Day 9 – We Saw Bath in a Day
This was the third time that Euben and I visited London together. The first time was in 2003 and the second time was with Benjamin in 2011. We’ve always loved London and we enjoyed taking day trips from there too. This weekend, we decided on somewhere not so far away. And so early Saturday morning we hopped on the regional train at Paddington Station to get to Bath. It’s an hour and a half of comfortable train ride. We sat back, relaxed and had our take away breakfast on the train.
At Bath station, we saw people buying tickets for the hop on-hop off bus and so we did too. The weather was nice, perfect to sit on the top deck. There was live commentary which made the tour even more interesting. City Sightseeing Tours has a City Route tour and a Skyline Route tour – the one that goes up the hill and promises to be more scenic. We did the Skyline Route since we’ve already decided to tour the town on our own in the afternoon.
Bath is a lovely town 156km west of London. It is designated a World Heritage site by UNESCO and is most known for its Roman Baths. The town itself was very pretty and had this 18th century appeal. Although it has undergone redevelopments, it managed to preserve much of its neo-classical building designs.
Like these residential terrace houses in the town centre…
… and the Holburne Museum.
“Here lived Jane Austen 1801-1805.” That’s what the metal plate by the door says.
Jane Austen, the English author known for classics like Pride & Prejudice and Sense & Sensibility, lived in this terrace house at No. 4 Sydney Place. Her unit was turned into a luxury self-catered apartment and is actually open to the public for booking.
This was a typical street in the town centre.
And these were terrace houses on the hill; some overlook the town centre.
Here’s the entrance to the University of Bath. It somehow reminded me of my Alma matter, University of the Philippines.
After the open top bus tour, we headed for an early lunch at Carluccios. It’s a nice casual restaurant that serves mostly Italian dishes.
This was how it looked outside the restaurant.
I truly enjoyed my spinach ravioli and Euben his steak, and we finished off with coffee and mouth-watering blackberry crepe.
After Carluccio’s, it was time to visit the famous Roman Baths.
Within the Roman Baths complex is the Bath Abbey. It is a working Anglican Church and many people enter it, even non-devotees, to admire the church’s gothic architecture and its stained-glass windows.
The baths were below the street level and to get there, we first had to go through a museum which houses a number of artefacts dating back 2000 years ago. It’s incredible that these things had survived.
The Romans worshiped this deity called Sulis Minerva whom they believed had healing powers and who gave them the hot spring water that rises daily at 42 degree Celsius. They erected the Great Temple for Minerva and the stone fragments you see in the picture below were from the temple pediment (that triangular structure on top of the columns of Greek temples).
In the middle was a stone carving of The Gordon’s Head, a representation of Minerva. There’s an interesting story behind that head so go ahead and google away to find out more about it.
This was the Sacred Spring, where the hot water comes up daily till now.
Here are some pictures of the Great Bath, the largest in the complex. It’s 1.6 meter deep.
There were a lot of visitors but Euben and I managed to find a space where we can squat and relax. This picture was taken from there.
After exploring the complex, we walked around the town and enjoyed our afternoon under the sun.We walked and stopped and walked again – touching and trying out the goods at the flea market, stopping at every street musician, eating ice-cream and drinking beer, laughing hard, and really, truly just enjoying what’s around us.
We slept during the entire train-ride back to London. With hungry tummies again, we returned to Soho. Nice restaurants abound in that area so we knew that’s the place to head to for dinner. It did not take us long to choose. The oysters were calling us loud and clear…
It felt nice, when we’re together exploring a new place, like that one in Bath. And writing this post reminded me of the first travel adventure that Euben and I had together. It was in Malacca in 1999, that’s where it all began and our story started with ‘Once upon a time…’
Our Sunday morning was spent at Notting Hill, and a visit to Tower of London in the afternoon capped our short & sweet holiday.