Planning our route toward the Irish Sea through southwest England, we couldn’t help but notice an interestingly named city which happened to be a few hours from Salisbury, a conservative distance for our second leg.
The trip was simple; less than two hours on a First Great Western train, no changes nor connections needed. Our train arrived in Bath around mid-afternoon and we taxied straight to the hostel. Admittedly, from the station to our hostel was a walk-able distance, but the weight of our packs makes any journey over a mile a real pain in the ass. In this particular occasion we left it to a group vote: unanimous decision to taxi.
We had already begun to list activities while on the train so we were anxious to get started.
Once settled at our hostel (the YMCA, no less), we hit the streets. Before I get into what we did next, I’d just like to give a little background on the city of Bath. Bath is widely known throughout England (and likely the UK, for that matter) to be a domestic vacation spot. Similar to what Palm Springs may be for southern California.
The city of Bath has been around for thousands of years (like everywhere in Europe) but is renown for the natural hot springs that flow into the city centre. When the Romans controlled England (again, thousands of years ago), they harnessed the springs and created… wait for it… The Roman Baths. These were places where citizens could refresh themselves in natural mineral water which surfaces at a temperature of 92 degrees fahrenheit. ANYWAY…
First order of business, a twilight session at the Thermae Bath Spa. This place is awesome. Imagine a swimming pool heated like a hot tub on top of a tall building overlooking beautiful, lush, English countryside. It was epic. Photos are strictly prohibited, probably for personal privacy or some crap, but Brit wanted to take one and I wasn’t stopping her. Snap. She was able to capture one before we were politely asked to put our cameras away. We complied. We really only did it so we could share it with all you guys. You’re welcome. But please don’t ask us to break the rules for you again.
The next morning it was time to take in the other monuments Bath had to offer. The most prominent, which you may have seen in the photos above, is the Abbey. The Bath Abbey is a spectacular sight when walking the streets, it absolutely towers above all other buildings. There are several fascinating tid-bits about the Abbey, so if I’ve peaked your interest, check it out. What I found most impressive is the first ever king of all England was crowned at the site of the Abbey in 973.
We learned quickly that the Abbey is not to be confused with nor called a cathedral. Excuse my ignorance, but the difference between the two was news to me. For those interested, a cathedral is the principal church of a diocese, the area of a bishop’s authority. However, the Bath Abbey, is a parish church which was once the great church of a monastery.
You may not believe me, but the inside of the Abbey may be more visually impressive than the exterior.
The Abbey has several monuments to recognize and remember significant members of English history. There were even a few monuments of American citizens. The self-guided tour offers a pilgrimage to those who wish to learn and worship. It felt right to follow in the footsteps of so many and participate.
Of course, what’s a good English vacation spot without some good pubs and ales? Yelp all you want, we’ve found talking to locals helps us discover spots with the most personality. Luckily, we found a great sports bar in town just in time for a Bath Rugby match. I kept checking the score, acting like I knew even a bit about what was going on. I guess it helped ease the burn I have for being unable to watch the Chargers every Sunday. Btw…damn you, Peyton.
On our way out of town, Brit was thrilled to find a magazine featuring her favorite blogger (The Londoner) in the “Mail on Sunday” front page.
Unfortunately, we had to change from our initial plan to take a ferry to Ireland. The time and cost was just a little more than we expected. We booked a cheap flight with the infamous Ryan Air and decided to fly from Bristol airport to Dublin.
Ireland, here we come.
Blondie and the Beard