The historic town of Bath, in Southwestern England, was for quite some time on our list of prospective destinations. We finally found our way over there last weekend.
The weather was as typical English weather goes: Overcast skies, intermittent rain, short periods of sunshine. But the town and its charms did not fail to impress us.
Bath owns its prominence to the hot springs on which it resides. The Romans built their baths there in the first century. In the 18th century, the town gained unparalleled fame as a spa resort. During that time, as rich and famous descended en masse, the place assumed its magnificent Georgian townscape, which it retains today.
The center of the city is fairly small and compact, and pedestrianized in its core, so we easily walked pretty much all of it during our time there. While unfortunately overrun with tourist crowds, the lively city holds quite a number of attractions, with honey-colored houses providing an elegant backdrop.
We toured the Roman Baths, which have little left from the time of their origin, but are nonetheless an infinitely interesting place (and the water is certainly hot); visited one of the Palladian-style houses on the Royal Crescent, which magnificently showcases what was life like for 18th-century aristocrats; strolled over Pulteney Bridge, which, akin to Florentine Ponte Vecchio, is lined with shops; loitered at the inviting Parade Gardens, where lovers of ages past used to steal away for their amorous liaisons; dined at a couple of great restaurants; relaxed in an excellent chocolaterie; played mini-golf at children’s insistence… All in all, enjoyed the scenery and the atmosphere.
We also undertook a trip to Stonehenge. For a pile of rocks, it is a formidable and certainly mysterious monument. The closest you can get to it is a few dozen meters on one side, but even at that distance, it is an awesome sight to behold. Even with modern machinery, positioning these rocks the way they are would unlikely be a trivial exercise. Imagine the task of doing it with nothing but mules and muscles. The audio-guide provides a quite enlightening lecture, but it is almost enough to just hang around and take in the view.
The bus tour that we were taking also dropped us for just half an hour in the tiny picturesque village of Lacock, which on more than one occasion doubled as a cinematic locale. It is truly remarkably maintained in its pristine state. One big drawback, though, is automotive transport. Seeing residents’ cars parked in front of a row of centuries-old buildings tends to diminish the ocular delight.
As most of our trips go, it turned out to be a fantastic foray. The pictures can be found here.