While studying abroad in London, Bath is the only other place in the UK that I explored. In part it was because I wanted to see Europe while it was so very close. However, I am not afraid to admit, another part was that I was simply too lazy to figure out how to find a place to stay and a form of transportation for towns I was completely unfamiliar with. Many towns in the UK are beautiful but I have hardly any preconceived notions regarding them and therefore, do not have the motivation of breaking myths to drive me. Bath is not one of those towns.
Bath, according to various pieces of literature I had read, was a cooler, smaller, less dingy version of London for the upper crust of society. And part of the reason that I loved London was because it was large, bustling and dingy. So I wanted to know what Bath was all about. A friend of mine also wanted to go which was perfect since I had found two-for-one deals if we had train tickets. And the planning began.
The day of our day-trip out to Bath (it really isn’t very far from London) I was running late. I was, in fact, so late that my friend nearly got on the train without me and as soon as we stepped on the train the doors closed. Obviously, not a very relaxing start to what was supposed to be a relaxing day. During the train ride through some fields, marveling at the sight of horses and cows and farm houses (hey, it had been a couple months since we had seen green without a city surrounding it) we caught up on what happened since we had arrived in London. There are so many more stories to be shared when you’re in person!
Then the train pulled in to Bath and, my goodness, it was adorable. The main sight that we went to visit was the Roman Bath. And while the bath was marvelously green and while we enjoyed seeing the rooms they built over the water, we were mainly impressed by the structure underneath to keep the rooms warm. Without any pipes or wires or gas, they could keep the floor of a room so hot that if you walked on it without sandals you would be burned. And they only used bricks to conduct the heat.
The Abbey in Bath is also famous. While St. Paul’s will be one of my favorite places of worship, the Abbey was beautiful. It was fascinating to see the juxtaposition of the large flat screen TVs next to old flags that are barely whole. The stained glass was beautiful. Our main attraction to the space was the square outside. On one side there is a tea room. Fascinated as we are by traditional tea in the UK, we are still college students and somewhat constrained when it comes to money. With little pizza places and street performers, we were taken out of the old and brought back to the present in a rather fun way.
After lunch in a random pub, we wandered around the city and found the Royal Crescent. It is impressive. And since the two of us are frisbee players, the marvelous span of green just made us want to pick up a disc and begin tossing. It’s interesting to think that the Royal Crescent was the center of so much societal and political intrigue and is a place where normal people live. Well, they are probably richer than the norm if the number of expensive cars parked outside is any indication, but you know what I mean. And it seems that this circular attachment of apartments (flats, if you use the proper term) is more common than I thought. Within London, near Regency Park there is Crescent Drive, which seems like the Royal Crescent, copied and pasted. Within Bath, there’s a square that is actually a circle. It was comforting and provided an additional sense of privacy. I’m definitely a fan.
The Jane Austen Museum is also in Bath. I enjoy her work but didn’t feel the need to enter such a tiny museum and was later told that it wasn’t worth the money. It definitely meant more to me as a reader of her novels, to simply see where Anne and Captain Wentworth could possibly have had their conversations. It was fun to remember that it is a normal town and while some people might come to visit the town around my high school because of its importance during the revolution, it isn’t what it’s all about anymore.
We decided to change it up from pub food and hot chocolate and had dinner in a Latina restaurant and finish off our day with a final two-for-one deal (since it was happy hour). And then, back on the train we went! Traveling with a friend that you can chat with all day is definitely a must for day trips. Bath was clean, cool and had an overall tan tone to it. We loved the opportunity to explore it while the leaves were falling and it was still warm enough to wander around with coats in our hands. The audio guide at the Roman Baths was hilarious. The two-for-one deals were marvelously helpful. Bath is a very relaxing area and I would be interested in going back and seeing more. But that’s how I feel for the entire UK. Maybe next time I’ll go up to the Lake District.