|Shops, including a very fine ice cream shop, line either side of the bridge|
|Bath Abbey aglow in the sun|
|Sally Lunn's shop dating from 1680|
I had a hugely enjoyable first day in Bath hanging out with my friend and her three lovely children. Catching up on news we wandered the streets, admiring the timeless architecture, slurping on ice creams, visiting the original Sally Lunn's shop and marveling at the devils and angels on the carved stone ladders fronting Bath Abbey. The warm sun shining on the Cotswold stone gave the whole city a golden glow. All too soon, though, it was time for Sarah and her family to leave for home so I climbed the hill up through town to check into my delightful hotel, The Queensberry.
|The timeless view from my hotel room|
|Bust of Goddess Sulis Minerva, Roman Baths|
HINT: go to the Roman Baths very late in the day (check opening times, they change with the seasons) by then the day trippers have gone and other tourists are at dinner.
To complete a fantastic day I treated myself to a fig and honey julep cocktail in the hotel bar. The view from my room looked over Georgian Houses and chimney pots with a mellow moon gleaming over all. So romantic, so story book, so unchanged for hundreds of years. I tried to capture it in a photo, unsuccessfully, sadly.
|Inside the Roman Baths|
I was up early next morning, had breakfast at The Olive Tree, the fine, highly rated restaurant at the hotel and then off for a walk around the famous Royal Crescent, the Circus and up and down picturesque lanes. With no cars, no people and my vivid imaginings of how it would have been in Jane's day, I was perfectly content despite the change in the weather to cold and blustery. Next stop was the Jane Austen Centre for a short film and a tour with an excellent guide. I thought I knew most things about Jane but I learnt a lot more like the fact that that the only, and well known, portrait of Jane was done by her sister, Cassandra, and was said by everyone at the time to look nothing like Jane. As a lover of old costumes and clothing it was a pleasure to see original garments from Georgian times. It was early in the day and there were only two other people on the tour, New Zealanders!, we're everywhere!
The elegant, Georgian, Royal Crescent overlooking the town
Next stops were the very grand Assembly Rooms with their magnificent crystal chandeliers and Bath Abbey, where I was lucky enough to catch the choir rehearsing.
|Video of the choir rehearsing at Bath Abbey - excuse the quality.|
I poked my nose into the Pump Room, mentioned in Jane's novels as a place for high society to meet, gather, gossip and flirt. Nowadays people seem to prefer to take tea from silver tea sets placed on starched white tablecloths than to sip on the sulphurous mineral waters but other than that not much has changed. Very elegant indeed.
|Inside the Georgian Assembly Rooms|
|The Gin Bar - dark windows on right|
I know now that I will go to Bath any chance I get. It is a beautiful place and I understand how my husband was bewitched by it. Revisiting did not disappoint.
HINT: Spend a night or more there to have at least some time without the countless bus loads of day trippers.