Bathing in the Splendor of Bath, England

Life has been crazy! I can’t believe it has been five months since the London trip and I still have stories to tell.

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In prior blogs, I touched a little bit on Bath, England, but wanted to devote a special blog to just the small town of Bath. (Pronounced Bahth as in Awesome or Always.)

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We rode the tour bus through the patchwork country side clicking and videoing every bushy sheep, fat pig, and rock wall that presented itself. I was struck with how much England looks like places I’ve been in America. Then I realized just how old the settlements are in England and felt a sense of awe. As Trudy the tour guide talked of ancient rites and peoples, my imagination went on a romp.

I was suddenly walking across the moor in a long gown and riding boots, leading my black stallion down to a small river that ran along the valley. Then I was an outlaw in Robin Hood’s band of merry men drawing my bow, taking aim at a stag. I galloped alongside King Arthur, armor clanging, as he chased the Picts over the wall. I was a Druid priestess drawing a hawthorn stick from which to fashion my staff.
 

Trudy got my attention back when she said a photo op was coming up of Bath and if we would get our cameras ready, we would be able to get a good shot.

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With camera poised over my head, I looked through the window and was overcome with the beauty and timelessness of Bath.

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An entire city built of honey colored limestone, Bath welcomes travelers into another period of time. Bath Stone is made of Oolitic Limestone that was quarried from surrounding mines. It is a freestone, which means it can be sawed and squared up on any side.

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Bath is a World Heritage City with Roman Bath’s lending its name. We only had an hour in Bath, so we opted to not do the 45 minute tour of the Roman Baths in order to explore the streets and beauty of the city.

Dome in the Roman Bath

Dome in the Roman Bath

In the same square of the Roman Baths, stood the stately Bath Abbey. With history dating back to 675 AD, the church was dedicated to St. Peter. Over the centuries, it was burned, ravaged, over taken by Saxons, Romans, and various other peoples. It was in a state of ruin by the time Oliver King became bishop in 1499 and refurbished it to the same building that stands today as an active parish church.

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The architecture is fascinating. On either side of the main entrance, two Jacob’s ladders ascend into the sky with cherubs climbing up the rungs to get to the top.

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When Oliver King, Bishop of Bath and Wells, visited Bath in 1499 he was shocked to find the church in ruins. He took a year to consider what to do about it. In October 1500 he wrote to the Prior of Bath to explain that a large amount of the priory income would be dedicated to rebuilding the cathedral.  ~~Sacred-Destinations.com

He completed the refurbishing of the building and signed the building with his seal. (Very few people could read, so icons were used to identify the architect.)

Oliver King's Seal

The olive tree with a crown indicates Oliver King.

Released into the city with two hungry teen age boys, and this our only lunch break for the day, we set out to find a pub worthy of the Bath experience.  Roman and Italian food seem to be the favorite, but we already had our fill of pizza for the trip, so we sought a place for Fish N Chips and Bangers and Mash.

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We found it! Can you believe that our escape from pizza turned out to be named The Crystal Palace?

Tummies full, we set out to explore more of the glorious sites of Bath.

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We entered a square and were serenaded by a street performer. Listen to the tranquility that exists right smack in the middle of the city.

Click link below to eavesdrop on a peaceful minute in Bath, then press the back button to return.

A minute of tranquility in Bath, England

We reluctantly left the peaceful square and walked a block to the River Avon and soaked in the serenity of the area. The Pulteney Bridge drew our attention with its rushing current and ancient stone arches. We later found out they used this very site in Les Miserable movie as Javert’s suicide bridge.

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All too soon the tour guide beckoned us away to the bus. I stood and gazed at the city built into the hillside and knew that my Bath experience was strikingly limited.  The city sprawled on and on and I had just seen a few blocks of the amazing beauty of Bath.

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Soaking in every detail as we pressed through the streets, I left with a sense of wonder that a place of beauty, history, and peace could exist in this hustle-bustle world.

If you get to Somerset, then plan a day for Bath, England. You won’t regret it.

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5 thoughts on “Bathing in the Splendor of Bath, England

  1. Oh! Your tour stirred up so many memories. Didn’t you love how quaint Bath was? I’ve been to London several times, but it’s Bath I miss the most. It was so beautiful. Especially the honey colored limestone (perfect description, by the way!)

    Thank you for this uplifting post!

    PS- You’re right about parts of Bath looking like the States, especially the south. The more I travel, the more I see that different parts of the world really aren’t that different! There were islands in Greece that felt familiar because of their landscape.

    Like

  2. Pingback: Bahama Mama |

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