Climb up the wall to try to get a peek inside without having to pay.
This is about as much of the Roman Baths as I saw,
But luckily, there are plenty of other things to see! James and I spent 2 days wandering around the beautiful and historical city of Bath, which is in the south of England directly West of London (an hour and a half from B’ham on the train; just enough time for James to fall asleep and for me to power through some homework, though I was distracted by the green, hilly, picturesque, cliché English countryside!)
Like lots of European cities, Bath is very “walkable.” It is easy to wander around all day ticking of famous landmarks and sights. I was amused when after finding the Abbey we looked over and about 50 feet away were the Roman baths and just a few minutes’ walk from there was the famous Pulteney Bridge!
I was struck by how picturesque the city is. Every time I turned around there was another interesting and beautiful building. All of which are ancient by US standards! The Pulteney bridge, at about 250 years old, is one of only three bridges of its kind, with small shops spanning the length of the bridge on both sides. (If you are ever there be sure to check on the antique map shop, with some maps almost 400 years old and absolutely gorgeous detail!) It spans the River Avon, one of several river Avon’s in England. (You’d think they would have caught on that “Avon” actually meant “River” after the first few and wasn’t a specific name).
I will never get over being in Abbeys and Cathedrals. They are stunning, the scale and the detail can be a lot to take in. Just outside of the Abbey there was a street performer, singing opera. I had to laugh and the difference in calibre of street performances! You might say Bath is a bit of a posh city…
We saw the famous Royal Crescent, but my camera died, so I will give you a Wikipedia picture. I promise I was there 😉
We pretty much just meandered around on Wednesday and had a lovely one-day-late Valentine’s meal. (We spent Valentines playing Carcassonne and watching “Prisoners Wives” with my housemate Helen.) We stopped in at lots of interesting art galleries and plenty of bookshops. One stood above the rest to win our “favourite bookshop of Bath” … or maybe favourite bookshop full stop! Before we went in I said to James, “let’s just not stay all day, k?” as it was probably the tenth bookshop we were stopping at! (James is incapable of passing by books without stopping.) When we got in and started looking around they offered us a cup of tea! They gave us a full pot of tea in a lovely teapot and even some biscuits! Yes, we bought some books. We got free tea and bought their books, they gave us tea and sold their books: win-win. Definitely stop by if you’re in the area, http://www.toppingbooks.co.uk/.
There were some inevitably random and amusing moments. Thursday night we didn’t want to disturb our hostel-mates (who were speaking a language I didn’t even recognize) so we played poker on the landing of the steps. Lucky we had chocolate mini eggs to make our bets. A one point I was a bit over excited about the sun being out and started making shadows and getting James to guess what they were. We ended up providing lots of entertainment to a little girl sitting nearby. Glad we find the same things amusing as does a 5-year-old. Also, James tried to poison me. (He’ll try to correct that, but that’s how I see it). I accidentally took a bite out of his sandwich which apparently had mango in it. I told him he shouldn’t order things with mango! He said I shouldn’t eat his food. Fair point. I ended up being fine, just drank lots of tea!
We went on a city bus tour and a skyline bus tour, both really good. We learned that Bath was originally only a 5 minute walk wide. We also learned that Queen Victoria went to Bath early in her reign and a journalist described her dress and unattractive. Victoria was not amused, she said she would never again go to the city of Bath and she didn’t! Going so far as drawing her curtains when passing the city. We also saw several of the homes Jane Austen had lived in. She was one of the favourite topics on the tours.
One of my favourite buildings is this one:
The top of the building represents the classes, from lowest, on the left, to highest. It was originally built as a hotel and is massive.
Bath is definitely up there in my not-actually-existent list of favourite cities (haven’t been to enough yet!) Top marks on all counts. A huge thanks to James for taking me there! Feeling a bit like I’d like to be back there today as I sit in B’ham looking out the window to grey skies and rain. Oh well, back to some real work!