Day 2 – Bath

Bath Travel Blog

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Sept. 12, 2007:  Day 2 – Bath


            Helene made coffee and toast in the morning.  We were headed to Bath that day.  She used to live there, and was willing to show me around on a historic and personal tour free of charge.  The amount of hospitality this woman showed me still amazes me. 

            The train from Bristol to Bath cost 5.

50£ and took less than an hour.  When we exited the train station in Bath my jaw dropped at the beautiful Georgian architecture.  The whole town seemed to share the same style, with all the buildings having an off-white color, and the roofs being a reddish-brown color.  You could tell it was a wealthy town by how people dressed and all the nice shops lining the streets. 

            The first place we went to was the Bath Abbey, which is one of the oldest Christian worship sites in England.  Some sort of Christian-dedicated building has stood in that spot since around 750 AD.  The inside of the abbey was just as beautifully designed as the outside, with huge and intricate stained glass windows, and vaulted ceilings well over one hundred feet high.

  The interior walls were lined with plaques naming people who were buried beneath the church in the vaults.  There was a small museum attached on the outside dedicated to the history of the church that we also visited.  All of this was free!

            Helene knew just where to take an interested tourist.  She next took me to the Roman Baths which are right next to the Bath Abbey.  There were people lined up to eat at the restaurant there, but she took me right past the line and into the eating area, past the tables and to a small fountain with a table in front and a sign reading “Spring Water 50p”.  We each had a glass of the warm spring water and clinked glasses in cheers.  It might have been the placebo affect, but I really did feel better after drinking the ‘mineral rich’ water.

            We walked past two famous buildings, one designed by the father of the other; The Royal Crescent by John Wood Jr.

and The Circus by John Wood. 

            Along this tour Helene told me tidbits of very interesting historic information like how they made the ceilings very tall to accommodate the tall hair-dos of wealthy woman, some of which had bird-cages with live birds in them.

            We stopped and ate potato balls that consisted of fried potato balls with spices mixed in.  They are one of many types of Indian foods that have made their way over to England due to the fact that India used to be a colony of England.  Helene told me that Indian food is currently the most popular food in England.

            What better to wash the potato balls down with than a pint?  Helene took me to The Bell where she used to bartend a few years ago, and where some famous jazz musicians have played.  She hadn’t been in there since she left Bath a few years ago, and still knew the bartender working.  She chatted it up a bit, catching up on the local gossip, and then we refreshed ourselves.

            Since I paid for the drinks at The Bell, Helene said it was only polite for her to buy me one.  I said “You don’t have to do that!”, but she insisted.  I don’t know if it’s Couchsurfing women, or European women, but they can’t take no for an answer.

  So we went to The Old Green Tree.  It’s a small, cozy hole-in-the-wall with dark wooden walls and, where, if smoking was still legal indoors, a few smokers could fill the place with smoke in a matter of minutes.  I had no idea Helene used to sing jazz until she told me that she used to sing at the pub we were sitting at.  I could just see her singing in the smoke-filled pub with people packed in and the noise at a level where you have to scream to be understood.  She is definitely a worldly woman with many talents.

            It was getting later in the afternoon and it was time to say goodbye since Helene had stuff to do.  I really appreciated everything Helene had done for me.  She has a very good soul and I wish her well in life if we don’t meet again.

            I took a bus up the hill to Jez’s place; my Couchsurfing host for the night.

  When I knocked, Emily (Jez’s roommate) came to the door.  She was expecting me and welcomed me inside.  I instantly smelled the pleasant aroma of food being cooked in the nearby kitchen.  She asked me if I was hungry and I said “Well, if you’ve already cooked some for me, than yes, but don’t go out of your way please” with a smile.  I don’t think it mattered what I said since it seemed as though she was going to feed me anyway. 

            Jez was working on his new mountain bike in the backyard.  He offered me a beer and I gratefully accepted.  His friends were coming over shortly to watch the England vs. Russian football game.  I couldn’t wait to watch a foreign football game with fans of one of the teams playing.

            England ended up beating Russian 3-0.  Jez’s friends were very cool.  One of them had a beer from Greece called ‘Vergina’ which we all got a kick out of.  Emily’s cooking hit the spot; bread and cheese with a very unique soup that consisted of ham, sausage, little potatoes and veggies.

            Jez was a mechanical engineer but is now a manager at a company that makes automated driving robots for automobiles.  So we talked up techie stuff briefly before hitting the hay.  He also told me of how he’s been to Novi and Ann Arbor (two cities in Michigan) for work-related conferences/trade shows.

            I really wanted to call home since I had not yet talked to my Mom or Dad, but I could not connect to their secure wireless signal since they did not know the network key.  But Jez was very nice to let me use his laptop to check email and find future hostels or Couchsurfers.

            I learned the word ‘skint’ today too.  It means ‘broke’ or ‘having no money’.  And, just to list a few other words I’ve learned:  ‘Pissed’ means ‘drunk’; ‘Boot’ means ‘trunk of a car’; ‘Rubbish’ means ‘trash’; ‘Pampers’ means ‘diapers’.

Jez and Emily were very nice to let me sleep in and leave on my own after they had gone to work.

  I know a lot of people would have a hard time trusting someone they don’t know to stay in their house while they’re not home, and I really appreciated the extra couple hours of sleep.

mswim says:
I love Bath Abbey, it's such a beautiful place!
Posted on: Oct 02, 2007
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photo by: Hummingbird