Friday, May 20, 2016

Friday 20 May - Bath

Still feeling under the weather but we are beginning to run out of time in Salisbury so with a cloudy and cool day forecast we decided to take the train to Bath.  The train took us quickly via Warminster, Westbury, Trowbridge and Bradford-on-Avon through pleasant but unspectacular country where the overall green was offset by fields of bright yellow (either mustard or rapeseed). On the approach to Westbury we could see one of the white horses carved into the chalk hillside. It seems today that this is a concrete horse painted white:

I have always found Bath difficult.  The street layout is very confused and it is easy to get lost.  We took the hop on, hop off bus tour to get an idea of the layout of the place but the route is confusing in itself.  The buildings are all constructed of the same colored stone, quite dirty in places which leaves a dreary feel although these are gems according to the architectural purists.  There are streets and streets of similar buildings with very little green and few flowers - not so much as a window box. We stopped to look at the Royal Crescent which I found drab in its sameness, only interrupted by scaffolding. Bath is past its best before date by a couple of centuries.
This beautifully restored vintage vehicle helped to relieve the monotony of the buildings with its blue paintwork
The Abbey
It was easy to walk downhill back to the area of the abbey where we visited the Roman Bath Exhibit.  This was well done as it guided visitors through the excavations but didn't give a very good impression of what it must have been like to the Roman visitors.  There were good videos showing the use of lead and how the tiles were made while the many school kids enjoyed the excellent displays of roman coins.  However, the several baths of nasty looking green water did not add the the ambiance of a Unesco World Heritage Town.  Surely not even Romans would want to immerse themselves in that water.  As we left we sampled the famed waters - warm but relatively sweet smelling.

I was feeling the effects of traveling on the open top deck of the tour bus but a glass of London Pride together with a bowl of broccoli and stilton soup soon improved matters.

On the way back to the station we stopped off at the Sally Lunn Tearoom to buy a Sally Lunn Bun, a large bun or teacake made with a yeast dough including cream, eggs and spice similar to the sweet brioche breads of France.  It was first recorded here in 1780. To get to the counter we had to climb down some very cramped, dark stairs into a low basement room, not an accessible location.

The train back was very full but we found seats after Bradford-on-Avon.

Click here to see all pictures taken at Bath

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