Jeff and I have had day-trips to Windsor and Surrey, but we haven’t left London for more than a day yet, so planning our first weekend getaway was very exciting. We talked for days about where would we go first. How can you pick your first destination when you’re in a whole new country, anyway? We threw the virtual dart at the map and landed on Bath.
I didn’t know anything about Bath except for what little I remembered from The Canterbury Tales and the Wife of Bath (who was named Alyson ironically enough). That was pretty much it. So, when we started looking into things to do, I was blown away by what was actually there. Not only were we a stone’s throw away (no pun intended) to Stonehenge, but The Roman Baths were smack in the middle of this city.
Due to tourism, the city built up spas around the natural heated spring and for a price, you can enjoy four hours of steam, pools and views with a side dish or two at sunset. I was in! The train took about two hours to get there which wasn’t bad leaving on a Friday. In hindsight, it may not have been a bad idea to leave the night before so we could have woken up in the city instead of being in transit for most of the morning.
But we got there around lunch time and our first mission was to get to our hotel and drop off our things and change for the spa. We stayed at The Edgar Townhouse about ten minutes walk from the train station. A quick note about our hotel: it was actually quite nice. It seemed to be a quintessential Georgian home that must have belonged to a wealthy family back in the day (unless this is just my over-active imagination at work again). The room we were ushered into must have been for the servants. It was a standard room with all the basics, but the number of stairs we had to climb up and down to get to street level was mind-bending. And there appeared to be a sealed off dumbwaiter in the bathroom with a repurposed fireplace in the bedroom now home to the tea pot and dresser.
It rained and was hazy all day Friday, but since we had the evening set aside, we didn’t mind. But it was good to notate that we both remembered our sunglasses (finally) but forgot umbrellas.
We made it to the Thermae Spa and were ushered up to the changing room. It was an extremely modern establishment in the middle of ancient Roman buildings and Georgian architecture. There were three floors of fun we could indulge in. The first was the Minerva pool which was just a heated pool that you could relax in. One corner almost acted as a lazy river with jets that would push you around a little jacuzzi. Then we headed to the steam rooms. This was pretty awesome as there were four separate steam rooms with different essential oils to breathe in.
The next attraction, as it were, was the rooftop pool. This was our highlight since we were able to do this right at sunset. It was a shame we couldn’t take any pictures from this vantage point (image from the web), but it was extraordinary to see the city skyline which included the famous Bath Abbey. The pink sun against the dark gray stone made the view even more gothic and beautiful. Very romantic and a great destination for anyone wanting to go through Bath.
For dinner, we stopped by the oldest house in Bath. It was built in 1482 and boasted “the world famous Sally Lunn bun.” I was intrigued, not by the gluten but by the establishment. When Jeff and I got married, our reception dinner was inside The Pink Adobe which had a room that was over 300 years old. So putting history side by side here, we were eating dinner in a house that was built before America was even discovered by Columbus.
Walking back toward our hotel, we realized where the entire town’s population was. They were in the rugby stadium watching the game in the freezing, drizzling cold. Jeff had us stop by the cheap seats (view from behind a gate in an alley) to watch for a few minutes. I need to brush up on what the heck rugby is because I certainly don’t understand the rules (but let’s not get started on cricket yet).
We had two more days in this wonderful city which I will go into more in the next two posts. Keep reading!