Monday, August 11, 2014

Devlin and Miranda in Bristol

Hello darlings, pleased to meet you!
My name is Devlin, and my traveling companion is Miranda Weavil.

A part of the Bristol, UK skyline fro the 5th floor balcony at the School of Chemistry Building.
I first wanted to provide you with a dragon's eye view of the city in which Miranda and I have been inhabiting for the past six weeks.  Bristol is a beautiful city with the perks of a harbor and hills to explore.  The following pictures depict the landscape and the vibrant festival life.

The Bristol Suspension Bridge
The valley-view of the street our flat is on!
In Bristol, there are many wonderful places to visit.  The suspension bridge and the route home from work provided endless wonder and awe.  It is important to note the increase in muslce strength in your legs when walking 30 mins to work everyday!

At the Bristol Harbor Festival
Within the six weeks of my adventure in Bristol, there was potential for enjoying 60 festivals, which equated to a different party atmosphere every week!  One of the festivals I adventured to was the Harbor Festival.  The Harbor Festival encompassed the foolds and drinks of a harbor town and the carnival-like atmosphere that is fun at any age!  Having a falafel gyro and Whoopi's soft ice cream only expanded on the awesome atmosphere of the festival!

Me scoping out the view from Miranda's lab room window.
I got to enjoy my affinity for heights by making myself at home on the window pane in Miranda's research group in Professor Paul Pringle's lab.  The view was beautiful regardless of the weather!  Our group was very fortunate to be in Bristol during a time of sustained sunshine and temperate climate.  Several lab mates mentioned "the weather is not usually this sunny!"  In my time in Bristol it only rained 5 times in 6 weeks.  So, I just waited for Miranda to finish in the lab everyday so that we could go out and "play."

In the lab
In the lab

I also snuck into Miranda's research lab to sneak a peak at where she worked everyday during the week.  Fume hoods lined the walls of the lab with every chemical I could possibly think of hidden in the cabinets along the walls of the lab.  I snuck a picture of the fume hood that Miranda worked at during her time at the University of Bristol.  I am also hiding at her desk gazing up at an analysis from one of the samples run on ES400 NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) instrument.

Relaxing by the River Thames
Miranda and I sharing secrets of the British Telephone Booth.

London, England was our first weekend trip away from Bristol.  Miranda and three of her flatmates joined me in our adventure to London.  In our time there we got to visit Big Ben, several parliament buildings, Westminster Abbey for an Evening Song service, the London Eye, and several pubs.  Fish and Chips are definitely good if not better than described!  Each and every place we visited was not only amazing, but on par with a once in a lifetime opportunity.  London is not a city in which we could cover all in one day.  So I still have surprises that I will leave for another trip to England in the future!

Enjoying a front-row seat to the London Skyline on the London Eye
Pushing my boundaries was a commonality in our adventures during the weekends away from Bristol.  My companion Miranda got to ride the London Eye even though she is terrified of heights!  While in the London Eye, we got to see the London Skyline at sunset.  From the bird's eye view it was interesting to see the old mixed with the new on both side of the Thames river.

The journey to Stonehenge
Using several modes of transportation in England is necessary.  In order to arrive at Stonehenge we rode a taxi, a train, and a bus.  The scenery was gorgeous and I admitted to staring out the window at the beauty of the landscape in Bath all the way to Stonehenge.
I complete Operation: Visit Stonehenge!
Miranda and I completed another item on my bucket list: Operation: Visit Stonehenge.  The mysterious formation of rocks held a snapshot of time long ago.  Stonehenge as we know it today took a long time to complete.  It would take more time at Stonehenge itself to allow the history to truly soak in.  For now I feel very blessed that I got to experience such a treasure from time.

Miranda and our companions at Cardiff Castle
In Cardiff, there was never a dull moment.  We went ALL tourist and rode the Cardiff double-decker bus.  We got to explore more of the city without the walking distance between exciting attractions.  Cardiff Bay included a trip to the Dr. Who Experience, the BBC sets from outside the building, and a delicious lunch on the dock with a view of the boat races.  We also explored the Cardiff Castle, Natural History Museum, and Millennium Theatre, which were all spread across Cardiff.

Clockwise from top left: Legend, Devlin, Alis, and Theodore.
As a treat for visiting the "Land of the Dragons" in Wales, it was fitting that we met up with my family in Cardiff.  I met up with Legend at the National History Museum: Cardiff.  Theodore was spotted at Cardiff Castle, and Alis was cooling off at Cardiff Bay.

Miranda at the Eiffel Tower
Miranda and I chill at the Louvre.

View from the Eiffel Tower

In my weekend travels to Paris, France, I got to mark two things off my bucket list with Miranda: going to the Louvre Museum and going to the Eiffel Tower!  In my lifetime I have admired the Eiffel Tower, but I didn't realize I would come up close and personal at this time in my life!  In our exploration of the Eiffel Tower it was pouring down rain!  The photo expresses Miranda's joy to be singing and danceing in the rain at the Eiffel Tower.  Just after this Miranda hurt her ankle and I "carried" her the rest of the day.  As a museum-lover, the Louvre Museum was always in my top five to visit.  Miranda and I are sitting in front of the glass pyramid that has the enrance on the other side!  The two hours and thirty minutes wait to get inside was worth it!  The Mona Lisa painting and Minerva statues were only two of the vast array of art and history that I got to look at in the Louvre.

Miranda's flatmates enjoying one of the events in Bristol
The group picture takes place at the Bristol Pride event.  Several of us joined in with the festivities to support our friends.  It was a day filled with the "Express Yourself" motif.  I would like to end with an acknowledgement of Miranda's flatmates and research group colleagues.  They held a significant role in the fun festivals and trips on weekends.  Studying abroad is a wonderful opportunity to spread your "international wings," but building relationships with new people from around the world was invaluable.

Without further ado, Miranda and I bid you cheers and goodbye!

Miranda Weavil (story told by Devlin)
University of Bristol
Bristol, UK