One day during our visit to England, all of the siblings and spouses had a special time together in Bath, England. We caught a train to Bath from Swindon. It was fun to travel by train again, after not having done so in years. The train cars were cushy and the countryside was scenic as it sped by.
Once in Bath, we walked to the Roman Baths that are the primary reason there is a Bath, England to visit today. On our way, we admired a falcon who was with a falconer on the sidewalk. Apparently, the falcon’s job is to scare seagulls away from touristy areas.
The tour of the Roman Baths was excellent. The ruins were interesting to look at. There were plenty of exhibits to fill in historical information to help you understand what you were looking at. There was an excellent audio tour that allowed you to pick and choose which items and areas you wanted to hear more about and further filled in the history of the place.
The Romans thought the hot spring was pretty special when they invaded the area, and they built a huge bathing complex and temple there that was unlike anything outside of Italy. The bathing complex is centered around the largest pool, which is green with algae because it’s now exposed to the sunlight. When it was in use by the Romans, it was enclosed in an impressively large building. My favorite factoid was that the big Roman bath area was lost to history until someone in the 18th century decided to investigate why their basement always had flooding problems. It turned out that there was an ancient pool down there!
You can also see the area where the Roman temple was located. A central point within the temple complex was a statue of the goddess Sulis Minerva. You can view a guilt bronze head depicting her and the carved gorgon head that once adorned the temple pediment. There is also a large collection of coins that people tossed into the temple’s hot spring and a collection of curse tablets that people threw in as well. The curse tables asked Sulis Minerva to dole out justice to wrongdoers like thieves who stole someone’s cloak while they were bathing.
After our tour of the Roman Baths, we all got to experience baths for ourselves at the Thermae Bath Spa. This spa boasts that you will experience the same water as the Celts and the Romans–but now you can do it while floating on pool noodles in jacuzzi-style bubbles and water jets. The water was warmed to around 92 degrees and was only about 4 feet deep, just like the Romans would have done it. There was a big pool on the lowest level and a smaller, open-air pool located on the roof with panoramic views of the city of Bath. There were some somewhat gimmicky “state-of-the-art spa experiences” on another floor that mixed heavy aromatherapy with combinations of hot, cold, moist, and dry. It was really over the top, but also incredibly relaxing.
The two experiences, the Roman ruins followed by the present day spa, combined to create the perfect experience of Bath.