Saturday, 28 April 2018

3rd Wedding Anniversary in Bath

This March we celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary! It slotted in nicely with our busy busy schedules and yet we wanted to take a breather and relax so earlier this year I arranged for us to take a few days away in the Georgian city of Bath and it was wonderful.

We fell in love with the city itself, it's almost empty paths (of people that is), neoclassical and gothic architecture and rich heritage. It was almost strange how many stereotypical English activities we indulged in.

I booked my first ever Air BnB which turned out to be beyond perfect. Five minutes walk away from the centre, beautifully decorated and the most perfect size for two people. I wish I could transport it to London and live in it (and keep the Bath property prices).

Our first day was spent solely at the Thermea Spa. I booked us in for four hours use of the facilities which included a roof top pool, indoor pool, steam rooms, sauna, celestial room, etttccc. a couples massage and two course meal! It was my first professional massage and it was the best part. Apparently I have a very tense upper back, arms and hands! If anyone knows any good (and affordable) London Masseuses let me know.

The second day was FULL of exploring! Throughout our trip I used the app Google Trips to save all the places we wanted to visit and then I could see where on the map they were in relation to one another and where we were. It made navigating the city incredibly easy and we blasted through our list. Just walking into and around the centre we had 'Award Winning Cornish Pasties' for brunch, purchased my weight in fudge at the San Francisco Fudge Factory and stopped by Charlotte Brunswick Chocolates for a nosey.

We visited the Abby which was so spiritual. While so many people were there with their cameras (myself too I might add), I felt such a desire for them all to be there worshipping God and our Saviour! I am happy that they are there at all however and hoped that they were able to leave with a sense of peace from the Holy Spirit. Churches from all faiths have a great sense of comfort and peace in their walls and I love visiting them in all different locations. A few of my favourites were in Sweden.

In the gift shop of the Abby I purchased a book with beautifully illustrated Bible quotes taken from many different Bible Translations (the one I use is the King James Version). It is such a shame that they are all trapped in the book but I am delighted in have it in our family home book collection and know that it will get lots of use over the coming years. I plan to scan some of the pages and use them as prints in our home.

Afterwards we went to visit the illustriousness Roman Baths. Again this was one of my trip highlights. It cost about £17 to get in but it was so informative and impressive. Walking around you have 'phone like' devices as an audio guide and I managed to sneak in a tour for a while. The place is massive and again felt very religious. It amazes me sometimes how society has lost the culture and heritage of faith. We learnt about the many pagan Gods they worshiped and saw an alter upon which they offered animal sacrifices. This I found incredibly interesting as they believe the Baths to have been constructed in approx 70AD which is after animal sacrifices would have ceased in the Christian community. Animal sacrifices acted as a form of repentance and a similitude to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, after His life, atonement in the Garden of Gethsemane, death and resurrection many Christians stopped this practice as it was a part of the Law of Moses. 

The baths were originally part public bath house (spa/bath/swimming pool) and part temple. It is one of the best preserved Roman remains in the world! The water contains 43 minerals and the Romans built tunnels for the water to travel through to create the facilities and harness their healing properties. Much of the Baths was similar to a museum with artefacts in glass cabinets and beautiful stone work. While walking through we saw sheets of lead with prayers or 'cruses' engraved which they would offer up to the Gods to inflict upon those who had wronged them (often stole their belongings while in the Baths). They would hire a scribe to write the curse/prayer incase they themselves made an error or used the wrong form of language and the Gods may not understand them. Again I found this incredibly interesting as surely with Gods being omniscient the way a prayer is written shouldn't matter as they would know the desire of your heart and what you mean to say.

Right at the end of the museum we had the opportunity to drink the water. It is believed to have health benefits but honestly tasted horrible! It was incredibly warm and metallic in flavour.

After playing with wooden swords in the gift shop we ate in The Pump Rooms. They were SO fancy. I love love love afternoon tea and hoped to indulge in some while we were there. The Pump Rooms was the most recommended and yet one of the more expensive options. The sandwiches didn't massively appeal to me but we were given a discount voucher with our Roman Baths tickets and decided to mix and match the menu. We opted for cream scones, the pastry selection and the selection of savoury treats. They brought the whole thing out of the proper afternoon tea plates (eeeek) and it was plenty of food. Not much different that the proper afternoon tea selection we could see on other tables. The room itself was amazing, with posh decor, portraiture hung on the walls and the 'Pump Room Trio' playing live classical music.

On our way out we found yet another fudge shop! This one offered vegan and dairy free options which is amazing!! I really didn't stick to my 80% plant based eating style on this trip and actually felt really sick on this particular evening. It's crazy how I can go from a typical diet including animal products to plant based and experience only positive effects, whereas when I try to go back to other way I feel physical pain even after one day!

We walked everywhere this whole trip and managed to cover pretty much everything in just one day! Our longest walk was up to the Royal Crescent, a row of 30 terrace houses designed by John Wood the younger in the 1700s. The crescent stretches 500 feet and faces a beautiful park view high above the centre of the city. It was so calm and beautiful. We also walked to the nearby 'The Circus' which is a smaller circular version designed by the same team.

The whole trip was pretty cold, when booking back in January I had hoped for one jacket and possibly being able to just wear a t-shirt occasionally but I ended up wrapped up in five layers!

On our walk back through the city centre to our Air BnB we came across another church with a touching 'Draw Near' inscription on the floor leading up to a door with a small sculpture depicting Moses, an angel and a snake. Which leads me to believe that it is in preference to the story when those who were sick from snake bites needed to look up a bronze snake on a pole to be healed. Many did not look because of the simplicity and ease of the act, they did not believe it would actually work and instead died. It is important to have faith to follow God, even in simple and small ways.

We also stopped by the Pulteney Bridge and Bernard of course bought ice cream :').

On our final day we packed up our bags and headed to Sally Lunn's Buns, another highly recommended location for our lunch.

'We are famous for the Bath delicacy the Sally Lunn Bun – the original Bath Bun. A lot of people get confused between the London Bath Bun [small, heavy and sweet] and a Sally Lunn Bun.

Actually the word bun is an unhelpful description. There is no truly useful common English word to describe a Sally Lunn Bun as it is part bun, part bread, part cake… A large and generous but very very light bun; a little like brioche/French festival bread….but traditionally it is a bun so, even if it isn’t really a bun, let’s call it a bun!'

The buns were massive!! You only get half with most of dishes and it's easy to see why. It really did taste sweet like brioche as they say above. The venue was so quaint and English and of course we had another cream scone before heading home. So painfully English! Haha.

Afterwards we collected our bags and took a train home to avoid the exhausting London commute home with suitcases on the tube during rush hour! We had a really lovely, rejuvenating time. I would love to live here (you know if our work industries existed in such a location and we didn't need to commute 1-2 hrs into work in London).

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