A Birthday Bath

No, I did not spend my birthday soaking in a bath.  Instead, I spent it soaking in the sites in historic Bath, England.

We were up early and headed to Paddington Station for the 90 minute train ride to Bath.  I am grateful we arrived early because we had an opportunity to enjoy the town before the hoards of people descended on the Christmas markets set up in the Abbey Square.  I’ve decided most Christmas markets are extremely over-rated as slate coasters, felt wreaths, strange tapestries, and carved wooden owls seem to always dominate.  I’m not sure who buys any of that stuff!

The air was crisp, cold, and clear. Our breath was as visible as the steam coming off the ancient Roman baths.  The Roman Baths are remarkably well preserved.  The ancient thermal bathing pool is still in tact with sulfurous waters bubbling up at over 100 degrees.  The Romans built a complex system of saunas, massage rooms, hot soaking pools, cold plunging pools, and they even developed heated floors!!  It is incredible that they had such “modern” amenities 2,000 years ago.  Essentially, Bath was an ancient Amangani.

Directly across the square was Bath Abbey, a beautiful Gothic church that manages to feel light and airy rather than dim and dreary.  Magnificent stained glass windows adorn floor to ceiling throughout; I felt as if we were in a kaleidoscope.  The interior walls are all white, so the contrast is spectacular.

Next we walked up the hill past hundreds of shops (and thousands of people) en route to the Fashion Museum.  This is one of the world’s leading collections of fashion with over 2,000 pieces on display.  Classic period dresses share space with contemporary designs.  Just past the girdles, gloves, and gowns, Jennifer Lopez’s notorious navel-baring chiffon green dress is on display.  Jackie asked why anyone would wear a “cover up” out in public.  She has a point.

After about 3 hours, we had reached our cultural limit, and we headed to lunch at Jamie Oliver’s Italian restaurant.  It felt good to escape the crowds and have a chance to spend time as a family.  In honor of my birthday, all arguments, complaints, and general discord were kept at a minimum….

…best gift I could ever ask for!!

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