(Written Tuesday, 5/12/09)
We’re exhausted already.
Crossed the Severn River on a l-o-n-g bridge over the estuary area where the tide meets the freshwater and churns up the mud. Nice drive, only an hour from Cardiff, and we drove through the lovely Georgian areas of town to get to a car park. Bath is gorgeous. Most of the buildings are cream and butterscotch colored, with lovely brickwork and windows and everything romantic. Right out of Jane Austen—in fact, she lived here for 5 or 6 years.
We spent the morning at the Roman baths. We only got through the inside museum part about the temple to Sulis/Minerva and a bit of time out at the main bath before I was “feeling unwell” and we got our tickets stamped to go out and get some lunch and rest. Then back in, see the rest. Tim was fascinated with how much the Romans could do—a pressurized system of water flow, etc. And both boys were amazed that the system is still the same as the Romans had—the lead lining on the main bath, the drains and such, and it all still worked.
It’s a lot different than when Blaik and I were here nearly 25 years ago. Some things are nice—the large open areas are walled off so they’re like they would have been 2000 years ago, instead of having to just imagine it. But we had a tour guide back then instead of the handheld audio-tours, and I think there was less temple stuff and more bath stuff. I know there was a large segment dedicated to the Georgian/Victorian era that isn’t here any more.
One of the new technology additions that was nice was a set of monitors in different areas that showed a picture of that room/area/temple remnant as it is now, and then segued to a CG recreation of the same thing, and then added components and then people until you could see it as it was. That brought it to life, especially the temple part. (I’ve read enough stories with Roman baths in them that I can picture that, but the Roman temple part is harder for my imagination).
We split up after that, Blaik and the boys touring the Bath Abbey while I walked up the hill (with aching feet already) to the Jane Austen center. Then we met up for dinner and braved the cold wind for the Bizarre Bath Comedy Tour. Crazy guy dressed in purple, lots of random thoughts and very little history (we knew that ahead of time), and tons of jokes about the places we stopped tied into the people in the group. I think that will be the highpoint of the trip for Tim!