In the footsteps of Jane Austen – A Day in Bath

Today was one of the best days of this whole journey. I’ve really enjoyed all the places I’ve visited, but Bath is definitely in the top five. For those who want a brief history, open a new tab and check out the comprehensive Wikipedia article here.
I took the bus from Glastonbury to Wells, and then from Wells to Bath. The whole journey took about an hour and twenty minutes, but it was through some pretty great landscape, so I didn’t mind. And the weather was cool enough today, that the bus wasn’t a sweat box like it was when I took the bus to Bristol a few weeks ago.

So I arrived at the bus station in Bath just before noon, and headed toward the center of town through the pedestrian district. The city has a lovely old feel, architecturally, and reminded me a lot of Munich. My first destination was The Roman Baths, which is what the city was named after. The whole temple/bath area has been made into a museum and very much an interactive experience. I would say the majority of the visitors used the free audio guide (probably because it was free…). I actually skipped the audio guide, because I don’t really like them…but the labels were informative enough to understand everything without it.

The visit includes the main Roman bath, several rooms of artifacts, and one very cool interactive wall where the remnants of an old Roman pediment frieze were hung on the wall, and then a projection of what the whole thing would have looked like was superimposed over it periodically…sort of a before and after type thing. And then you finally get down to the ground level of the baths, and you can walk around. Signs tell you not to touch the water. I did. Haha. It’s not like I drank it. Anyway, the whole Roman Bath experience was pretty good, and then I headed to lunch before Bath Abbey was actually closed for a wedding until 2pm.  Here are some pictures of the Roman Baths:

So I went for lunch in The Pump Room which is part of the whole Roman Baths building. It’s a gorgeous space to eat, and I had the butternut/sweet potato soup with some bread, and a pot of tea. They have crystal chandeliers and someone was playing the piano. My waiter was Italian, and I made the mistake of telling him I’d taken one semester of Italian and of course he made me practice. Hah. It was pretty bad. As usual, (like with my German) I understand SO much more than I can actually say. But he was nice and I tipped him well. Here’s a picture of the dining room:

After lunch I headed over to the Abbey, now that the wedding was over. And let me just say…I would kill to get married in a place like that. hahaha. But that’s a long way off anyway. So, Bath Abbey is gorgeous. The real jewel of this Abbey is the East Window, which features 50 stories of the life of Jesus in stained glass. And also the ceiling, which is reminescent of Westminster Abbey, is pretty great as well.

I took many more pictures but they’ll have to wait until I get back to Florida. I walked around the Abbey for a while, made my donation and lit two candles, and then browsed the gift shop before heading out. After the Abbey, I took a walk further up town to the Jane Austen Center. I had every intention of going through the exhibit, but they require you to sit through a twenty minute introductory talk…and a HUGE group of Asian tourists (nothing agaisnt Asians ya’ll), and there was no AC so I decided to just check out the gift shop and then move on. Plus it was already getting later in the day I needed to catch the 4:20 bus home. So I dropped £20 in the gift shop, and then walked further on to The Royal Crescent. This is just an architectural feature of the city where all the rich folks used to stay when they’d come to bathe in the healing waters, but it’s cool to look at.

And then I started slowly making my way back to the bus station. I stopped at a cafe along the way and picked up a pastry and browsed a few nick-nack shops. I stopped and listened to a street musician for about ten minutes, because he was so good. He was a young guy, who played violin, but used (and I don’t know the proper name for the technology haha) some gadget that would record what he played and loop it live, so he would play over his own looping…if that makes sense. Haha. So essentially he would play a base melody, and then another and loop it over each other, and play live over that. It was really great to listen to and I happily threw £2 in his violin case before heading off.

The bus ride back went pretty quickly, and I enjoyed the scenic landscapes out the window. When I got off the bus in Wells I ran across the street to Tesco and got my stuff for dinner and then hopped on the bus to Glastonbury. I met a man on the bus from New Zealand, who asked me which stop to get off at in Glastonbury. I told him to get off at the same stop as me and that I’d give him a quick explanation of where things were. He was very thankful. I told him I’d always wanted to go to New Zealand and said, ” I know you probably get it a lot, but ever since I saw Lord of the Rings I knew I had to go.” And he chuckled and said, “Yeah I was on set for one bit of that. It’s great. Go to Wellington, that’s a great location.” I know it’s not uncommon for Wellington locals to have been involved, because it was such a huge production, but that was still pretty cool. And I’ve found that New Zealanders are really proud of the movies that have been made in their country, where as whenever I talk to an English person about this movie or that movie that was filmed there, they tend to gripe about what an awful adaptation it was…or how horrible Keira Knightely is, or how stupid it was that they cast an American to play an English girl, etc etc. So, I was glad that the New Zealander I met was pleasant. I found out his name was Paul when we got off the bus, and I showed him how to get to the Tor, and where the best food was and then headed home.

I’m having a lovely steak and salad dinner, and then I’m going to watch some TV and crash in bed. Neil and Sarah get back tomorrow and I have to go back to Pewsey in the evening. I’m not really looking forward to that…but it’s all part of the deal I suppose. I have a busy week ahead of me…so the time should go by pretty quickly. Two weeks left! And then back to the real world. 🙂

Cheerio for now!




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