bristol Temple Meeds. The crowning achievement of Brunel’s Great Western Railway… More on Brunel later…
Now I’ve heard some bad stuff about Bristol… Stuff includes that it is: Weird, a bit crap, pointless, boring… etc… I disagree. It’s the one of the best places I’ve visited on my travels so far. It’s not weird… It’s a place like any other, it’s just a little bit more eccentric. This is the city of Brunel (more on him later) Being Human, Russell Howard, Cary Grant, It’s in Treasure Island, It’s from here that Britain set out to conquer the world and it has what is probably one of the best accents in the country! How could you not love a place that has all that, even without visiting?
So I’m out of temple meads station not five minutes and who do I see walking down the street? Only a Russel Tovey look-a-like! (If you don’t have a clue who I’m on about he plays George in being Human… Google him if you aren’t sure) And as if that weren’t enough… THERE WAS A GORRILA! Ok… not just one but loads of them. Everywhere! They weren’t real… obviously… They were like that super lamb banana thing they had in Liverpool a few years ago, where they got different people to design artwork on these things… And then everywhere else copied. Well Bristol has these:
After the excitement of the first Gorilla I make my way to the
youth hostel Luxury five star hotel with swimming pool where I’ll be staying for the next few days. Later I’ll discover that I’m spending my first night in a room with a couple of French and a German who talks in his sleep… There is nothing weirder than hearing somebody talking a foreign language in their sleep… But first there’s a city to get out and explore:
Fountains of Blood? Cool…
I want some food… Why are there so many Subways in this city? I don’t want a Subway right now.
Cider Shop? Sweet! I might come back to this place later… I didn’t coz i couldn’t find it again. 😦
A cinema? What’s on? Harry Potter? In 3D? Why not!
So at the end of my first day in Bristol i leave the Cinema wondering where the hell i am for a moment… but I’m contented and for the first time since leaving my home in Wales behind, so long ago now, i actually feel like i belong somewhere. This place feels like a home… But as I gleefully drink a bottle of Corona in a small bar by the harbourside, I am blissfully unaware of what tomorrow will bring…
To Be Continued….
NEXT TIME: Drugs, Methodists and Pokemon Suicides —–>