Another view of the Roman Baths. The Romans, it turns out, were rather fastidious about personal hygiene (or, at the very least, frolicking about naked with each other). The water comes from thermal springs, and feels like, well, a warm bath.
Probably the best thing about this holiday was our complete lack of schedule or agenda, a situation which we doggedly maintained. We would wake up each morning, have a cup of coffee or tea and breakfast, then blearily think about what sights in Bath we hadn't seen yet and stagger our way towards those. When we got hungry, we ate (God bless the English pub lunch). And then, by the decree of any children in our party on any given day, we were required to make a visit to the biggest public playground I'd ever seen before the sun set at around 4 p.m. every afternoon.
Then the next day, we'd do it all again. Lather, rinse, repeat.
The people who were with us each day varied, but this sort of easy daily routine is what made our time at Bath truly feel like a vacation. And as you can see below, it made for some beautiful times.
The ornaments above were in the gift shop at the Roman Baths. The dudes in red on the right are Beefeaters (or "Yoeman Warders of Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London, and Members of the Sovereign's Body Guard of the Yoeman of the Guard Extraordinary," and that right there, my friends, is why no one calls them that and instead everyone calls them "Beefeaters"), but I couldn't figure out who the silver dudes on the left were, though I thought they bore a striking (if soft and plushy) resemblance to Mozart.
A quick Google search yesterday including the words "Mozart" and "Bath" turned up the Bath Mozartfest, the 20th anniversary of which ended the day we landed in town. Damn. We're going to have to go back, I guess.
Ah, yes, did I mention the English pub lunch? I don't even know how to begin to describe the English pub, except to say that it's not just an establishment, it's a right and proper culture. I can't think of anything that comes close in the United States (perhaps, to a tiny extent, the coffeehouse culture, but not really); however, suffice to say that the English pub is as important a part of an English community as, say, the post office, or the grocery store, or even the neighbourhood clinic. People refer to the pub closest to their homes as their "local," and they are the de facto place for meeting and socializing at any given time. Pubs serve beers and ales, obviously, as well as cider and sometimes to a lesser (and frankly, less-satisfactory) extent, wine; however, many of them often also serve food: nothing fancy, just "cheap and cheerful," as Marcus would say.
Anyway, the point is that anytime we felt hungry, it was easy to just stop in our tracks, look around, and find a pub nearby. The one above had that sweet little garden in the back for us to have our pints and burgers. Fantastic.
Above are my brother-in-law, Matt (Marcus' second-youngest sibling), and his very sweet wife, Dr. Helen. They live and work in nearby Bristol, and came into town almost every evening while we were in Bath to spend time with us. I adore them both.
Glorious trees in the Royal Victoria Park. We don't get much (read: any) brightly coloured fall foliage here in Houston, so when I see it, I have to snap it.
The Royal Victoria Park has this huge children's play area, to which Alex developed a huge attachment. She had fun on all of the equipment, but she especially loved the zipline.
Dear God, how she loved the zipline. The kid's fearless.
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Even more Bath stuff to come tomorrow, friends. But in the meantime, I was hoping you could do me a favour: I'm in the planning phases of updates and upgrades to Chookooloonks for 2012, and I put together a very short (I promise) survey. It should take you less than 5 minutes to complete: could I trouble you to share your thoughts with me? I'd be really grateful if you did.
And finally and incidentally, today is the last day of NaBloPoMo, the online challenge to post every day of November. And I officially did it! It was fun, and a great creative exercise in stretching myself, but starting tomorrow, we're back to our regular Monday-Friday schedule. As always, thanks for following along, friends.