Saturday, October 17, 2009

Trip to England - Part 10

Our day started out a viewing of 2 hot air balloons from our window!

Since we seem to be low on photos of Mom... This is in our lovely B&B waiting for our delicious breakfast!

Our first stop for the day was a tour of the Jane Austen Centre. We were waiting on the doorstep when they opened (much to their surprise! :-) ) and they let us tour the exhibits before they were officially open, due to our time constraint (we needed to make it to the Abbey for church at 11). I was not expecting much, since I already know a good bit about Jane and life in the early 1800s, but even I learned things from the exhibit!

Adorable children's clothing!

A very informative chart showing what different incomes supplied and meant socially. (I really hope this picture will be clickable, I don't know why some refuse to!)

Love this chemisette!

After the exhibit, we went upstairs for a short talk on the Austen family and Jane's visits to Bath. Since it was so early, there were only 2 other women in the talk besides the 2 of us. After her talk, our speaker asked if we had any questions. One of the women was an author who came to Bath so she could research her book. She wondered what drew people to the Jane Austen Festival and the speaker offered her opinion. The speaker also mentioned (with a tone of incredulity) that "there are even some people who have been preparing for their trip here for 6 months and have come from as far away as Illinois!!!"! LOL! I kid you not! Mom and I burst out laughing and explained that we must have been the people she was talking about, as that description was us to a "T"! Just when you begin to think that you're not the biggest weirdo out there, too....

After looking through the gift shop (well, and buying things too! you can't expect us to just look without making a purchase, can you?!?), we headed to Bath Abbey. The service was nice, although the theology was not in line with ours (imagine that!) and the Matins were not as good as Westminster's... Oh dear, I think I'm turning into a cathedral snob!

The front of Bath Abbey is well known for its unusual front depicting Jacob's ladder. Personally, I thought it looked kind of odd, so we didn't take a picture of it... ;-)

The Agnews also happened to be at Bath Abbey, and while we were talking, we found out that they were in Westminster Abbey for the same exact service we were! Weird! After planning to meet for tea later, we went back up to the Crescent to tour No. 1 Royal Crescent, a restored Georgian townhouse. They have 4 rooms on display (not counting the kitchen and lovely stairway!), each filled with antique furniture, paintings, and everyday items (books, hairbrushes, etc.). It was very nice, but unfortunately we didn't get any pictures except this one of the staircase:

You can just glimpse a corner of the sedan chair stored under the stairs.

For tea, Mom and I had been planning to go to the Pump Room, since it is such a lovely place and there's something about taking tea in a historical room (and where one of our favorite movies was filmed!) with live classical music that appealed to us. :-) Providentially, the Agnews had the same plans, since tea at the Pump Room comes dear!

L to R: me, Katy, Amber, Mrs. Agnew, Rob, and Jaclyn

We had a very delightful tea, with such wonderful company! We were very blessed to find such kindred spirits and can't wait to see them again in March! :-)

Of course, no trip to the Pump Room would be complete without "taking the waters"! As much as everyone complains about the horrid taste, it honestly wasn't that bad! In fact, it tasted about like our water here at home... When we told Dad that, he decided it was time to call a water expert.

Yes, there is an ugly sign in the middle of the picture.....

That's better!

The Pump Room - the atmosphere was lovely!

The entrance to the Roman Baths

Not too shabby!

The main bath and best surviving one. Yes, the water is green; that's caused by algae growth due to sunlight. In Roman times, there was a roof on the entire building, so they didn't have that problem.

The one thing I was most surprised by at the Roman Baths was the fact that in roman times, there was a huge complex of baths, not just this one. It was just like you read about in books about roman times. For some reason, I thought that since this was out in the middle of nowhere (as opposed to Rome), they would only have made a "mini-bath". Not so! There was even a temple on the site. Due to the records and artifacts found, it looks like Bath was a popular place and drew many visitors, even in the AD 60s! When we started on our tour, I thought the only thing to do would be to walk around the main bath and taste the water. Reality: walking under the Pump Room looking at amazingly well-preserved sculptures, tile floors, part of the temple site, and the remains of the "frigidarium", hot bath, and several other baths! The tour was very informative and interesting, well worth the time and money; I would recommend it to everyone going to Bath! The amount of roman history in a city that looks no older than 500 years was mind-boggling!

This is to show how close the Baths are to the Abbey. I was amazed at the little distance that separated them! Not surprisingly then, there is evidence that the Abbey was built on top of some of the buildings in the roman bath complex.

Roman mosaics

The head piece for a pediment on one of the buildings

A very neat display showing where the spring comes up and how the Romans channeled the water through the complex and into aqueducts.

This is where the spring comes up, the water bubbles on the surface are caused from gases trapped in the water. Yuck! Glad I didn't know that before I drank it!! The water line halfway up the walls shows where the water level was in medieval times. The monks would bring invalids to the baths for healing. In the Roman and Georgian times, the water was the same level it is now.

Just in case you forgot what I look like....

Outside the Pump Room. Lovely, isn't it?

Persuasion fans will also recognize this! :-)

This picture was really for the Pump Room sign, but I just noticed that there is another hot air balloon in it! The weather was delightful!

In the above picture, you can also see Aurora and some other costumed ladies coming out of the Pump Room. We all gathered for a group picture, but as we were taking our pictures we were suddenly surrounded by TONS of tourists wanting to get our picture, too. That was fine, except that there were so many of them! After a minute or two of constant pictures from our adoring mob, I decided that we needed a picture of them. So, I ran off to the side to snap a few pictures of all of them (well, and get out of the pictures, too... ;-) ).

This wasn't even close to half of them!

In this picture, you can see what happened to me next. Yes, that woman is taking a picture of me taking a picture of her...! Soon, I had tourists flocking over to take pictures with me. So much for getting out of the pictures....

Back in the main group, it was very common for one tourist to have his picture taken with the whole group. The only problem came in when another tourist tried to get in the picture too; tourist #1 would then resort to scolding and angrily motioning for #2 to leave!! LOL!

After 10 minutes, (I'm serious; this was the worst I have EVER seen!) we were finally able to extricate ourselves and all enjoyed a good long laugh. :-)

Next up: Lacock Village (the last post!)


  1. Your mamma (say that with an English accent please) looks so relaxed and charming in that picture!

    The income chart is clickable - I enjoyed reading that and it may come in useful if I ever write a regency book...

    What movie was filmed at the Pump Room?? Tara and I were trying to think and could only come up with possibly Amazing Grace?

    That is SO funny about the tourists!!

  2. HA HA! Well, you look so pretty, how could the tourists NOT take your picture?

  3. I have so enjoyed reading your posts Lily! It was absolutley lovely to meet you two in Bath! As strange as it may sound, considering how little time we actually spent together, I miss you both a lot! I hope we can meet soon again!

  4. Kathryn,

    Persuasion (1995 version) was filming in the Pump Room. The Agnews also mentioned that they recognized it from Amazing Grace; it has been so long since I've seen that, I think it's time to watch it again!


  5. Lovely post! I remember those tourists, it was quite funny and a bit embarrassing. I had a similar experience at the Royal Crescent for the official festival picnic on Saturday, but thankfully there were less tourists, lol!

    I also like how your low-light pictures turned out so nicely! I used my phone instead of my full camera, so the entrance to the Baths, for example, didn't turn out quite as well.

    So many memories! :D