Monday, May 20, 2013

(Official Post) To Bath

Mainly a travel day for Saturday, May 18.  We left Tenby and train hopped our way to Bath and arrived about 1:30 in the afternoon.  No problems with the trains except for our last one which was described by Grace as, "an oven."  If it had air conditioning it wasn't using it, and it made for an uncomfortable and sweaty ride.

After surviving this little ordeal to get to Bath, we made or way to the YMCA in town that will be our place of residents.  This is not a YMCA from back home where there is space to play outside and plenty of recreational areas.  There is a small gym which one must pay to use and that is pretty much it apart from a bunch of rooms, a pool and foose ball table, and a laundry room which you also have to pay to use.  This place is more of a hostel than anything else.  The city of Bath on the other hand is an interesting place to behold.  Due to the limestone used to build it, the buildings have a yellowish tan color to them and that goes for all the buildings.  Lots of traffic unless you can find the market streets which are pedestrian streets full of shops and pubs.

Once we put our luggage in our rooms we made our way to Bath Abbey to get a tour of the abbey by one of the local clergy.  He had a voice that would be great for getting little kids to fall asleep at bed time.  I believe he was wise to have us standing the whole time he gave the tour.  Despite that the history of the abbey was still interesting.  One of the highlights was that the abbey, when built, didn't have a roof built because it was too expensive.  That must of made rainy Sundays fun to have services in.  Thankfully it has a roof now thanks a couple centuries ago to a member of royalty stepping into the abbey to get out of the rain and finding himself still getting soaked.  He gave some money and ordered a roof be built after that.

When the tour of the abbey ended we then got a tour of the Abbey Tower.  We had two young guides for this one and they took us up the 216 steps to the top of the tower.  It wasn't all in one go, at 120 steps we stopped and our guides showed us the inside of the roof and the inside of the clock in the tower.  66 steps higher we got to see the bells in the tower and we were present when they tolled 4 o'clock.  Not as loud as I thought they'd be in the sense that we weren't made instantly deaf, but my ears were still ringing after the bells stopped.  We then completed the last 30 steps to the top and got a great view of the entire city and surrounding countryside.

We finally left the abbey and went to the Roman Baths.  These are authentic Roman baths that have been excavated and set up to show off to people.  We didn't go in them, just got to venture through the ruins of the old Roman bath houses and see how the actual baths looked.  We even got glimpses of the draining system the Romans built to keep the water clean.  The source of bath water was a hot spring that the Romans dedicated to Minerva, a goddess, and their drains allowed its watter to flow to the pools and baths, then drain to the nearby river.  Seeing the Roman architect up close really showed how skilled they were.  The fact their draining system is still mainly intact is proof of this. 

Our day pretty much ended after that.  Everyone separated to go eat and rest back at the YMCA.  Most of us ended the night watching Eurovision.  That is best described as an American Idol type show, only it is a representative of every European country participating and they don't only sing, but also have props, lights, and dancing to go with the songs.  The European countries also vote for the winner.  There were surprisingly a lot of songs sung in English and the country that won was Denmark.  It was a nice way to close out the day.  Trip now nearing its end and we will be home soon.

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