With only one night in Bristol, England, there wasn’t time to widely explore.

Luckily, we picked the Bristol Royal Marriott for our stay. Not only was the hotel a pure Marriott experience, it is located next to the Bristol Cathedral and to the well-used College Green Park.

Once we pulled ourselves away from the decorative Victorian architecture of the hotel, we took the bellhop’s advice and wandered to the Cathedral. The newly ordained minister, who was maybe in her early forties, invited us to make a complete tour of the church—all areas were open. She told us that the focal point of the sprawling building is the ornate choir and the large organ. As we walked through the empty space, I remarked, “Wouldn’t it be great to hear a choir?”

The Cathedral began as an abbey in the twelfth century and became a church in the 1500s when Henry the VIII dissolved the abbey but decided to rededicate it as a church versus letting it go to ruin. A virtual tour is available on the site, as well as an “explore the cathedral” which details the various sections.

New food in a new place

Hungry, we returned to the Marriott for food, but we were too early for the formal dining room to be open. We went to the bar, enjoyed a glass of wine and shared a delicious Cobb salad with an egg and watercress sandwich. After this trip, we’re fully addicted to watercress.

We decided an after-wine stroll was in order and wound up in front of the church. The sign announced that Evensong was about to take place. This was something new. An older gent, Nigel, welcomed us in and told us to sit in the choir. He said that they have a special treat because the Asbury University Choir, from Wiltmore, Kentucky was there! What?

As part of The Church of England, we found remnants to the Catholic Church we grew up in. I, ahem, had to nudge Jackie to stand, kneel, sit again as she found the music best absorbed by having her eyes closed. Because of the songs, it was an angelic service.

While inside, it had poured—torrentially—we would have been drenched had we roamed anywhere but to the Cathedral.

The park that had been full of people reading, throwing frisbees, and doing all manner of other things, had vacated because of the rain and left an appalling amount of trash in their wake. It was a shock to see it after the cleanliness of every place we’d been in Wales.

As we rambled around outside, we heard a few voices raised in song. The males from the Choir were gathered together to treat us to an a cappella tune or two. What a lovely way to finish a beautiful day in Bristol.

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