On Wednesday, 5th October, DY visited Bristol for a cultural enrichment and theatre trip.
Here are a few of their combined impressions:
The start of the trip
Ah, the feeling that Wednesday morning when I realised this would not be the usual seven periods of school, but an adventure!
We were going out to Bristol to explore the different kinds of things England has to offer. A double decker bus was already awaiting us, which was a great surprise as I’ve never been in one before. I even got a seat in the front row on the top deck! So the start to Bristol was really great.
Clifton Suspension Bridge
Our first destination was Clifton Suspension Bridge. Designed by the famous British architect Brunel in 1864 as a result of a competition, it is 101 metres high and 214.05 metres long. Beneath it flows the River Avon, which was an important thoroughfare for the slave and spice trade in the past. I was stunned by how much engineering work had been done to build it; with no structures built into the River Avon to support the bridge, it depends on cables which are connected to the towers on either side. A magnificent suspension bridge!
Walking alongside it, there were no cars to be heard, only the heart- warming laughter of my fellow classmates and the ice cold wind biting our necks. To my right the gorgeous sapphire sky was split to the horizon by a never-ending gorge. Wow, this gave me the chills! I am not very fond of heights. Our teachers explained to us that Brunel died before seeing his work complete. Poor Brunel! We also found out the stunning fact that on 1st April 1979 a member of the Oxford University ’Dangerous sports Club’ bungee jumped from the bridge and a new sport was born around the world.
After that we went to the Clifton Observatory. The view from it was spectacular: the whole Clifton Suspension Bridge, the river slowly flowing towards the city, and the little houses; a picture-postcard composition!
SS Great Britain
Brunel also built a majestic iron ship called the SS Great Britain. Launched in 1843, she was called ‘the greatest experiment since Creation.’ Brunel’s vision for the ship made her the great-great-grandmother for all modern ships and was the largest passenger liner in the world from 1845 to 1854. We saw her resting in a dry dock at a pier and we managed to get a good view of the outside.
Our teachers had a boat ride planned for us, however until it came there was still time to spare. I had my eyes set on the nearest café. The slice of cake and hot chocolate I chose were splendid. Not long after, a small ferry came and we had a short river journey downtown. I didn’t really have an idea of what Bristol would look like and didn’t expect it to be so pretty. It seemed a mini version of Venice with its small canals winding through the streets, and the old fashioned houses gave it a homely feel.
City walk and lunch
We had two hours to walk through the city, first with our teachers through Queen’s Square and then across the foot bridge to Millennium Square. Given permission to discover Bristol by ourselves, we ate lunch and found out some extra information about the town. I noticed that Bristol can get really crowded in the middle of the day.
An hour later we regrouped. Our teachers had bought us tickets to see ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ at the Bristol Hippodrome. A theatre almost one hundred years old, I stepped inside feeling like a noble enjoying the best kind of entertainment from those days. I had researched the plot beforehand; it was great, so my expectations were high! Luckily, it didn’t upset me; I thought the musical was brilliant. The story is about a Jewish milkman and his three daughters who wish to marry the men they love, even if the village’s traditions would not allow them. I could truly feel the enthusiasm of the actors. It is not easy to act, sing and dance at the same time!
This was really a great learning experience for all of us: historical British architecture, a famous British engineer and of course the great Anglo-American tradition, a musical; that’s why I’m studying in Britain! I thought this trip was great and I am looking forward to seeing what else England holds in store for us.
By Julius Leonhard, Brian Ng, Hannah Postleb, Victoriia Zabolotna and Sam Gauntlett