We almost slept through breakfast, mostly because we were fighting jet lag all night and were a bit smashed by morning. But we managed to get up in time to catch everyone and had some cereal and freshly cooked croissants. I stuck to the non-wheat based cereals and whole milk to keep up with my low-carb, high fat diet. I also ate a half-bowl of fresh butter, using a few corners of toast to choke it down. Mmmmm.
We got out and drove the short drive to the park and ride, to catch the bus into bath. It saved us on a bunch of parking, and made life a lot simpler. We were dropped off right in the center of town, in the shopping district we walked through the night before. This was pretty convenient, and we walked slowly through the street towards the Roman Bath in the center of town. As soon as we got close, I could see the exact spot where we took our picture a few years prior.
Excited, I ran over and stood on the spot, broken tile marking the location like our earlier picture. Yulia was wondering what I was doing, but understood once she saw the location. Sasha couldn’t remember any of our visit so long ago, but knew the picture that we have in the hall from Bath before, and posed with us there. We got another tourist to snap our picture, and our first task for Bath was done.
We walked around the streets examining the random shops, not really with any plan at all. We thought about catching the Roman Baths tour first off, but the lines were mad so we skipped that until later. Just taking in the view of the streets and architecture, with no specific plan was great. bath is really one of the best wandering towns we have seen, neither too busy nor too empty.
We walked over the famous covers bridge, along the river, around and inside the back streets past Sally Lunn’s (the oldest house in bath, famous for the Lunn Bun), and then grabbed lunch at a nice pub called the Huntsman. As usual, the pub food was cheap and great.
The city of Bath offers a free guided walking tour, so we headed over to catch that. We caught it just in time, but about two stops into it, we found that it was much too loud in the streets to hear the guide, and went shoe shopping up the main street instead, (please guess if this was my idea…)
We ended up finding a great deal on a pair of Converse for Sasha. Double-laced in a cool blue two tone. We check out what was in several other shops but we getting pretty beat by this time. We found a good rest spot at Cafe Nero, and sat upstairs for a rest. We found an open wifi connection there, and Yulia was able to use Skype to call her parents in Russia. With only a three hour difference it was a lot easier to catch them than from Seattle.
After a quick coffee house nap, we caught the Spa Tour just before the closed the doors for the evening. This was a great time to be there since the crowds were much smaller and you could actually get up close to the roman exhibits. Sasha was fascinated by this. We had taken this tour on our first trip years ago, but the baths were empty for cleaning, and much of these new exhibits weren’t complete. These had all the excavated stones lofted into as close to the original locations, with a facade to show the original look of the Roman structures. You really got an appreciation of how advanced this was for the time.
At the end of the tour, you can show your ticket at the Pump House to drink a glass of the mineral spring water. I was actually looking forward to this, as it is a famous part of the tour. Sasha couldn’t manage more than a sip. Yulia and I finished ours completely. As expected, it was hot, silty, and tasted of a cross between rust and dirt, but how else would you expect bath water to taste?
We closed the place out then headed up for dinner. Halfway back to our place was a busy pub called the Hare and Hound. We came there and found it at about half the price of our pub, and busy as well. With dinner we ended up chatting with a few families near us, then joking about how bad English food is, with us disagreeing, since this pub was really amazing for the fish and curry we had.
They recommended that we take the Bizzare Bath tour the next evening, which was rated very highly, even by locals. It started each evening at 8, right at the Huntsman Pub. We thought that sounded like a great idea, and they started giving us directions to the Huntsman. We told them that we knew the place, and they were a bit shocked. We were happy to surprise a few locals on our first day there, and were ready for the tour the next evening.