Church of St. John the Baptist | Bristol, England

28 August 2014

On a fairly warm afternoon, I was having a stroll around the Old City, looking for a coffee shop that supposedly has the best coffee in town (a post on that to come). I accidentally made a turn onto the wrong street, only to realize that St. John the Baptist Church was open. I had been inside once before, only because I was lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time. Run completely by volunteers, St. John the Baptist Church is only open when a volunteer is able to take some time out of their day to watch over it. 
During the construction of the medieval wall, five churches were built to act as gates for the city of Bristol. St. John's Gate is the only remaining gate today. It is believed Queen Elizabeth I entered Bristol through this gate during her visit to Bristol. 
Because I was the only visitor (besides a very chatty man who knew 'absolutely everything about medieval Bristol'), the volunteer showed us the bell tower and the crypt. The bell tower is still in use today, despite the fact there are no longer church services held in St John. The crypt is home to tombs of famous medieval Bristolians, such as the mayor of Bristol in 1479. 
Happy Thursday!

Oxwich | Wales

25 August 2014

As I mentioned in a previous post, I had not set foot on one beach since moving to the UK. Being from the Gulf Coast and spending every summer on the water, it was kind of a big deal for me. Before the summer ended, I was desperate to not only set foot on a beach, but at least dip my toes into the ocean as well.

On our day trip to Wales, we saw Worms Head and Three Cliffs Bay, two of the most beautiful Welsh coastlines. It was only fair to head down to one of these beaches. Oxwich is one of the many beaches located at Three Cliffs Bay. J used to visit Oxwich growing up and decided, despite the cold water, to have a little swim. While I wasn't as brave as him, I did take off my shoes and walk a bit along the shore. 
Right as we set up our towels in the sand, it began to rain. Typical, right? So we packed our bags and headed to the car. Even with the rain, I was happy to have been on a beach at least ONCE this summer. It seems we had picked the last warm weekend as well. Things have been cooling down here in England!

If you aren't following me on Instagram, I donated and did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. If you haven't donated already, please think about doing so as it's an amazing cause. While my Instagram version is only a tiny bit of the actual video, it's still entertaining to watch so check it out here.

Happy Monday!

Three Cliffs | Wales

23 August 2014

I never considered myself an "outdoorsy" kind of girl. Ask any of my friends back in the US and they'll tell you that I "don't like the sun". Upon my recent trip to Wales however, I had a revelation. I know, very dramatic. But I came to the realization that I DO actually like the outdoors. What I don't like is being outdoors in the heat. Lucky for me, it has started cooling down here in the UK and I have been able to enjoy walks outside comfortably. 

Located just outside of Swansea, Three Cliffs Bay is one of the UK's most famous coastlines. After parking our car, we took a 20 minute hike on a path surrounded wild blackberries. Upon reaching our destination, we we presented with some of the most AMAZING views. 

Happy Saturday!

Worms Head | Wales

20 August 2014

Having grown up on the Gulf of Mexico, I spent every summer on the water. However, since my move to the UK I had only seen ONE British beach (and it wasn't all that impressive). I had seen countless pictures of beautiful UK beaches on the internet and I was determined to see a "proper" coastline before summer ended. 

After talking about taking a trip to Wales for ages, J and I finally found a weekend where both of us were not working. So we packed into his parents' car and the four us headed to Wales for the day. 

Our first "proper UK coast stop" was Worms Head. An island that sticks out on the furthest tip of Gower, Worms Head is considered one of the most beautiful bits of coastline in the UK. Whether you are looking to stroll or hike, Worms Head offers beautiful trails accompanied by amazing scenery. 

These next few weeks are crunch time for me. My dissertation is due September 8th! Although I won't be taking an official blogging break, you might see slightly less of me these next couple of weeks.

Happy Wednesday!

Christmas Steps | Bristol, England

18 August 2014

Tucked away between two major streets are Bristol's Christmas Steps. Funded by Jonathan Blackwell, a wine merchant, the Christmas Steps were constructed in 1669 on top of an already established steep mud path. The steps are lined with some of Bristol's most quaint shops, including one of England's first fish and chip shops, a clock store, and a stamp collector. 
The meaning behind the name "Christmas Steps" has been lost in time. The medieval name for the path was "Knyfesmyth", which could have easily evolved into the pronunciation "Christmas". A nativity scene can also be found depicted in a stained glass church window at the top of the steps. However, it is unknown if the stained glass came before or after the name. Despite its name, the Christmas Steps are beautiful to visit year round. 
 On my visit I was expecting to see tourists snapping away, just like I was. However, I found the steps to be extremely quiet, practically deserted in fact. Upon doing a little research after arriving back home, I discovered the Christmas Steps have become a forgotten attraction in Bristol, despite their location in the city centre. The upkeep and promotion of the steps have declined in recent years, making it difficult for tourists to discover. 
One of Bristol's most unique and quaint spots, it is a shame the Christmas Steps have become a forgotten attraction. If you do plan on visiting Bristol, I highly suggest visiting the steps.

Happy Monday!

Temple Church | London, England

15 August 2014

Temple Church is a site you don't just stumble upon. You have to plan out your visit and boy, do I mean plan. With odd opening hours and a maze of streets to conqueror, getting to the church itself is a hell of a task. Before this particular visit, I had tried to visit the church a total of THREE times. THREE TIMES! All of which ended in defeat. This time however, I planned ahead and checked their website to make sure I wouldn't be disappointed once again. 
Built in the 12th century by the Knights Templar, Temple Church acted as the Templar headquarters in England until the 14th century. The circular design of the nave was a common feature in Templar architecture, as it recreated the building that stood ontop 

After the fall of the Knights Templar, Temple Church was transformed into an educational institute for lawyers, and is still used today as the Inner and Middle Temples of the association of barristers. The church itself was heavily bombed during World War II. 
Although the church was beautiful, and it was fascinating to see some effigies of Templar Knights, the fuss to get to Temple Church kind of put off my experience. Can't win them all.

Happy Friday!

Which movie used Temple Church as the setting of a shoot out?