Sunday, June 24, 2012

We slept Ike big rocks for about 11 hours, waking up wide-eyed at about 3 am for abit due to jet lag. But, down for breakfast early (the ful English fry-up, including black pudding and fried bread!) and then walked into town to have a look at the lovely city of

It really is a pretty place. All the buildings are this pale golden stone, that glows a bit in the sun--and yes, there was sun! Lots of sun. True to form I got sunburned on our first day. we met the Mayors Blue Guide corp for a walk through town, taking in the baths, the new spa, the old city walls, the crescent, and the Circus, grand Georgian buildings all. The crescent is the iconic view of bath, this arc of perfectly symmetrical, perfectly identical townhouses in a huge ac overlooking the town. Well. Not quite perfectly identical...there is a yellow door. Some resident wanted to paint her door yellow (horrors!) and the city ended up going to the highest court to decide the matter. Talk about HOAs going mad!

While the city is probably best known for the Roman baths for which it is named, there are so many examples of famous architects work here thatyou can wander for hours just admiring the different facades. We popped into the abbey to see the fan vaulting, and joined the crowd at the Roman baths. The baths are fascinating, even if most of what you see are actually Victoria. Reproductios or rebuilds of the earlier spas. They sit on the hot spring in Britain, and people have used the natural spring since they discovered it, i imagine. Wouldn't you? Winters are cold and damp here...I'd love a dip in hot water if I could get one.

The foundations of the earliest bathhouse here ca still be seen, and a ton of archaeological finds from Roman Bath. They have recreated what they think the town looked like then, and do e a great job linking that to the baths today. Of course, the brand new spa on the hot springs is open, and is a bit of a polarizing building in tow . Either you liked he modern glass structure, or you hate it. Me? Undecided. I'm all for keeping the homogenous look a d feel of the town, but building modern replicas of Georgian buildings just because you have to isnt any better Than dropping a metal and glass behemoth down. Cities do change. The status of the whole town as as World Heritage Site makes any sort of change difficult, I imagine. At any rate, poking around at the baths was interesting. We even tasted the water, once purported to cure ills and increase fertility ( if early proponents can be believed). People came here for "the cure" and drank the water to improve their health. And then stayed to gamble and be seen by the height of society. This was a party town!

Grabbing a few portable pasties for lunch, we walked back up to the B&B and fetched the car to go off to visit Salisbury and Stonehenge. We stopped quickly in Salisbury Cathedral, which is huge and walked around the churchyard before heading off to find Old Sarum, the site of the fortifications of the original city. We arrived just too late to get to the castle, and so pressed on to Stonehenge...which was overrun by Druids. Dozens of them, chanting and beating drums. I will admit to being a little irked. It's enough that the whole stone circle is about eight feet from a major road, but I really did want some pictures without people in them! The Druids did leave after an hour or so, and we walked slowly around the is weirdly impressive, and much smaller than I would ha,be though. I knew that it was sandwiched in between two major roads, but I though it was larger..and it's pretty big, so that's a stretch.

I wish you could go closer--you're cordoned off a Soren yards away and can't actually approach the stones. (which made thedruids in the center even more annoying...I wanted to walk inside, too!) Very cool, though. We even managed to stay late enough that only a handful of people remained.

Made the mistake of driving back to Sarum to walk around the earthworks. There as bee a fortress on this site, a huge man-made motte, for thousands of years. First a ring fort, then a woods. Motte and bailey, then stone. It's i pressingly huge and Mark walked the perimeter, commenting on the defensibility f the place.

The day got away from us, and the forty minutes back to Bath for dinner were a bit crabby. We didn't sit down to eat until after nine, and we were DONE. We ate at a Morrocan restaurant and I had perhaps the best chicken that I have ever had. Mark had brochettes with lamb, sausage, and chicken that were quite tasty. Not sure Morrocan cooking is to our liking in general, but it was tasty.

Tomorrow, off to London.

1 comment:

Mormor said...

I'll bet your chicken dish was a tagine - all ingredients cooked together a long time in a cone-shaped pot. We love tagines. Yum!