In the middle of an Alberta deep freeze with giant sundogs surrounding a struggling sun, the memory of Bath is delightful. It was the last stop for Bernie and me. Bath was important to the early Britons because of its hot springs. Surrounded by hills and on the River Avon, people visited the waters and dedicated them to Gods. It was the Romans in the 60s AD that started to develop the Baths, continuing for the next 300 years or so. You can see one of them to the left. The Baths were open to all citizens and people came and visited and took the waters.
Bernie and I took the waters at Bath. Although Bath is now a World Heritage Site (1987), when you have "taken the waters" at Banff, Radium or other Albertan or BC sites, Bath is decidedly unimpressive. There are three pools (as there were in antiquity) and Bernie and I were in two of them. The warm pool was on the roof of the building and open to the air. It was not large and the view was marred by a nearby construction crane. The hot pool was downstairs and a bit dull (in lighting). We were also accosted (that's how it seemed) by a couple that we were at pains to avoid when we saw them at Bath Cathedral and the nearby gift shop.
The tour of the ruins of the Roman Baths was impressive. As with many of the self-guided tours (you get a speaker that let's you listen to explanations of history, culture and architecture), it becomes overwhelming (even for Wiki) ;and so we eventually just wandered along with the crowd and enjoyed the atmosphere.
Here is Bernie on our last day in Bath. The Gardens were lovely BUT we couldn't believe we had to PAY to enter. I don't know which of us has the Scottish blood but we were appalled and actually called back by the gatekeeper because he thought we were trying to slip by without paying. There was a wedding and the wedding party wandered past. Children and dogs played and families had picnics. We chilled. The whole holiday had involved a lot of walking and it was catching up with us. There was an interesting gal about our age (really, that old) with bright gasoline orange hair, matching orange floral skirt and accessories in keeping with the theme. Kudos for individuality and balls, not so much for fashion sense.
In the evening we went to the theatre in Bath. A farce was playing out the last few days of its run so we got good seats on the balcony. It is an old, elegant theatre but the fare was not. It was a typical British bedroom-doors, slamming, impeccable timing ridiculous tale based on misunderstandings and secret infidelities.
An explosion woke us our last night in Bath. Bernie claims that I jumped up, looked out the window and shouted. "It's f___kin' Beirut out there." I have no memory of this but I do remember several explosions accompanied by an impressive display of sparks and flame. I got my camera immediately and Bernie wouldn't let me take photos...at first. If you look closely, you can see that the explosions were the fiery end to a car parked across the street from our hotel. A man with a handheld fire extinguisher marching purposefully across the parking lot provided a moment of levity. The police and fire service weren't long in arriving. We watched for a while until, it seemed, the excitement had passed.
I messaged the picture to my kids and my son responded, "Holy F___! Where are you? Ealing-Broadway?" I had to assure him it was Bath and that we were fine. The next day we asked some locals if they knew what had happened and they thought that the car had been stolen and then set afire. There were no ideas why it should have been destroyed.
The train to Gatwick was uneventful and our hotel the Garden Marriott was within walking distance.. Our flight home was good and the holiday was wonderful. There is one more adventure- Linda and Bernie with Margaret in Bath but that deserves its own post.
I've been married a long time and often write about everyday events.