Day 3 - Bath initially felt bipolar – a glitzy shopping street leading up to the 2000 year old Roman Bath remains. If I hadn’t chanced upon a quaint Christmas market on the way, I would have been very disoriented! I ran into a local glass maker in the market and while my tourist instincts were up to guard against slick talking salesmen, I realized at the end of the conversation that he was intrigued by an Indian-American visitor to his city and was making an honest attempt at being a merchant ambassador.
I poked around the Bath Abbey next. I was starting to see the similarity in structure of Gothic cathedrals and starting to notice small differences. The vaulted fan ceiling here is supposed to be one of the best in Europe; I wouldn’t know anyway. The Abbey was small, personal and maintained the prayer-ever-hour trend. Amen to that! As I chatted with the Father, he pointed out references to an American senator’s tomb and an inscription on the pulpit about a Rector who also served in Bombay when he heard where I was from. What a sweet old man.
I hopped next door to the Roman Baths, stepping into a dark and eerie world from 2000 years ago. Spectacular! I was intrigued how well this ancient site has been preserved even though a lot of building has been done around it to make it feel Roman and also to accommodate tourists better. I peeked into the baths, learnt a lot about the why and how of baths, and realized a tad late that I could have taken Bill Bryson’s audio tour :) The highlight for me was the floor with flues which circulated heat from a fire and heated the water on the level above. The ancient-ness of the site hit me when one of the guides there confirmed that the floor around the Great Bath that we were walking on was the original 2000-year old floor and that they were keeping an eye on places where it was showing signs of wear and tear. Roman engineering – now that must be a history in itself! I feel tiny!
Best Time To Visit
Best time to visit Bath is from May to July