Sunday, September 25, 2011

Day 6: Bath

Since we arrived in Bath late the night before, it was too dark to see the city and surroundings. It was a nice surprise when we woke up and saw this was the view from our hotel room.
Our B&B is nice, a bit oddly decorated but, it has a huge claw foot tub in the bedroom! I get to take a bath in Bath...a dream come true :)

We made it to breakfast and filled up on more eggs, sausage and toast before hitting the road. The center of town was less than a mile from our place. We walked down and first stopped to book massages at Thermae Bath Spa; the only spa in the country where you can bathe in natural thermal waters. But, here’s a shock, it’s a super popular place and you have to book your treatments a month in advance! We were pretty bummed but   it’s Bath; we were confident that there’d be other things to do. So we headed to the Roman Bath Museum just up the street. The baths date back 2000 years. People came from all over to bathe in the thermal waters believing that it would cure their ailments. The Romans built this huge bath house with multiple rooms, pools, and even a temple all for the public.
 The Great Bath. The statues on top are of Roman Emperors.
The Pump Room. That fountain pours hot spa water safe for drinking. It contains 43 minerals and is said to have a "unique" taste.
 An acrylic model showing how the water flows through the baths.
 Some of the oldest graffiti ever. Martin, you bad boy.
These are the steps at the entrance of the spa.
 This is an alter from the courtyard; believed to be used for sacrifices.
 This is a sculpture of Sulis Minerva's head; the goddess who was worshiped at the spa. It sat in the center of the temple.

 A curse. When someone felt they had been done wrong, they would visit a scribe, explain their problem and what they want the gods/goddesses to do about it. The scribe would write down their complaints and wishes in a way the deities would understand it on these pieces of thin lead. They would then get folded up and thrown in the spring. Here's one below with its translation beneath about someone's money being stolen.

The Sacred Spring. 
 Overflow from the spring.
 Us at the Great Bath.
 Water flowing in to the Great Bath.
 One of the pools.
 A treatment room where you could get massages.
 The heated rooms. These rooms were basically saunas. The floors were set upon these stacked tiles. Hot air from furnaces would flow under the floor making it nice and warm for bathers. The floor would get so hot they'd have to wear sandals so they didn't burn their toes. It was some lucky slave's job to crawl under the floor and clean out the soot.
 Circular plunge pool.
 Pigeons getting their spa fix.
 More tile stacks in the hot rooms.
It was a pretty amazing thing to see. We were there forever and right when we left, we turned the corner and there was Bath Abbey! Another amazing site.
Included in our Roman Bath admission was passes to the Bath Fashion Museum. Since I missed out at the V&A, I got really excited for this. However, when we got there, I was a little disappointed. They had a lot of great things but they just don't have the funding to make it a nice exhibit. The mannequins the clothes were on looked like Sears rejects or something. But here are some of the highlights. This is one dress I particularly liked. Behind it are stacks of boxes containing more garments that they don't have the space to display. Such a shame.
 One of Queen Victoria's mourning outfits.
J Lo's dress! Hahahaha. (see what I mean about the mannequins?)
There was this great spot to try on corsets and crinolines. This was a very exciting moment for me. I love corsets and didn't want to take it off.
Eric had to try one on after lacing me up. Another great moment for me. What a sport.
After our quick stint at the fashion museum, we walked up to the Royal Crescent. So chic.
By now we were starving and headed to an Italian restaurant recommended to us by a woman working at the Jane Austen Center. Saturday was the last day for the Jane Austen Festival. She lived in Bath for 5 years so they have a small museum filled with things from that time period as well as some of her belongings. I would've liked to see it but we were both over museums at this point (plus I think that would be pushing it for Eric). We settled for the gift shop and headed over to the restaurant. We worked off our hefty meal with a walk around the town.
For a late night snack, we stopped by a local pub near our B&B for some great food and drinks. We are eating so much on this trip. It's fantastic!

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