Day 12

Trip Start May 04, 2007
Trip End May 21, 2007

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Flag of United Kingdom  ,
Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Rob Garner, Academy Director for Sixth Form, picked us up at 8am for our day at Bath Spa. The drive took about 2 hours. We found a car park next to a Cricket field to leave the car and walked into town.
The first place we stopped was The Pump Room which is a restaurant that is part of the Roman Bath. Since it was after breakfast and before lunch the place wasn't crowded so Rob thought we should go in for a cup of tea or perhaps a little something to eat. I had the Georgian Elevenses which was a Bath bun with cinnamon butter, hot chocolate to drink, and a glass of official Bath Spa water. A Bath bun is something unique to the city. It's a bit like a sweet hamburger bun with small raisin-like fruit and large crystal sugar on top. The water comes from a ceramic fountain inside the restaurant but the water comes directly from the spa.

It comes out warm as well (around 80 degrees F). The water leaves something to be desired but we weren't really expecting it to taste too good. It was just the experience and to say we did it.

The Pump Room is very elegant with a large crystal chandelier in the center and a musical trio playing classical music and sometimes love songs. The trio was a piano, violin, and cello. The music was quite beautiful and added to the whole experience of have proper English tea in Bath.

We left the Pump Room and the 3 of us decided to take the Roman Bath tour while Rob walked around the Towne Center (he's done the tour). The tour included an audio device which we used at various locations to hear history or explanation of what we were looking at. The Roman Bath is very large. They guess the entire area, which encompasses several rooms and temples, is larger than a football pitch (soccer field). What I found fascinating is while you're on your tour there are workers in other areas that are excavating new sites to add to the tour at a later date. I thought that was pretty great. More is always being discovered.

"When the Romans came to England they had no natural explanation for hot water pouring out of the ground. To them, the Spring was the work of the gods... a sacred place. The Spring was enclosed within a building in the 2nd century. Pillars and statues were placed in the water. It became a dark and mysterious place... the hot water forming mist or steam when it hit the cooler air."

The Romans thought it was the goddess Sulius Minerva that was providing the mysterious waters. Belief soon spread that the waters could heal and answer prayers... if you left an offering. The sick travelled from far distances just to sit in the Jacuzzi-type pools. Those who had a wish or a prayer to be fulfilled could write them on a piece of parchment and throw them in the pools with a coin or offering to Sulius Minerva.


After a great tour we left the Roman Bath and went to the Bath Abbey just across the common yard.

The abbey was quite lovely inside. One of the larger stained glass windows has several panels with each one representing a story in Christ's life. There isn't a spot on the abbey floor that doesn't have a marker representing someone who has been interred. There was one above ground crypt which was for James Montagu. The detail on the top stone was pretty intricate.

After the abbey we found a place to grab a quick bit to eat, the "Same Same But Different". Cool name! I had a smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwich with a cup of tea. Nothing big or fancy. The 3 of us chatted with Rob Garner a while and then decided to head to the Jane Austen Center.
We were a bit disappointed in the Jane Austen Center. We kind of expected this but we went anyway because of the literary connections to the city. We heard a brief history of Jane's life and then toured the museum in the basement of the building. We discovered in the tour that even though Jane refers to Bath in every one of her literary works we didn't enjoy her time in Bath. Financially it was difficult and she was a country girl who didn't really like the city. She didn't write very much when she lived in Bath.
After the Jane Austen Center we went back to the Pump Room to meet Rob again. He walked us through Pulteney Bridge which contains several shops as you go over the bridge.  We walked along the river and back to the car to head back to Bournemouth. We left Bath around 4:45pm.
We got back to the hotel and decided to try a Chinese restaurant we had seen on several of our walks and that Louise had mentioned had really great food. We enjoyed a really nice meal and towards the end of our meal a band started setting up. We weren't sure what type of music the obviously young musicians would perform but were pleasantly surprised when a Harry Connick, Jr. type voice came from the lead singer with the music to back it up. Quite nice.
We walked back to the hotel. I was so exhausted (the last 2 days I've had 4 hours of sleep each night) I decided to try and do my travelogue in my hotel room while in bed. I couldn't get a strong enough internet connection so I just downloaded my pictures and typed out the text so I could upload it later. I planned on going to bed as early as possible since we were having an early morning again tomorrow. Bye for now.
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