is one of my favorite places named after a bathroom appliance. (I love it more than Bidet, France, and Toilet, Missouri.) There aren't many times in life where one can put "Roman bath house
" and "good clean family fun," in the same sentence, but a visit to Bath is one of them. It's a really cool tourist town about 100 miles west of London. It gets a few million visitors every year, but it's more than just a tourist trap, as it has more than 80,000 residents. Recently, Jennifer and I ventured forth from London to see the famous Roman and Georgian spas.
We took the early train from London to bath. It wasn't a bad trip, only about two hours. I wore my bathing suit under my clothes in preparation (kidding).
We rolled into Bath around 10 a.m. and went straight to breakfast from the downtown train station. The whole city looked like it was designed to be on a postcard, and it's impressive structures and homes implied some serious wealth.
We walked around a bit, soaking in the atmosphere and the January mist, and then headed to the Spa.
Look at the that mist rising. I wanted to see a good Knight kick bad Knights into this on his way to a tower-bound princess so badly. This is the Great Bath.
You can see the ruins of the original Roman columns, but everything above the ground level was constructed in the 19th century, when Bath really blew up as a tourist destination.
The mix of Roman and Georgian architecture is pretty cool. You can see the two different kind of handrails in front of me. The guy next to me is ignoring both of them.
After we left the Spa, we walked around downtown some more. Below is a typical street level view in Bath, although there weren't hot sausage carts everywhere (hey, nowhere is perfect.)
It's pretty easy to get around Bath, although some sites, like the Jane Austen museum, are a good drive away from the center. In spite of this, we still hopped on a tourist bus, which was perfect for cold-weather sightseeing. We used http://www.bathbuscompany.com/ which made getting around very, very easy.
Getting the full tour experience was a good call. There is so much history associated with Bath that it's hard to pick it up piece by piece just by wandering around. Here I am, studying diligently.
We went to the official Bath museum, but when we got there we found that the original Roman Baths, the underground ones, were closed for swimming. We never got a proper explanations for why this was. I was angry since I had been wearing my bathing suit underneath my clothes the whole time (again, kidding. Sort of). The Roman baths had a great deal of the original Roman architecture, and I was really looking forward to relaxing in them. I even brought grapes for Yennifer to feed me while I soaked. Not kidding.
Next we hit up the Abbey Church, which even by English standards, is a pretty impressive old church. The grounds are amazing, and only reinforced my view that the British aristocracy are some of the best lawn keepers in the world. Actually, I guess I should say they employ the best lawn keepers in the world.
We actually had some difficulty figuring out to exit the Abbey Church property.
We left and saw on foot some of the things we saw by bus before, including the oldest house in Bath, which like all really old beautiful historic houses, had been turned into a restaurant and museum.
We found a pub outside the city center for dinner. It wasn't the best place, but it was a classic British pub and it wasn't very touristy. We thought were being authentic. It turns out were were being too authentic, because Yennifer soon came down with a brutal case of food poisoning.
We were on a bus to Bristol when it really hit. We were going to take a train from Bristol to London, when Yennifer ran to the bathroom to throw up. I was trying to get her back to London, to the relative safety of our apartment, when this really friendly, but kind of annoying, man kept making sure we knew which train we were boarding. He happened to see me looking around trying to figure out where we were going while I was holding Yennifer up as she was bent over in pain. I figured it out in ten seconds, but I guess we must have been a pretty sorry sight because the guy insisted on walking us over to the platform, which we were already running to. We made it just in time, both for the train and Yennifer's digestive system. We made sure we sat next to the train's bathroom.
If only we had been allowed access to the healing powers of the Spa! I wonder if the Romans needed all those bathhouses because of the bad food? Wait, don't answer that.