After bumming around Edinburgh for a couple of weeks, I headed down to England to visit Elizabeth. On Good Friday I hopped on an early flight and met up with Elizabeth at London Stansted at about 7:30. After downing a couple of lattes and donuts, we were on our way to Bath. From there the drive was a few hours, so we spent our time catching up and jamming out to some music.The views were pretty amazing - a lot of rolling hills interspersed with bright yellow fields of rape flowers.
Entrance to the Jane Austen Centre.
We arrived at Bath around noon. After freshening up a bit, we headed out to see the town. After walking around the High Street a bit and grabbing a quick pasty for lunch, we made our way to the Jane Austen Centre.The museum itself is pretty small, so it didn't really take too long to go through the entire thing. We did enjoy the fact that all of the workers were in period costume and that the history of her life was covered quite thoroughly. Plus, Mr. Darcy -- and I'm talkin' about the good BBC Darcy -- was everywhere. It should really be renamed the Colin Firth Centre. When you walk in, you are immediately greeted with his handsome face welcoming you. Most rooms had his picture somewhere, but the best was the gift shop. Most things being sold had his face on it, including a full size poster. I especially appreciated the poster on display, complete with an Oscar newly attached to it. I left happy, with my Mr. Darcy coffee mug in hand.
Our next logical stop was the town's namesake - the Roman Baths. I entered the museum with really no previous knowledge of what the baths actually were. Sure, I knew about the public bathing aspect, but that was pretty much it. The baths themselves draw from the hot springs, which then run into the river. There is a prevailing belief that the water can cure any ailment, so the baths were traditionally used as a cure-all. Their origins date back to the Roman occupation of Britain between the first and fifth centuries. Once the Romans withdrew, the Roman Baths were gradually built up over the next few hundred years. In its heyday, the baths were a way for the elite to socialize and Bath became a resort town. People would flock from all over the country in search of a place to rent for the summer months, where they would enjoy the richness and relaxation that the Roman Baths had to offer.
We didn't have much else on the agenda after the Roman Baths. We checked out the Circus, which is a circular ring of townhouses. They are divided into three equal sections and date back to the middle of the 18th century. In the center of the ring are a few large trees, which look like they were probably planted as saplings when the Circus was completed. Jane Austen writes about walking in the Circus, so we naturally tried to follow in her footsteps. It's kind of funny, really, how much Jane Austen is associated with the town of Bath. During the about five years that she lived in Bath with her family, she complained constantly of writer's block. Austen was apparently turned off by the richness of the resort town and she could not wait to return to the country.
|Entrance to the Roman Baths|
|View of the Great Bath with the cathedral in the background.|
|Sacred Spring - due to underlying gases that are released, it looks like it is boiling.|
|The Frigidarium - the cool pool of water that was entered after the Great Bath.|