Note: Some of you (alright, 2) have asked about our trip to England so I have written retrospective posts about it because a.) Britain should rightly be called an unofficial stop on the B Tour. We were there for 3 weeks to celebrate the holidays with Bjorn’s parents, and in many ways it kicked off our travels, so I would be remiss if I didn’t write a little something about it; b.) I really like those 2 people; and c.) It’s my blog so I’m gonna write what I want, even if it’s about events that happened in the far distant past of December 2012. Nyah, nyah.
Part 3 of 3
A special highlight of our time in England was a trip to Bath, a onetime home to one of my favorite authors, Jane Austen.
I’m sure my traveling companions appreciated my endless queries of “Do you think Jane Austen walked here?” my illuminating insights that “I bet Jane Austen saw this wall” and my rapturous oozing over places where I was sure she had been.
One such place: The Pump Room restaurant. It is a lovely, classy establishment with snowy walls, a high ceiling, Corinthian columns, archways and dark wood furniture. It’s the kind of place that serves cubed sugar, brown and white, with its tea (none of those daffy, flimsy paper packets for them, thank you). According to restaurant literature, it was the social heart of the city and where the wealthy went to see and be seen during Jane Austen’s time. (I bet Jane would’ve had fun seeing it now, filled with tourists bedecked in jeans, cameras slung around necks, sporting zippered fleece pullovers and other such finery.)
From reading her novels, I was sure that Bath was located near the sea (once I saw an actual map I stared at it in puzzled disbelief for quite a few moments and kept turning it around, thinking I hadn’t oriented it right) but I think it was all the talk about its healing waters that led me astray. Besides being a place where Jane Austen once tread, Bath is also home to the Roman Baths, an ancient Roman site for public bathing that utilized water from the hot springs there.
Nowadays, people are not allowed in the Roman baths (but can take a peek at them for a whopping 16 Pounds. Apparently, antiquity does not come cheap), but who needs the baths when there’s Thermae Spa?
Thermae spa is three floors of adult water fun (forgive me, that could have been phrased better, but it just sounded too deliciously inappropriate). On the ground floor is a large swimming pool, with jacuzzis and a torrential shower thingie (a technical term, I’m sure). The third floor has 4 steam areas housed in glass cylindrical rooms that can accommodate about 15 people, with each cylinder having different scented steam. In the middle of the cylinders, a huge waterfall shower intermittently springs to life, causing a mad dash of people to its center, who then retreat with fast hops of pain. It seems the rainfall shower, which did let loose big, plump lovely drops, has an outer ring of water surrounding it that comes down with such ferocity as to feel like the sticks of hundreds of tiny needles. Relaxing. There are also 2 thermal baths which I just read about on Wikipedia but did not see or experience for myself.
The main event, though, is the open-air rooftop pool. At night, lit by underwater lights, the water turns a neon blue with the cityscape forming an irresistible background of beauty to chatter that grew louder and actions that grew bolder with nothing but the sky (and the rules of common decency) to keep it in check. In short, it was like clubbing in lots of water — minus the music, dancing, drinking and bouncers (although there was one rather bored-looking lifeguard), but with about the same amount of clothing and with more water noodles.
And all this could be had for 44 pounds! (Apparently, present-day fun does not come cheap, either.)