A very close shave indeed

Saturday evening, I received confirmation from a girl from the Couchsurfing website that I could come and stay with her Sunday night. Couchsurfing is a movement where people (hosts) offer up their couches to travellers (surfers), in return for being taught a new skill, learning a different country, being cooked a nice meal. I had been lucky enough to nab free tickets to a cookery demonstration by Donal Skehan on Monday 5th May at the BBC Food Bristol Food Connections Festival, so I had emailed around several Bristol foodies to see if they would let me stay in return for tickets to the demo. I was happy enough to go to Bristol and back in a day, but Couchsurfing is on my bucket list so I decided to be brave and give it a go.

The longest I’ve ever driven before was probably Dublin to Tullamore for a job interview, so I was very proud of myself when I made it to Bristol in one piece. I went to Clifton first, to see the world famous suspension bridge, and I was seriously impressed. My photos just don’t do it justice!

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My intention was to walk across the bridge, but unfortunately, just as I took the above picture, disaster struck. I received a text from my Couchsurfing host saying she was no longer able to have me staying! I came to the sharp realisation that I was in a strange city where I knew no one, in a strange country, and I had nowhere to sleep that night. I fought panic as I began furiously googling hostels and joining the Bristol Emergency Couch Requests group. Thank god for smartphones is all I can say!

But I became more and more worried as every hostel I found online was either pretty grubby looking, or fully booked (stupid Bank holiday weekend!). Eventually, I came across one which was in the Clifton Triangle, and I thought, “Brilliant, I can have a look at this one before deciding, I’m already in Clifton!” Little did I know, the Clifton Triangle is actually in Bristol proper. It took me nearly an hour to find the place, and when once there I couldn’t have cared less whether it was a hovel, I just needed somewhere to rest!

Thankfully, the hostel had one bed left in a female-only dorm, so I paid for that and had a brief rest before beginning the long climb back up a giant hill to Clifton to retrieve my car. At some point, my phone decided to die so I didn’t even have google maps to help me, or my Mam on the other end of Whatsapp to cheer me up. Eventually, I found the car, parked it near the hostel and collapsed on the couch in the hostel lounge.

To be continued!

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