Cherrio, mates! (said in my best British accent). Ha! I’ve always wanted to visit the quaint town of Bath. I was up on Monday morning before 6am (1am US time — London is 5 hours ahead) to catch a train to Bath for the day. The trains are really nice and convenient!
I arrived in Bath then pulled out my map and headed to the Roman Baths for my first tour. Bath, England was known as “Aquae Sulis” when inhabited by the Romans. Two hundred years ago, this city of 85K was the trendsetting Hollywood of Britain.
The Roman Bath tour was very interesting (and it was a good thing that I took that tour so I wouldn’t be too shocked by what was to come later). Apparently, back in the day, men and women would go to the baths to hang out with each other & socialize. It was like a community center of sorts.
After the tour, I had breakfast at The Pump Room which is a high-class restaurant where you can listen to a classical trio play music while you eat. I had a traditional “Bath bun” (which is basically a sticky bun with sugar and currants on the top) and some coffee. I also tried the curative Bath water (pumped up from the springs hundreds of miles below ground…not all that tasty) but hopefully it’ll kick in and cure me of this bug I’ve picked up.
After breakfast, I pulled out my map and made my way over to the Fashion Museum. I take the scenic walk past Queen’s Park and the Royal Crescent & Circus towards the Fashion Museum. I have to say that the Fashion Museum has been my favorite place so far and a must see if you love fashion! They had displays for all fashions (both men and women) from the 1500’s to present. The museum offered audio guides to assist putting everything in context.
After leaving the Fashion Museum, I went to Bath Abbey. Bath Abbey is a 500-year-old Gothic church that has a huge stained glass window which depict 56 scenes from the life of Christ. It also has a bell tower so I took that tour and climbed 212 steps to the top. Once the tour was complete, I attended Mass.
After I got my soul right (smile), I went back outside into the freezing weather to take the 2 hour walking tour of Bath that is lead by a member of the Mayor’s council. I lasted 38 minutes because Old Man Winter was like, “Read Rick Steve’s and get the highlights. You know it’s too cold for you to stay out here”. I decided to walk quickly over to Pultney Bridge then the Bath Market before picking up a late snack (it’s almost 4pm at this point). That is when I discovered Cornish Pasties! They are the BEST things ever. Basically, it is some sort of meat (whatever you choose…I picked spicy chicken) baked in dough — kind of like an apple turnover but with meat instead. LOVE IT.
After my snack, I decide to go to the Thermae Bath Spa to unwind. Now, here is where things get interesting. See, I thought this spa was like the spas in the US. I mean, they have spa treatments and everything. So, in my mind, this is supposed to be a relaxing place to unwind while soaking in the hot, curative waters. The first sign that this wasn’t what I thought came when I noticed there was a line that extended outside the entrance door! Like we are at the club. Seriously. I explain that away with the thought that many others must have the same idea as I do since it’s cold outside so they want to go inside and soak in some hot water. They let people into the spa in groups (just like at the club). Keep the “club” reference in mind, k? Once inside, you go through the line and pay for your 2 hour session (they also offer 4 hours but really, that is just too much time in the spa to relax — or so I thought…this is the club so there might be bottle service). Anyway, once I pay for my session and receive my robe, towel and slippers, I am directed to the changing room. I see men and think, this is the wrong place. Before I could turn to ask the attendant, I see a couple of women emerge and realize that this is co-ed. I was like, “I have to change in the same room as men??? Oh hecks naw!” I didn’t want to be an ugly American or seem like a prude so I just took my stuff into one of the changing stalls and closed the door.
Once I was changed and covered up (one of the few), I head down to my relaxing soak. I get down to the hot “bath” and it really was like a club on water! First, people were wearing almost nothing (even the fat folks and let me tell you, I felt like Amy Winehouse because there was some big folks around). Second, I guess that is where you take your boo to get freaky because people were all over each other. It was like a scene from the HBO series “Rome”. I mean, call me a prude, but dang…get a room! All that was missing was a DJ playing Rick James’ “Superfreak”. I mean, there were couples in their 60s making out! I don’t need to see that y’all! t’s loud and people are getting it on in the “healing waters”. I decide to go to the “steam room” as maybe this is where the relaxing section is. Wrong. The steam room is a huge area with 4 different circular steam rooms that have varying degrees of steam and different aromatherapy scents. There are foot baths along 2 walls (where you can sit and soak your feet) and showers along the other 2 walls. I take off my robe and go into the steam room. Well, this is co-ed as well and while not as bad as the Minerva bath downstairs, it wasn’t tame and it wasn’t quiet. After about 30 minutes, I decide to head to the rooftop hot bath to see the sunset. Now, it is seriously cold but I decide to sit in the hot bath OUTSIDE and not look at lust bunnies. Then, some guy kept staring and getting closer to me but trying to play it off on the current of the water. Uh huh. This ain’t the ocean, buddy. Keep it moving! As I watch the sun set, I realize something…I’m having a great time at the spa/club! While it’s not a quiet relaxation, it is actually pretty neat. It’s more social in nature and is a more unique experience than anything I’ve encountered in the U.S. I can’t wait to go back!
After I leave the spa, I head over to a coffee spot and have a slice of chocolate cake and a latte before heading to the train station.
Crazy at the train station — There was some crazy man at the train station. Apparently, British crazy doesn’t look the same as American crazy. He seemed normal. But, while I was waiting in the lounge, he decided to “perform”. I mean, he was seriously ‘flicted. I don’t think that people knew what to do with him. He started clucking like a chicken then got loud (he was sitting 2 seats away from me) and said that he wanted to “represent my hood” (as he looked at me). Okay, I am from Atlanta and deal with crazy on MARTA regularly. He has to do better than that to rattle me. Then, he started messing with some woman next to him and playing with his face. Strange.