04 September, 2012

Cotswold:Day 14 Bath

This was the sky we saw everyday. Rain, rain and more rain.

The last day of our trip.  Debby dropped us off in front of the Railway station. It is the only railway station I've encountered that has nothing but trains inside. Sounds ridiculous I know, but what I mean is there were no shops, only a place to buy tickets. Dick and I disagreed on how to get to Heathrow, but that is another story.

Our hotel was three blocks away. The Parade Park Hotel on North Park.  It was an okay hotel, big enough with a nice breakfast. We didn't expect much to eat in the morning, because they advertised a continental breakfast, but there were eggs, fruit, cereal and many other things. So we were happy.

In the morning we took a bus tour, something we seldom do. But I was glad we did, because the guide did NOT talk about the churches, (how many can you see and talk about?). She talked about Bath when it was the aristocratic social center of England during the 18th Century. The king and his court spent time here to take baths and other aristocrats followed them. Hangers on, so to speak.

Bath is not a big city, you can walk from one end to the other in about 15 minutes. However the aristocracy used to hire sedan chairs to carry them to the baths. I guess they thought the streets were too dirty for them to walk on. And to be fair, all the streets were covered with sheep shit, horse apples, cow pies and other forms of manure.  They spent 3 hours lounging around in the mineral water and the sedan chair picked them up and carried them back.  For those who have never heard of a sedan chair, it is a chair carried on two poles and four men carry it.

Then they went out to TEA, which can mean tea, dinner, supper, lunch or any other eating occasion. Of course, if they sat outside, the plaza where they sat would have to be built up off the road so they would not get any dirt from the street and they could watch the non aristocrats walk by. In the evening there were balls to attend and gossip about the people there, their character, their clothes, their hairdos, etc.  

One has to remember that these people did not work! Peasants worked their estates, and servants kept their houses clean. They spent most of their time sticking their very aristocratic noses up each others very aristocratic arses. It is no wonder that they lost favor with the general populace.

 Jane Austen lived during this time and she wrote about the society in her book "Northanger Abbey." I decided to read it and so far find it utterly boring.

One of the interesting stories the guide told us was about the Macaronis, a picture which you can find on this link. 

These were effeminate men, who dressed in outrageous clothes and outrageous colors. They had very high hairdos and hats so high it took a sword to remove them.

We took a stroll through the Roman Baths.
I especially enjoyed the green water and the purveying smell of sulfur. It is amazing, however, that these baths still exist and in the great condition they are. 

The last thing we did was go to Sally Lunn's.
The building was built in 1482 and Sally was a French woman who opened this tea shoppe in 1680.  She had a specific kind of bun which she served as a meal or desert, depending on whether it had savory or sweet fillings. We had the savory bun. Then we left for the bus.

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