5 Hours in Bath
This past weekend we took a train from Bristol to Bath! The train ride was easy and only a short ten minutes (if not less). The beauty of Bath was visible as soon as we exited the train station, just walking through the streets to the Christmas Market, Bath Abbey, and Roman Baths was a spectacle in itself.
Our first stop was Bath Abbey. Bath Abbey has been the site of an Anglo-Saxon monastery, a Norman Cathedral, and of course the Abbey Church as it currently stands. Just standing in a place that has history dating back to 757 AD was awe-inspiring, especially considering that we Americans live in a country that was only founded less than 300 years ago! The site of Bath Abbey has been occupied for more than A THOUSAND YEARS longer than America has existed as a country. WHAT. CRAZY.
We spent about 45 minutes wandering around the Abbey, reading the many tombstones and memorials that have been placed in the walls and floor. We made a goal to find the oldest engraved stone in the building, the oldest we found was from the mid-1600s.
See the angel baby statue holding a skull? Creepy, right? Wanna hear something that makes it a little creepier? Here's my scary story for the day...
To the right of the creepy angel skull baby was a statue of a woman with half of her chest exposed along with an engraving signifying her death with "Here lies the body of..." etc etc. Luc, of course, decided to make some jokes about the exposed chest, I scolded him but giggled a little and took a photo, one photo of him pointing to the statue, and one of the statue itself. Later, I went back to find the photo to show Luc (he hates when I take candid photos of him but I secretly enjoy making him slightly irritated) BUT THE PHOTOS WERE GONE. The photos I took immediately before were there, and the photos I took immediately after were there, but THE PHOTOS DOCUMENTING LUCAS MOCKING THE TOMB OF AN EXPOSED WOMAN were GONE. I take a lot of pictures and have never had a picture disappear like this. Luc is convinced it was just a fluke, but I don't know...I think that it was the woman in the tomb. She erased the pictures from my phone because she didn't want to be mocked. Spooky, right? By the way, I did not condone his mocking and justified the chest exposure, stating that it most likely symbolized motherhood (not prostitution as Luc claims). THEREFORE the ghost of this woman will probably not haunt me forever, just Luc.
After we were finished with wandering around the (haunted) Abbey, we walked across the square to the Roman Baths. Here's one last picture of the beautiful Abbey from the outside (along with some Christmas market stalls):
Next stop: Roman Baths! Again, just being in the Roman Baths was amazing with history dating back to 70 AD. We chose to do the audio tour, meaning that we each got a little handheld device (it looked like an old-school cellphone) with a speaker that told us about each exhibit. I was actually impressed with how useful those little devices were. You arrive at the next exhibit, which has a sign with a number on it. You type the number in your old-school cellphone and listen to a man or woman with a lovely British accent tell you about the exhibit. Pretty neat! The baths were gorgeous, with the water bubbling and steaming up around the old pillars and architecture. The Romans believed that this was the mystical work of the Gods but we now know that the water source, which comes from the King’s Spring, fell as rain water around 10,000 BC. So cool. The exhibits display sculptures of ancient Gods and Goddesses who the people of Bath believed were responsible for the hot springs (i.e. Minerva), as well as artifacts illustrating what life must have been like for the Romans when they inhabited ancient Bath.
After exploring the Roman Baths for an hour or two, we were STARVING. We wandered around the main square a bit but every restaurant was packed. We decided to have a street food lunch from the many delicious food stalls at the Bath Christmas Market. This was the last day of the market for the year, so it was PACKED. We found our way to a german sausage stand and had some sausages. They were cheap and delicious. I grabbed some mulled wine to drink while browsing the many (many many) market stalls.
The mulled wine was delicious and warm, many of the stalls were full of Christmas decorations and yummy christmas treats, there were many groups of carolers (my favorite being the elderly women playing ukuleles), and there was even a machine producing fake snow! The combination of all these things definitely got us in the Christmas spirit, even though it was a little too crowded for comfort. After browsing some more we found a pudding stall (by the way, Americans, in the UK "pudding"="dessert"). I got some yummy sticky toffee pudding in a bowl and another mug of mulled wine.
A few more pictures of the market:
The last thing we did during our short time in Bath was take an open-top bus tour! It lasted about 50 minutes and we had great seats right in the front of the bus on the upper level. Our guide was a goofball of course. We saw the river where Les Mis was filmed, some houses where Jane Austen stayed, and many other interesting old things. The Georgian architecture in all of Bath is beautiful.
After our bus tour we made our way back to the train station and took a train back to Bristol. We're lucky enough to live close to Bath, so we were able to spend the last half of our Saturday relaxing at home! I love being so close to so many amazing sights! We will definitely be returning to Bath to visit the Thermae Bath Spa, where you can actually bathe in the hot springs. We are visiting London this weekend and Edinburgh after Christmas, so stay tuned for more posts to come soon!