I lived in Marlow Valley, the UK for a work assignment for about 6 months a few years back. The first thing I did on reaching the UK was to buy the lonely planet guide. And chalk out a plan for every weekend that I was to spend in that country. I would typically take a train or a bus to the destination. Spend the weekend there and be back home by Sunday late evening. I was yet to begin blogging but had just purchased my first digital camera. Bath city UK was one of the places on top of my list.
More ancient the place the more inviting it is for me. Add to this the fact that I had read about Roman baths but had actually never seen them. To my Indian mind bathing is a private activity, so I was curious to know about these huge baths where people went through a collective ritual of bathing.
Bath England – Things To Do In Bath
One weekend, as the summers were setting foot, I drove to Bath city to explore the 2000-year-old baths that are supposedly the best-preserved Roman baths in the world. The city of Bath then was one of the very few world heritage cities. I went around the Baths dotted with many statues of Goddess Minerva. The hot water from the old spring seemed like it was molten metal and not water that was flowing. Yes, my logical mind did understand that it is the minerals in this water that lend it the color. But then what you sense and feel at that moment is what your memory retains better.
Heating chambers in the Great Bath remain in my memory until date as small brick pillars standing in a huge hall. The small instruments that were used to scrap and clean the skin sounded scary in their present form. I told myself they must have gone bad with time. I did take an audio guide to get the whole story but do not remember much of it.
I took a free walking tour of the city of Bath. A lovely old lady who had spent all her life in this small city took us around the streets of Bath. She told us stories of windows that were joined to make one as the house owners were taxed on the number of windows in their houses. She showed us the house that had 3 different architecture styles embedded in its façade. Most importantly she showed us the house of Bath’s most famous resident – author Jane Austen which in now called the Jane Austen Center. I will never forget the window of her house that had a huge metal mesh jetting out below the window. This I was told was to support the huge skirts that the women of those times wore. To stand in a place where the Pride and Prejudice were written gave me goose bumps.
Our walk ended at Royal Crescent – a group of buildings constructed in the shape of a crescent. You wonder and get inspired by the creativity of the architects whose designs continue to delight even today.
River Avon & Pulteney Bridge
Towards the end of the day, I reached the river Avon. A beautiful 18th CE bridge built in the Palladian style instantly catches the eye. I was told this bridge is called Pulteney Bridge. Seen from one of the banks, it looks very romantic. Construction on top of it looks like dream houses that are actually shops lined on either side of the bridge. It is one of the few living bridges in the world that has shops on it.
History and heritage are a part of every nook and corner of Bath. Even after so many years, I feel there are stories that I must go back to listen.
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