day nine - Roman Baths and a "witching hour" Tor climb

Bath Travel Blog

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Bath Abbey

Clouds hung in the sky, blocking the sunlight as I woke. A damp chill crept under my skin but after a nice hot shower, I bundled up in warm layers and had a cup of herbal tea and was perfectly content. Cath and Dan are very fond of herbal teas and have quite the collection.

She had already left for work by the time I woke up but ended up returning not too long after breakfast, her shift cut short. She had a day of studying ahead and Dan took the day off so he offered to take me to Bath to see the Roman Baths. "Oh you HAVE to go!" Cath gushed. She would have loved to join us but she really had to get some other work done so Dan and I went off.

The drive through the countryside was amazing.

Roman Baths entrance
It drizzled lightly on and off but I really wouldn't describe the weather as bad or awful. The light rain only added to the magic of the scenery. Rolling hills and old forest, mist and light rain...it was really quite beautiful. Back home, rain and cloudy skies would be described as "crap weather" by me especially when the headaches and moodiness set in, but here in England...in Somerset, it's lovely. No headaches. No moodiness. A smile on my face, rain drops like soft kisses tickling my cheeks.

We talked about a lot of things during the drive. I was definitely in good company. Dan had never visited the Roman Baths and had last visited Bath over ten years ago. He was looking forward to the visit as well.

About an hour after leaving Glastonbury, we arrived and the rain had stopped.

The Great Bath
We found parking in a car park and walked towards the city centre to find the Roman Baths. We came upon the great Abbey first. We stared up in awe of the majestic structure and stood admiring for a few minutes before we continued our trek towards the Roman Bath entrance. We're both fans of all things "old" and historic. I will definitely visit another time to tour the Abbey. This afternoon visit was for the Roman Baths.

The entrance was quite lavish with its domed ceiling and intricately carved decor. An audio guide took us from the top-level of the impressive bath house, down through a collection of artifacts, architectural segments, mosaic tiles and temple of Sulis ruins. The terrace view was great, with the Abbey towering over the Great Bath and the statues standing sentinel along the walkway.

View of Abbey from Terrace
Magnificent! I particularly liked the great ornamental pediment with the image of the Gorgon's Head and the examples of some of the curse plaques found in the waters, asking the Goddess to curse wrongdoers. Some of them were quite amusing. I wouldn't exactly wish a thief who stole my cloak DEAD, but that's just me. The water itself, though green, murky and unsanitary was neat to see because of the heat smoke that rises up from the surface. Standing by the spring overflow was quite warm and like being in a sauna.

We spent about 45 minutes to an hour walking through the exhibit and stopped off at the gift shop to buy a few goodies for friends who would appreciate a little something of Minerva Sulis and her healing waters. We refrained from tasting the water in the Pump Room, opting for hot sandwiches and juice from a café on the street.

Terrace bust

We sat on a bench for awhile, eating lunch and taking in our surroundings. The streets were filled with people. There were many fine examples of Georgian architecture to admire and we even found the new Bath spa Thermae that offers visitors the opportunity to bathe in naturally heated spring waters. Next time!

We headed back to Glastonbury soon after, just  in time to join Cath for dinner. We talked, caught up, relaxed during the evening and watched a few episodes of Blackadder before midnight crawled around and we decided to climb the Tor. Witching Hour. :)

Walking up High Street into the residential area was amazing. Street lamps were few and the atmosphere was incredible. I had never walked up the Tor along this route before so it was definitely a first.

Me at the Roman Baths
By the time we made it to the foot of the magnificent Tor, there were no lights, our eyes having adjusted to the darkness. The climb from this side of the Tor was steeper but it was a great work out. By the time we all made it to the top, the mists had rolled in around us and it was drizzling rain. There were two others on the top, sitting within the ruins of St. Michael's tower, but they soon cleared out and we were alone to spend time to ourselves to think, feel, be aware of the energies of the Tor and the land around us.

The mists cleared a path as we descended, maybe 45 minutes to an hour later and by the time we headed back, it was 2 am. We all felt quite exhilirated and enjoyed a glass of ginger soda water while we unwinded before calling it a night.

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Bath Abbey
Bath Abbey
Roman Baths entrance
Roman Baths entrance
The Great Bath
The Great Bath
View of Abbey from Terrace
View of Abbey from Terrace
Terrace bust
Terrace bust
Me at the Roman Baths
Me at the Roman Baths
Gorgons Head
Gorgon's Head
Bath
Bath
Bronze Minerva Sulis
Bronze Minerva Sulis
Mosaic floor
Mosaic floor
The spring overflow
The spring overflow
Bath
Bath
Bath Abbey
Bath Abbey
Georgian architecture
Georgian architecture
6,620 km (4,113 miles) traveled
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photo by: Hummingbird