Any sadness we felt leaving London was replaced with frustration and boredom when, on the Saturday morning we were due to catch a bus to Salisbury at 7am, we missed the bus by a couple of minutes and were forced to wait 4 hours for the next service in uncomfortable Victoria Coach Station. One thing is to be said for National Express though, their service was amazing - when I was completely dismayed and asked one of the assistants checking people onto the buses what to do he directed me to their office across the station where a gruff employee was able to book us onto the next available seats free of charge. I'm pretty sure here at home you'd be made to pay for another ticket!
After much listless conversation and observation of the unusually high number of crippled, legless pigeons that hobble around Victoria station we were finally on the bus and on the motorway to Salisbury. The original plan had been to spend a couple of hours there and visit Stonehenge before our afternoon train to Bath but it was a miserable rainy day and our time was severely limited so we sat in the train station for a few hours instead.
With that pretty unsuccessful day behind us, it was a huge relief when we FINALLY arrived in Bath in the evening and found our couchsurfing hosts' house. Jez and Fernanda were amazing hosts and staying in their home with delicious food, a comfortable bed and their adorable Boston terrier Nigel felt like heaven after a week in the hostel in London. We spent our days wandering around town, visiting the Roman baths (of course) and the Royal Crescent, which I was so excited about after seeing it in various period dramas on TV. We even got to attend the local Christmas service with our hosts, which ticked off the 'have a Songs of Praise-esque experience' on my mental checklist.
It was then onto Bristol, which I didn't know much about beforehand other than it was the filming location of Skins, but I had a brilliant time there and met a few new friends in the process. The city obviously isn't anywhere near the size of London so everything was within a nice walking distance. The shopping precinct in the centre of town is large with everything I needed/wanted (hello Primark...), there are plenty of art galleries and other trendy sights to see, and the street art is better than anywhere else I've been. This is, after all, the home of Banksy.
My friend Tom left on Boxing Day and flew off to Ireland for a week so I spent my last couple of days walking around town, including up to the Clifton Suspension Bridge where the views are stunning.