Thursday, October 11, 2007

Day 5: Bath

The next morning in Bath we packed, ate our "full English breakfast" (these were the probable cause of my gaining a couple of kilograms over the month) and set off for the carpark on the fringes of Bath which our landlady recommended. Car parking was a not inconsiderable expense over the month - just one of the things that cost quite a bit more than in New Zealand.

From there, we set out towards the centre of Bath, past the Jane Austen centre

and the hospital of St John. This hospital has been caring for the poor of Bath since the 12th century, and now has apartments for the elderly set around a very pleasant courtyard, which is open to the public.

A close-up of one of the flowers from the courtyard.

At a photographic supply shop this Roman centurion stood on guard:

just opposite the magnificent Bath abbey

where a busker was playing while his dog stood (or rather, lay) guard duty over his cap and takings.

Eventually we entered the Roman baths. They are about fifteen feet below street level and were covered up by later buildings, but were rediscovered in the nineteenth century. Entry includes the use of free audio guides which had not one but four sets of commentaries - the regular commentary, optional extra information, a children's commentary and an extra commentary by Bill Bryson. There are extensive displays and information on various Roman artifacts. All this kept us quite well occupied for several hours.

We then headed off to the other side of the abbey which fronted on the canal with waterside gardens.

We didn't enter the gardens as there was an entry fee (waived if you could produce proof of being a local resident). My zoom lens came in handy for taking photos from the road above. These are probably locals relaxing in the deck chairs.

Returning to the car, I spotted the modern counterpart of the Roman centurion:

I can't quite recall having lunch though I suspect it was mid-afternoon in the car park. We then set off north to the M4, then west briefly towards Bristol, and north again on the M5, heading towards our next destination of Shrewsbury. The motorways in England can be very fast - the speed limit is supposed to be seventy miles an hour, but everyone seems to drive at about ninety. They also drive very close, so I can understand why there are sometimes huge multi-car pile-ups. Sometimes, however, progress can be excrutiatingly slow. We started to see big flashing signs warning of substantial delays ahead, so we turned off the motorway near Worcester, and set off on smaller A roads north west through Kidderminster, and arrived at a small town called Bridgnorth as dark was approaching. It was only about half an hour's drive short of Shrewsbury, but it seemed a good idea to find somewhere to stay while we could see, so after a bit of hunting around we found rooms a bit out of the town at a quiet country pub.

Next ...we explore Bridgnorth, and travel to Shrewsbury


puresunshine said...

Catherine, beautiful pictures! The Jane Austen center, the castle pictures.... really lovely! A pleasant read! :)

PI said...

I have been to Shrewsbury - years ago and we often go to Bath to the theatre and I really enjoyed seeing your take on them. Thank you.
Michele says hi!

colleen said...

I'm so glad I came to see these pictures, especially that flower!