Friday 7th October 2022.
We were a little tired when we pulled in last night, so it was no surprise that we had a good night’s sleep. We went downstairs and had a long lazy breakfast. As with all Holiday Inns, there was terrific breakfast offering virtually anything you wanted – British style of course. We left the hotel at 9:45am and headed west towards Bristol intending to visit Bristol Zoo which was voted as one of the 5 best zoos in the world at some previous stage. I had been there before but could not recall any details. We pulled off just before Bristol and checked it out on the iPad only to find that it had closed the previous week. It was CLOSED for good! Well that was handy, as the British say. However, the website said to had moved a lot of animals to a place about 10 miles up the road.
We imagined that the real reason was the economics, or the lease was up, or something similar to that. I would have thought that with the reputation of the zoo, the the city of Bristol would have stepped in to ensure the continuity of the zoo – given its heritage.
So we headed up there and found our way to the entrance, paid the money and in we went. To be honest, the place was a bit of a disappointment. They had re-housed some of the animals in areas where they would be comfortable and well looked after. However, most of the exhibits had disappeared and they only had a smattering of animals to see. And for what they charged to get in, it was not very good value at all. The exhibits themselves were very badly sign-posted and had info on stuff that wasn’t really there. The signage could have been better thought out so as to lead you around all the exhibits to make sure you saw everything. We stopped for lunch at an outdoor cafe type place which sold mainly pizzas and stuff like that. It was OK but very expensive. It was OK but only OK and we wasted a couple of hours and bunch of money to see it.
We had seen a few bears, wolverine, wolves, an array of birds, giraffe, but nothing too much more. However, they are saying that a brand new zoo is coming in 2024 which should match the old one. We wait with bated breath!
When we came into this new place, we saw the zoo cafe with a few people in there enjoying some lunch. So we went it and just as our luck would have it, we got stuff behind two old seniors – yes, we know, we are seniors too, but we are not that old and doddery just yet – anyway there were three of them including the daughter who was trying to help them along. They questioned nearly everything the lady behind the counter told them; they wanted separate itemized bills; and why was this item that price when you could get another item cheaper. I kept my cool, yet again, and instead of educating these idiots, we walked around them muttering and left the cafe.
We wandered around to a few other places, but we had already done this area the first day we came to the UK nearly three weeks ago. We decided to head back to the hotel a little earlier than usual and have a few drinks in the lounge before dinner. We wandered into the bar and lounge area and ordered a couple of drinks. The barman told us the price which was way, way, higher than at any other time of our vacation. He said it was the lemonade that I added to my pint of lager and Betty’s wine spritz. I questioned this, in a playful, jovial way as I had talked to this guy a few times since staying there. I said you are charging me an extra £1.50 for replacing some of the lager beer with lemonade. And another £1.50 for topping Betty’s Zinfandel wine up with lemonade? Now this lemonade was coming out of a live hose – just like a garden hose, and it cost next to nothing. No worries, I had made my point and it was not worth getting upset about. It was only money, right? Afterwards we ordered our evening dinner which was excellent and I forgot about the drinks saga. After dinner, I went up to the bar again, and order two more drinks, but didn’t say anything to him, but I gave him a sort of funny look with one eye squinted. He poured the drinks complete with lemonade and said they they were “on the house.” Naturally I thanked him, and asked why. He said he had been thinking about my argument on the lemonade and that I was right and he shouldn’t have charged me for the lemonade, especially as we were staying there as residents for three more nights. I thought that was pretty decent of him to admit he got it wrong and put it right. He had done the right thing and “made it right.” We shook hands and forgot all about it.
We wandered back to our room, watched a little TV and turned in.
This has been part 18 of a series of posts highlighting the trip of a British ex-pat in the US when he returns to the UK for a vacation. He shares the experiences with us here on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for the next few weeks. I hope you will enjoy reading them as much as I have, and seeing the areas he (and his lovely wife) visit, through my friend David’s eyes. ~ Sherry
David invites you to visit his eBay store while you’re in the neighborhood!
Need to catch up on David’s story? Day 1 ~ Day 2 ~ Day 3 ~ Day 4 ~ Day 5 ~ Day 6 ~ Day 7 ~ Day 8 ~ Day 9 ~ Day 10 ~ Day 11 ~ Day 12 ~ Day 14 ~ Day 15 ~ Day 16 ~ Day 17