Sunday, June 20, 2010

Day 3 - Bath

May 2010 - Bath England

Are you still with us?
Back on the bus and we're off to Bath. This hadn't been in our planned agenda but had been on my wish list so this was definitely a bonus.
Once again this is a town that I would love to have a day or two to explore.

On the way Steve continues to regale us with history, gossip and jokes. He points out Jane Seymour's former house outside Bath. I found the following information at
Actress Jane Seymour, described by the townspeople of Bath, England as the “Neighbor from hell” has sold her palatial 700-year-old mansion despite winning a long court battle against town residents over the mansion’s 24-hour liquor license. Jane and her husband James Keach bought St Catherine’s Court in 1984 for about $700,000 (USD) and just sold it to a mystery buyer for a reported $20 million (USD).

According to their website:
Bath is Great Britain’s leading winter resort. It was first discovered by the Romans in the first century A.D. who named the city Aquae Solis or "Waters of the Sun." because it has the only natural hot springs in the country,
Bath is located not far from Bristol in the west country, The earliest inhabitants were believed to be the the Romans, who indulged themselves in the unique thermal springs Bath’s second claim to fame is its royal connection in the eighteenth century,the town was a hugely popular resort for royalty, aristocracy, rakes and gamblers. Who between not only ’taking the waters’ at the Pump Rooms and attending colourful parties and gatherings,the Georgian tourists also indulged in all manner of intrigues, the kind of lifestyle they had is documented in books by one-time resident Jane Austen. At age twenty-one, Jane penned Northanger Abbey, which follows a naive girl's launch into Bath society. There is a Jane Austen Museum in town as well.
There is even a Jane Austen Festival that I now have to add to my Bucket List!!

Charles Dickens visited the city frequently and placed most of The Pickwick Papers in Bath.

One of the most famous landmarks in the city is, one of only two bridges in Europe to support shops, the bridge, built in 1770, is modelled on the Ponte Vecchio in Florence. According to Steve he thinks this is nicer looking than the Ponte Vecchio, I can't agree but it is pretty.

Other current or former residents of Bath are:
Peter Gabriel - musician. Carrying on the show business tradition another famous resident of Box near Bath is ex Genesis member Peter Gabriel who penned one of his greatest solo hits “Solsbury Hill” inspired by the nearby flat-topped hill at Batheaston, which was once an ancient hill fort.
Johnny Depp  has a house here.
Another famous ex resident was the Rev. W Awdry of Thomas the Tank Engine fame who lived in the village as a boy and probably got the inspiration for his stories by visits to Brunels Tunnel and Box Station.
Van Morrison - singer
Nicolas Cage - becomes a Bathonian - Hollywood superstar Nicolas Cage has snapped up a £4 million town house in one of Britain’s most prestigious addresses. Once the home of the Earl of Chatham, it boasts an indoor swimming pool, grand staircase, five bathrooms and six bedrooms spread over five storeys

Towering above the Roman Baths are the gothic spires of Bath Abbey. The first ruling monarch of England, King Edgar, was crowned here over 1,000 years ago. The medieval Abbey stands on the site where a church was originally built in 757. It was destroyed by Norman conquerors. The Normans then built a monastery on the site in 1090, but let it go to ruins.

Angels ascending and descending Jacob's Ladder

The present Abbey was begun in 1499, after a dream inspired Bishop Oliver King to remove the Norman structure and build a new church on the foundations. His dream guided the unique design given to the West Front. For a time, the Abbey fell into disrepair after Henry VIII ordered the dissolution of monasteries. Now fully restored, Bath Abbey celebrated its 500th anniversary in 1999.
Look for the miter, olive tree, and crown motif on the west front, a play on the name of the building's founder, Bishop Oliver King. The Latin exhortation across the doors reads, "Behold how it is good and pleasing."

The Roman Baths Museum is one of the top ten attractions in Britain. Over 2,000 years later, as visitors to the Roman baths gaze across the haunting, mysterious green waters, it's rather easy to envision a citizen of the Empire soaking in the "aquae sulis." The hot mineral water is a cozy 116 degrees Fahrenheit, and the main spring produces about 240,000 gallons of water daily. Remarkably, the waters circulate via original Roman plumbing.

This is our guide who was supposed to take us around the baths. Instead he spent 5 minutes introducing himself and then said he'd be downstairs when we finished visiting the Baths and be available for photos.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for linking to this from your post today. I loved getting a sense of your full itinerary in Bath. My current thought is to spend several nights here and do some day trips by coach in the area (Stonehenge, Salisbury, etc).


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