Wednesday Aug 18th,2004
Day Trip to Bath
Had to be at Paddington station at 9:15 for a London Walks Explorer Day to Bath. This was
our 3rd tour with Richard Bartlett... bet he thinks we were stalking him. Standard drill in
the morning (ever notice how fast you can get into a routine?), I was up first around 6:30
and made coffee. Kel up next shortly thereafter, then the straggling kids about an hour
later. Left the flat about 8:30 and took the Northern Line from Goodge to Charing cross.
Swapped over to a
train up to Paddington. Got there about 9:00. Bought some
munchies then found Richard. We paid and got our stickers, then had 20 minutes to kill so
went out for a smoke. This was a smaller group than the day before and way smaller than
York. 21 of us and no slowpokes. No hassles with boarding the train except our coach was on
the far end of the platform. Got a table for 4 then settled in for the hour and a half
trip. Between Paddington and Reading there was a downpour which caused leaks in one, if not
more of the carriages. Got some folk wet. We were fine.
Arrived in Bath
shortly before noon and the walk began. During the course of the day we had
alternating heavy rain in 10 minute bursts then 50 minutes of sunshine. A little breezy at
times, usually right before the rain came down. Had to break out the umbrella a couple
times. Overall nice weather however. Richard gave us the history of the town, from the
Romans who liked the water, thru the Saxons who did not, then up through the Georgians who
turned the place into a tourist destination for the upper crust and the Victorians who turned
it over to the unwashed masses to enjoy (Americans like us). He showed us all the great
Georgian architecture, and did a great job illustrating what life was like back in Jane
Austen's time. Matt was impressed by the lock system on the river and I love the weir
just downriver from the Pulteney Bridge. After walking all around the lower town we were given
an hour for lunch. We went over to the Market building and bought sausage rolls and
pasties. We took them over to the square alongside the Bath Abbey, in front of the TIC and
ate them while listening to a dude playing a recorder. After eating we got ice creams and drinks.
Towards the end of our lunch hour it began to rain so instead of meeting Richard back at the
TIC we decided to pop into the Abbey and listen to the noontime organ recital (the alternate
meeting place for the walk). It was dry :-). Half of the group beat us there and Richard
arrived 10 minutes later with the rest. The recital went on a bit longer than it usually
does according to Richard so the walk got a later start than he would have liked. He showed
us around the Abbey, which is the smallest Cathedral we saw on this trip.. Still huge. This
is also the lightest of all we saw due to having much more plain glass than stained. Like
it has no screens between the Choir and the Nave. Spent about 20
minutes there then went outside to look at the angel ladders on the west wall entrance.
Richard then had us hike all the way up this huge hill (har har) to the upper part of town.
Saw the Circus, a completely round circle of houses surrounding a green area. These 5 storey
houses are almost all split up into flats of one floor each. One flat recently sold for
£450,000. A restorer just finished unsplitting one of the houses and it's on the market for £5
million... guess we'll stay in Concord for a few more years. Then the
Assembly Rooms where
folks gathered each night for balls and supper. Over to the
Royal Crescent then.
A huge half
circle of houses and quite impressive. A brisk walk back down to town then a look see at more
buildings and shops. Made our way over to where the new Bath Spa should have opened 18
months ago... not quite done yet and way over budget. Ended our afternoon walk in front of
the Roman Baths. Richard got any of us who wanted to, into the Museum as a group for a
discount (£6.50). We had a little over an hour to explore. Kel and I got cut off last time
we were here, just as it was getting interesting, so this time we skipped to the end where
all the really interesting stuff is. The beginning is all setup to let you know the
lifestyles of those who came to the Baths back in Roman times. The end is all the actual
ruins and stuff. Very cool. Actually saw everything with a little time to spare.
Left the Baths and popped out to the Abbey Square, where we were to meet up with our group for
the walk back to the train station. Kicked back for 15 minutes or so, then got all collected
up by Richard and continued our walk. He pointed out the fake castle on the hill, created by
one of the main builder's of Bath so he'd have something nice to look at outside his window.
Got to the train station about 5 minutes before our train arrived. Richard took the
opportunity to tell us about HIS Georgian house that he has restored and turned into a
B&B. He handed out the adverts for it :-) Got on board, but were unable to get a table
this time. We split up into twosies. Uneventful trip home.. Got back to Paddington around 6:30.
Took a Bakerloo train to Charing Cross, Northern line up to Goodge. Matt and I hit Tescos to
replenish our Guinness supply then met the girls up in the flat.
Ate in. Had to empty the place of our food since we were leaving in the morning for
Ipswich. Adri and Matt had microwave Pasties, Kel had a Pesto Chicken thingy and I had a
steak and mushroom pie. After dinner we watched the final episode of Firefly: Objects in
Space. Did some cleaning up of the flat then hit the hay around 11:00.