Thursday, 19 June 2008

Glorious Bath

When one thinks of the British city of Bath, images of Austen, the Roman Baths, and Georgian architecture spring into mind. As an avid Austen fan, this is one of the key cities in Britain that Traveller couldn't wait to visit! She couldn't wait to walk the very steps that Austen herself had walked. She also couldn't wait to see the sights where Austen's characters had strolled, had tea and where they had danced. When T imagined herself ambling down the streets of Bath witnessing these historical places, what she didn't picture was a garish red bus packed with loads of tourists with cameras around their necks and bright red earphones in their ears.

This taken into account, after Traveller and her hubbie arrived in Bath, Traveller was put off by Hubbie's suggestion that they should hop on a red bus so that they could get a better picture of the city and its surrounds. The red bus? With the ear phones? And the tour guide? This was not how Traveller pictured her first tour of Bath. However, as all attempts of renting bikes were thwarted, Traveller and hubbie jumped on the bus and were pleasantly surprised with a historical journey of Bath and its surrounds. With all of its red glare - the bus actually provided a wealth of information about Bath, and as Saturday was a sunny day, we were able to view all of the beautiful architecture, the lovely countryside and the main 'hot spots' in a 50 minute round trip!
One of T's most favourite stops was the Jane Austen Centre where you toured a small musuem of Austen's life and some of the films that have been made of her novels. You could even have 'Tea with Mr. Darcy' although T never quite found out what that was, as she is still fighting (perhaps a losing battle) the 'Heathrow Injection'. Hubbie, of course, made himself scarce when T went into the Austen museum.

Following the bus journey, T and hubbie had a fabulous night planned which included dinner at a a lovely restaurant, a play at the Royal Theatre and culminated in watching the ever-hilarious Eurovision contest. T could not think of a better way to spend her Saturday evening. They had a pre-theatre meal at a nearby Italian restaurant which was lovely but it was the actual theatre performance which was the best part. T had booked her and her hubbie in to see 'Blackbird' - a play written by David Harrower. The play was dark in subject - but so powerful and engaging. It was 1 hour and 30 mins long with no intermission, and T and hub were on the edge of their seats. The play had only two key characters, and the actors were on stage for almost the whole time. It was an excellent play and was featured in an excellent location - as the Theatre Royal is one of the oldest and most beautiful theatres in Britain.

Our next day in Bath was spent sightseeing. We started by touring around the Roman Baths - which hubbie loved! He stayed in there for hours, while T, after an hour and a half, took herself off shopping. The Baths were fascinating though, and T particularly enjoyed the Bill Bryson audio tour.

In the afternoon, we took a 'Mad Max' tour of Stonehenge and Lacock Village. Our tour guide was quite flustered and quirky and quickly shared with our little bus that he had a keen interest in crop circles and the unknown. Following this, he promptly passed around a book on the subject for all of us to have a look at! We were a bit unsure about him at first, but it turned into quite a humorous and unusual journey of the English countryside. T's favourite part was not Stonehenge (although it is quite fascinating), but was in fact, the tour of Lacock Village. Lacock is particularly famous because it was the set of the infamous BBC production of Austen's 'Pride and Prejudice' where Colin Firth, as Mr. Darcy, set women's hearts fluttering worldwide in a wet T-shirt scene. T was super excited! Lacock is also famous for hosting the house where Harry Potter lived with his aunt and uncle in the first film.

Our final day in Bath was spent just as the Roman's would have - in an actual thermae spa. This is the only natural thermae spa left in Britain. The spa re-opened in 2006 and is quite the treat! You begin with steaming rooms and foot spas - there are four steam rooms infused with different oils, such as lavender, jasmine, mint and eucalytus. These were very hot, but smelled heavenly! Following this, T and hub cooled off in the open-air rooftop pool which has stunning views of the city of Bath, the Abbey and the surrounding hills. It was the most relaxing morning and a fitting end to our weekend in Bath, as within the next hour we were back on the train to London.

1 comment:

Donna @ Thirsty? said...

Woah sounds amazing! You should put this into a book!


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