Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Showers in Bath

When the train pulled in to sunny Bath Spa yesterday afternoon we thought, “Woohoo! We’ve lucked out! All of this rain gear for nothing!” But God said, “Nope”. 

While I love Bath and could wander around all its Georgian goodness for an entire day, when a colleague told me about the Bath Skyline Hike, I thought it would be a great Sunday afternoon activity, and definitely more interesting for our guests than gushing over Jane Austen and Palladianism. Tall Guy has the hiking bug, so a leisurely hike sounded good to him, too. Small Sister and SS Boyfriend, on the other hand, were not convinced. They shot daggers at Tall Guy and I when they found out our “little hike” covered six miles of hilly terrain (yesterday we went for a “spin” around London: we biked from home to Marble Arch and then walked down Oxford to Regent, to Piccadilly Circus, to China Town -paused for lunch, to Buckingham Palace, back to Hyde Park, pause for groceries at Whole Foods, and home again. That’s about nine miles...).

Anyway, we ended up on a tour bus. We made it all the way around the Bath Skyline route, riding on the open top level, and managed to snap some shots of Pulteney Bridge before the rain came down. And then we discovered that someone did not have a raincoat. And that I was the only person with an umbrella. KABOOM! (Thunder) And that, as Tall Guy suggested as the first drops fell, it wasn’t going to rain itself out in a few minutes. We decided it was a good time for lunch.

After pigging out at Pizza Express, we dashed to Bath Abbey, conveniently open for one hour on Sunday afternoons, and ooed and ahhed over the architecture as we waited for the rain to stop.

When we left the Abbey, it was really coming down, so we toured Bath on the Bath City Tour Bus: your favourite nerdy Tall Girl listened to the commentary and failed to convince her guests that it was worth getting off the bus (in the pouring rain) to see things up close. Tall Guy to the rescue – donned in his super raingear, he braved the open-top and snapped a bunch of rainy pics to please his Blue Princess Eye (that’s Blue-Eyed Princess for you non-Spanglish readers).

We drove past the Palladian-style splendours and the Jane Austen pilgrimage sites (“it’s a gravel path… they walk on it in this book… yes, there is a movie and it is probably dubbed in Spanish…”) and ended up at the Roman Baths museum. It was still raining. In we went. I was there a long time ago and only really remembered the green pool (“don’t touch the water,” I was warned,  “it isn’t treated… and pigeons swim in it!”), so it was great to visit again.

After an hour of soaking up history, we were ready for a soak ourselves. Thermae Bath is a relatively new spa complex not far from the Roman Baths. The rain stopped long enough for us to enjoy the outdoor rooftop pool, which has great views of the city and surrounding area. We went inside and down one floor to enjoy a selection of four steam rooms, then down to an indoor thermal pool.

We floated around until it was time to dash to the train station, where we saw a steam train leave to Bristol. Tall Guy commented that it wasn’t a very green travel option, and he’s right, but it provided a close that suited our trip to Bath Spa very well.

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