Saturday, July 09, 2005

Bath and the Southwest

The River Avon After London we went to Bath for a couple of days. We only really spent the first day in Bath though, and the second was more of a run-around-to-lots-of-places sort of day. But of that, more anon.

One of the first things we did was to see the Assembly Rooms of Bath, which are ballrooms and such that the Jane Austen types would go to to be seen in high society. By sheer luck, we found ourselves on the largest of the dance floors with no one else around, so we had a quick waltz twice around the room to hummed strains of the Blue Danube. That was fun. Underneath the Assembly Rooms is the Museum of Costume, which was actually tolerably interesting, though I think Miriam got rather more out of that than I did.

Bath Abbey Bath Abbey was beautiful, full of stained glass and dead people. Right next to it were the Roman Baths had lots of interesting Roman artifacts and green water. The wishing pool also now has 25¢ and 10p more than it had before we got there. The reflections were nice, too.

Botanic Gardens The Botanic Gardens were gorgeous, though their closing time of 9 pm was silly (it's still light for another hour at least after that). However, there was a playground nearby that emptied itself of kids at about the same time. This playground was great; I wish I had one like it when I was younger (heck, I'd take it now, too). In addition to the usual swings, slides, etc. it had a zip line, a climbing wall, a great climbing web of ropes (like monkey bars, but way better) and something called (I think) The Hags. This latter was sort of an ultra super seesaw. Each person sits at the end of a long rigid arm and the joint in the middle lets the arm rotate around the center pole and also angle up and down. So once you start pushing yourself off the ground and get going fast enough, you can fly around the pole in a sine wave kind of motion. It's fantastic.

Glastonbury Tor Anyway, the next day was our crazy day. We started off with a 1.5 hour bus trip out to Glastonbury. We saw the Abbey ruins and climbed the Tor, where the wind attempted to blow us back off the entire time. I could hardly blame it, of course, with all the tourists it has to endure up there. We had to skip Chalice Wells on the way back into town, unfortunately, since we needed to catch another bus.

How Stonehenge was really made There weren't any convenient bus routes out to Stonehenge from Glastonbury, so we actually went all the way back home to Bath and got on the train to Salisbury. From there we managed to get on the last bus to Stonehenge, where it was raining lightly and treating us to a bit of thunder and lightning as well. Very cool. After we got back to Salisbury, we went to the cathedral but only had a few minutes outside before they closed it. We admired it from outside a bit, but it was getting rather darker and wetter by this time, so we didn't spend long there. That's a place that would deserve going back for more time in better weather, though.

On the way back to Bath we took the last train of the night, which was running a bit late. About half way back the train stopped at Westbury station, having been informed that Network Rail was doing some nighttime engineering work on the track ahead of us. They negotiated for a while, but they didn't let us through. So we all got shuffled off into various buses bound for Bath, Bristol and Cardiff, and we ended up getting home that way. So all in all, the day probably had about as much transportation nonsense as anything else, but we still managed to do and see a lot of fun stuff, so it was good.

Random tidbits:
  • After a while, it seems that everything in Bath is named Blah Blah Blah of Bath. This becomes more amusing the more things you apply it to.
  • Yak Yeti Yak is really just the best name for a Nepalese restaurant.
  • There was an antique maps shop in Bath that offered free international shipping. Thankfully it was closed, or I would have blown a horrid amount of money there.
  • A fine Indian restaurant in Salisbury received my umbrella as a tip. Luckily, it wasn't raining anymore when we left (though actually, I guess that's why I left it in the first place).

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