Every year, Bristol, being a large city with a pretty long stretch of waterfront which leads out into the Bristol Channel and then the open sea, has a Harbour Festival. It attracts crowds from all over the country and lots of tiny yachts and boats of all kinds, make their way into the harbour. We also have several tall ships with masts and canvas sails rolled up.
One small replica ship that Bristol people are very fond of, is the Matthew that John Cabot used to find North America in 1497. It was widely believed that the sea was flat, so he was a brave man to take such a small ship out into the unknown.
Yesterday I was actually on board the Matthew while it was tethered to the wharf and I realised just how small this little ship is and this replica has actually traced it's roots to Canada and braved the Atlantic Ocean there and back just like it's predecessor. Apparently the ship rolls as well as pitches into the waves, according to the man who showed us round yesterday and who has sailed the Ocean in this ship, so it takes a strong person to overcome sea sickness. He believed in chewing root ginger when he felt queasy.
The Festival goes on for the whole weekend and as well as the ships, there are musical events, stalls and thousands of people who cram themselves into a smallish area.
I'm glad I went yesterday before the crowds arrived but of course, I didn't get to see any of the events but managed a long walk round the harbour that stretches a good few miles and had a quiet pub lunch in relative comfort with a friend.