Monday Apr. 10th 2000 Bath Time

14C/57F Mostly Sunny.


Woke up and it was showering, but it passed quickly and the sun came out. At least it cleared much of the haze out of the air. Today was our explorer day to Bath, We had to be at Paddington by 9:15, but by keeping on track we were able to get out of the room by 8:am This gave us a chance to hit the breakfast room for toast , coffee, juice and cereal. Feet still a bit tired and a few sore spots developing in assorted areas, Really really starting to look forward to the waterbed, While we've been using Lancaster Gate as our "home" tube station, getting to Paddington from there is kind of a pain, especially when looking at the map and seeing Paddington is a block over, a block up and 3 short blocks to the side. So we just hoofed it straight there, hitting the atm on the way, Got there a bit early so Len popped around the station and found another disposable camera...we were running low and knew how much the home-gang likes wading through enormous numbers of vacation pics.

Avon Canal Our guide was Hillary for this trip and luckily good at marshaling us all into some semblance of order. It wasn't as large a group this time, only about 35. We had reserved seats on the train and the trip took a little under 90 minutes. We mostly read, though I seemed to look up just as we passed the nuke plant. They seem so much bigger here, but that may be because there are so many of them. (I'll never forget the sight of them marching across the landscape like power poles on the way up to York).

Bath Abbey At Bath we came out the back of the station and walked past the Kennet-Avon Canal and along the banks of the Avon to get a nice view of the Abbey and the weir. We popped up to the street level and crossed the bridge. It's the last bridge still to have wonky shops on both sides. You don't even realize you're crossing a the river until you see the steps and the promenade on the other side. The current bath was built by Beau Nash and the 2 Woods (Elder and Younger). Hillary was giving us a picture of Roman Bath fashionable Bath in the 18th century. The Abbey was the last Catholic monastery built in the UK, between the end of Henry VII and the beginning of Henry VIII. It hadn't been finished when the reformation hit, so it was a long long time before it had the fan vaulting all the way down the nave. The interior is the brightest of all the churches we saw and the glass is really lovely and of the Victorian era. During WWII a bomb hit it and blew all the glass out and it had to be redone. Saw some beautifully carved slabs dated 1629-1689.

The Assembly Rooms were closed due to an Osteoporosis Conference, so we didn't see much of them. It was fully restored in 1938 and the bombs hit it dead center in 1940 and had to be redone again. We had lunch in the garden of a pub and then took in the Gravel Walk from the Crescent behind the Circus. We took the optional tour of the Roman Baths. Fascinating, but not enough time to see all before we had to catch the train back to London. The teacher we saw/had to listen to in on our Hampstead walk was much quieter on this tour until it was time to go, and then repeatedly stressed the lack of time. Repeatedly! One of the group never emerged from the Baths and had to be left behind so we all wouldn't miss our train.

Cross Bath The square at Cross Baths and Kings Baths are about to be completely redone (glassed over and turned into a luxury spa, along with new piping run to the hot springs [water comes out at 46.5C] to avoid the bugs that have made the water unsafe), and we'd all taken pictures of the "before" area. It is due to be finished in December 2001.

Lunch in the Bath We ended up sitting with the same 2 women from LA we sat with on the trip down. It was such a coincidence! We all had a nice chat during the ride. (They own older houses as well so we had fun talking knob & tube wiring and plumbing in the English variants).

We were so tired and sore we decided to make it an "at-home" night so we hit Sainsbury's at Paddington Station when we got in, around 6:30, and just picked up MicroNuke food. A bit early to eat so we decided to hit the closest 'Net Cafe. A1 @ 19 Leinster Terrace, and do email and systems checks. For once everyone at home was online. Sent congrats to Katie Swenson, who was finally accepted into Mills College. Spent about an hour there, each of us on a machine. 20 pounds OUCH! Turns out the clerk had mis-read the register and it was only 12 pounds... still ouch! It was the most expensive place we'd been to yet. Tromped home and waved food. Len had the chicken rice curry thing and I had a chicken spinach curry thing. As the last of the cards had finally gone out from Bath we had a chance to sit back and watch a show about the airlines black boxes and tried to figure out what to do tomorrow. I think it'll be cold and rainy so we're thinking London Dungeon and the National Gallery... indoors things likely.

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