Bath

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Bath

Well, Aviva is 50 today – guess she can join AARP finally. We got up (was Aviva a little slower?), ate and got to the Paddington train station to catch first class seats to Bath. I started reading a book about The Troubles, by Brian Feeney, in Northern Ireland that Aviva bought in Dublin.

We got off the train 1 1/2 hour later, bought a pair of tickets for a bus tour and took off on a double-decker around Bath.

This was our ticket for the bus tour

This was our ticket for the bus tour

We got off at the shopping area and stopped to pet a Jack Russell Terrier that was really cute – dark brown! We walked over to the Abbey.

A side view of the Abbey in Bath

A side view of the Abbey in Bath

A detail from a memorial in the interior wall of the Abbey

A detail from a memorial in the interior wall of the Abbey

One of the ends of the Abbey

One of the ends of the Abbey

An exterior detail from the Abbey

An exterior detail from the Abbey

Another memorial detail from a side interior wall of the Abbey

Another memorial detail from a side interior wall of the Abbey

The Abbey was constructed between 1499 and 1611. The side walls inside are covered with memorials for people buried around the Abbey. The roof is quite amazing – its a Victorian reconstruction of a Tudor fan-style ceiling.

A timeline copied from the brochure for the Abbey

A timeline copied from the brochure for the Abbey

A view of the fan-style ceiling in the Abbey

A view of the fan-style ceiling in the Abbey

A view of the fan-style ceiling in the Abbey

A view of the fan-style ceiling in the Abbey

There is a large pipe organ inside the Abbey. There are also a lot of nice stained glass windows inside.

Stained glass windows in the Abbey

Stained glass windows in the Abbey

Stained glass windows in the Abbey

Stained glass windows in the Abbey

And here's the pipe organ

And here's the pipe organ

Next we walked over to the Baths, which gives the city its name. These baths go back to pre-Roman times, where early Britons treated the warm waters as a religious center. The Romans built a complex around the hot spring. It was rediscovered in Victorian times and rebuilt/restored/built anew then. There are continuing attempts to open a new spa near the spring.

Here's Aviva standing in front of the baths - the lower part goes back to Roman times

Here's Aviva standing in front of the baths - the lower part goes back to Roman times

A view of the baths from the upper level

A view of the baths from the upper level

The centerpiece of the pediment of the temple at the baths

The centerpiece of the pediment of the temple at the baths

The ticket for the Baths in Bath (front)

The ticket for the Baths in Bath (front)

The ticket for the Baths in Bath (back)

The ticket for the Baths in Bath (back)

We shopped and snacked. We found the Green Street House, which is a spa that was featured on the BBC just the night before – turns out the owners are two women who are putting their life’s savings into the business, and the BBC was following their efforts. I got to meet the owners and talk with them briefly – they were very nice. If we’d had time I would have gotten a massage (always a good idea on a vacation).

The front of the brochure for Green Street House in Bath

The front of the brochure for Green Street House in Bath

The back of the brochure for Green Street House in Bath

The back of the brochure for Green Street House in Bath

We got back on the bus and drove over to Pulteney Street – its a famous street in Bath for shopping and strolling. At the end is Pulteney Bridge, which is the only other bridge in Europe with shops on it (the Ponte Vechio Florence is the other; this bridge was modeled slightly after that bridge).

Pulteney Bridge - the stores are in the windowed areas

Pulteney Bridge - the stores are in the windowed areas

We strolled through Bath to the train station. We asked a cabbie for a suggestion for dinner – he offered up Woods, which is a small restaurant just off the Circus, a circular housing and office complex. The food was very good – we wanted a nice dinner to celebrate Aviva’s 50th birthday and she got one!

The Woods Restaurant

The Woods Restaurant

We got a cab back to the station and had to wait – we missed the 19:22 train and had to kick around til the 20:41. So, we hit an internet cafe (I sent an email to the team at work there); we talked with a young woman from Dallas, TX who was spending two weeks with her family from Taiwan in England. We walked around some more.

And here's Aviva, at 50, trying to figure out how to get out!

And here's Aviva, at 50, trying to figure out how to get out!

We waited at the train station – our train was delayed on arrival at the station 10 minutes. Then, we had to sit on the train at the first two stops – a the second stop, we had to change trains because they were having problems with the hydraulic system, so we didn’t get back to London til 23:00. We caught yet another cab and got to our hotel – we crashed quickly!

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