So a few weeks ago I found myself visiting England again, this time because I was going to my graduation. For that same reason my parents where along too. Arriving in the morning, we drove towards Bath. We had come straight from the Stansted airport, and only had some hours to spend in Bath before we had continue on to find the place we were staying for the night. Knowing you only have a few hours in a place like Bath, can feel like dilemma. How do you choose what to do?
We decided to start out with going to the Roman baths, knowing that we would spend most of our time there. The Roman baths wouldn’t be something we could see somewhere else, like cathedrals and old English towns.
We bought our tickets and was given an audio guide and then set free to walk around the Roman baths. If you don’t feel like listening to the standard guide, you can always choose to listen to Bill Bryson’s comments and knowledge about his visit to the place. If you like his books, this may just be something for you. He will make you sit and ponder over a strange face (one of his favourite parts), that reminded me of a sun. You could also listen to some of the children’s guides (in English, French and German), where you are introduced to characters from the time of the Roman baths and hear about their life and ways of the place.
Walking around you get to see the main pool from the balcony walk, and then led onwards to hear about place and history. Not everything remains of it glory days, but you can see models of what it looked like. The Roman baths had a multitude of purposes. It was a place to be social, to do business, for your health, and a place to worship. Around the main pool on the balcony walk you can see sculptures. They include names such as Ceasar, but also some less Roman. Walking through the exhibition, it shows the mix of background and culture. What I found interesting was these notes found, that was given to some kind of God. The tell of a crime and ask for the person who did it to be punished in a certain way. Some are rather harsh for minor crimes. They seem almost petty in todays eyes, but are entertaining to read.
You get to see the source of the spring as it enters and flows through the place. There are the pools for men and women respectively, the cold pool to take a quick dip, benches where you can discuss some business. It is also possible to have a drink of the spring, which should be good for your health according to the time of the Roman baths. Though I don’t have the gout, I felt that I had to try a cup. Warm, with something like a metallic taste, it wasn’t really that great to be honest. Of course if you drank it for your health, it wasn’t that bad. There were also guided tours down by the pools, but we missed one and didn’t have time to wait for the next one. I’m sure we would have learned more about life in that time, if we had been on the tour.
After having had tea and cake at one of the cafés near the Roman baths, we walked to the Circus. Seeing the Circus was almost like seeing something from an Austen book, at least the way I had it pictured. Though there were cars, I could imagine carriages doing the round to collect someone, and then head of towards some other part. Time was unfortunately not our friend, which so often is the case. We had to go back and continue onwards down the coast.
Having set the GPS to Burnham-on-Sea we started driving. Instead of taking us on the motorway, we were happily surprised to suddenly find ourselves surrounded by high cliffs. We were driving through Cheddar Gorge, and stopped to get out and take a few photos. I could probably have stayed for hours crawling around and taking photos, but we did have somewhere to be. We were too late, and the tours into one of the caves had already closed. Taking a last glance around, we continued. It was alright, it was still a great surprise to find ourselves there. Sometimes you get surprised in a good way, when you take a different route than you had intended.