You can board the Great Western Railway in London’s Paddington Station and arrive in Bristol, on England’s west coast, in an hour and forty minutes. It’s a short trip but a big contrast.
My destination was 41 Mina Road (that’s “Mina” with a long I, like the bird), where my English friend Jane (who lives in Israel most of the time) and her daughter Sophie (who lives in Bristol, right around the corner) own a two-bedroom house. You can stay there, too: it’s an Airbnb.
The house is in the St. Werburgh’s neighborhood. Werburgh, who lived in the 7th century C.E., was an Anglo Saxon princess; her name, however, comes from Latin “vereburga,” or “true city.”
Here’s a view from the roof garden at 41 Mina Road.
And here’s the kitchen. The steel-clad house, which was completed in 2019, has won several architectural awards.
Bristol has a couple of claims to fame, or infamy. In the 17th and 18th centuries it was the principal port of the transatlantic slave trade, a legacy with which the city is actively reckoning: streets have been renamed; a statue of a prominent slave trader was toppled; a local museum, M Shed, devotes space to the history of slavery and abolition.
Bristol is also where the street artist known as Banksy first made his mark in the early 1990s. He has influenced a couple of generations of street artists, and as a result Bristol’s buildings look like this.
And like this.