Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Our England Journey: Bath

When I first started thinking about where to go on our England Journey, Bath was at the top of the list. After seeing it so often in period films, and hearing about others' experiences there, I absolutely had to go. So we went.  And it didn't disappoint, but it was smaller than I was expecting.  You read about all these places in Austen's novels, and add in the museums that the city is known for, and you think you could spend days and days there and not see everything.  Turns out the sites are quite close to one another, so we were also able to walk along the river that surrounds much of the city and spend some time relaxing in the beautiful gardens.  Honestly, I don't have many photographs of Bath.  It seems like we were too busy enjoying ourselves to get out the camera.

Our first stop was the Royal Crescent, a row of houses that was built in a crescent shape.  While it seems novel now, turns out this was a major innovation in architecture at the time.

And then Bath Abbey.  We weren't able to go in, as this was graduation weekend, and there were ceremonies the whole time. But the facade featured something I hadn't seen before, angels climbing up and down ladders.  It was a bit funny looking, especially the angels climbing down, which were depicted as head down to help you interpret their direction.

Bath was a Roman city a long time ago, and there are still some remnants of the original city walls--this one just across from a Lululemon.

The Bath Assembly Rooms were beautiful, though they would have been much more interesting if a ball had actually been taking place. As it was, we couldn't see all the rooms, as there were people setting up for some sort of event.

Underneath the Assembly Rooms is the Bath Fashion Museum, which I spent many hours in.  I purposefully didn't take any photos, deciding to simply enjoy the visual splendor.  The main exhibition was on the Georgians, who ruled England for much of the 18th and very early 19th century.  I'm normally not very inspired by 18th century fashion, but the museum had some simpler pieces on display that I found rather intriguing, so I may just break into the 18th century yet.

I especially liked the brocades--their bright colors and lack of fru-fru. (this image is from the Fashion Museum website)

The other museum we spent a lot of time in was the Roman Baths museum.  Bath sits on top of several natural hot springs, and the Romans took advantage.  The water is now green as it's not flushed through as much and algae has been allowed to grow, but there are still in-use baths in the town that you can pay a bunch to visit.  This place was really impressive, with extensive exhibitions on the Roman era in Bath, though it was also ridiculously crowded.

Lastly I'll leave you with a shot of the river that surrounds much of the town.  We spent some time wandering along here, and it was a good way to avoid some of the crowds.

Next step, up to Scotland!

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