Sunday, 22 August 2010
Saturday 21st August
Rain was forecast again so we packed our coats into the rucksack and set off into the city. I wanted to see Broadmead where there are the old buildings and relics of the past. There are lots of cobbled streets and winding alleyways but somehow we missed the Corn Exchange and “the Nails” – these are round-topped pedestal which were used by merchants when closing a sale. Money was placed on the surface of a Nail, signifying the bargain had been struck; hence the expression 'Paying on the nail.' Not only was that part of the city very interesting but there was the Bristol (motor) Bike Show which was being held in that area and it was the last day of Pride Bristol which included a march but again we somehow missed that too :-( In the afternoon we took a bus up to the Clifton Suspension Bridge as there was a free guided tour. It was a very interesting tour and we certainly learnt a lot about the history of the bridge. The dream of building the bridge started in 1753 with a Bristol Wine Merchant who left a legacy to build a bridge. There was a competition to find the design and 24 year old Isambard Kingdom Brunel was declared the winner in 1829. The foundation stone was laid in 1831 but due to financial difficulties is wasn’t finished until 1864 – five years after Brunel died. It was designed for horse drawn traffic but it still meets the demands of 21st century traffic with 11,000 - 12,000 motor vehicles crossing it every day! After the tour we had an icecream and walked up to the Observatory on Clifton Down. We noticed that there was a commotion on the bridge and realised that a man had climbed over the parapet and was obviously threatening to jump! The police were soon there and the bridge was closed – we tried not to watch but you couldn’t help it! I don’t know it he jumped or not.