Saturday, March 31, 2012

Spring Break: Bath!

Amanda and I are in Bath right now on spring break! We are dividing five days between Bath and the Cotswolds.

We got into Bath very late on Thursday night, so yesterday was our first official day here. Rick Steves has been our very good friend, so I used him to help us put together an itinerary so we wouldn't miss anything!

The first thing we wanted to see was the Roman Baths, especially because we knew they would get busy later in the day. So, we were there at opening and were able to have the area almost completely to ourselves! It was pretty awesome. The baths were really cool, especially when you thought about how old they were, and how impressive they would have been so many years ago. The water in the pools is all pumped up through the earth by itself--the Romans nor anyone else has actually had to help the water come up, which is pretty crazy! And it's hot! The enclosed rooms with the water running through were really steamy!

After the baths, we went briefly into the pump room to fulfil one of my Jane Austen needs, and then we met our tour guide for a free walk! These people lead two tours a day, each walk lasting two hours, and they do it just because they love the city of Bath! It's awesome, because they must enjoy doing it, and it's great for us because it's free! Our tour guide led us through town, telling us all about how things worked starting in the Georgian era, and we eventually wound our way up to the Royal Crescent! I'm really excited about this row of houses, because again, Jane Austen refers to it in two of her novels, Northanger Abbey, and Persuasion. Also, in most of the films they show the women getting out of carriages here :)

We left the guided tour here, and went up to tour the Georgian House, which is still set up like it would have been all those years ago. It was so gorgeous, and all of the people in the museum told us about what life would have been like back then. It felt like I was walking through a house in one of Jane's books. I was telling Amanda that lately history has been coming alive for me, but in Bath, it's literature that comes alive. Now when I read Jane's books again, I will be able to envision her world so much better, and that's really exciting! 

After the Georgian House, we went to the Fashion Museum, which Amanda found very exciting. I liked looking at all of the old clothes. They have a dress from the middle of the 1600s, and it is absolutely stunning. They used golden thread, and the entire dress still shines. It's so crazy that it has lasted all these hundreds of years! We also saw a collection of gloves, and learned that back then, gloves had really long fingers as a status symbol, because since the long fingers prevented you from doing anything useful with your hands, it meant you didn't need to use your hands and must be very important. Things like that make me wonder. When people walk through museums hundreds of years from now, what are they going to think is amusing about our clothing? Probably jeggings. 

Having seen most of the upper part of Bath, we wound our way back down to the central part of town. Here, we popped into the Abbey, but decided that instead of paying to get in, we would just go to church there on Sunday instead! 

If you look at the front of the church, you can see ladders on either side, and angels crawling up and down. This, we were told, is meant to symbolise angels traveling between heaven and us. 

Next to the abbey is a chocolate shop, where Amanda and I stopped to get a chilli truffle for me, and a lemon truffle for her. We tried to eat them as slowly as possible as we made our way to the Pulteney Bridge. This bridge was meant to be a sister to the Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence, which I can't comment on since I haven't seen it (yet!). 

Later in the evening, we went to see The Taming of the Shrew, in the Theatre Royal! It was a pretty cool experience to go see the play, again, because so many of Jane's characters do too! The actual play was a wee bit confusing, even though I knew the general premise. I think I should probably read it when I get back so I can understand better what I saw. 

This morning after breakfast, I took a walk along the canal, and Amanda went to an event that was part of Fashion Week here in Bath, which she is very excited about! I'm waiting for her to be finished, and then we're going to get some pasties! Yum! She's never tried one, and my last pasty was with the family when we visited Anna in Wales about five years ago! So exciting!


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