Bath (May 13)

Much time spent reading romances from the 19th century meant we had to visit Bath. Unfortunately, the Prince Regent decided early in his regency that the sea was more beneficial to one’s health than the mineral waters in the Roman Baths and he moved his followers to Brighton. That began the decline of Bath. We took a hop-on hop-off bus around the city which allowed us to see some of the sites familiar from the books.

We learned that the Romans gave their rivers different names and assumed everyone else did also. Therefore, when they asked the name of the river in Bath, they were told Avon, which is actually the word for river in the Celtic language spoken in Britain prior to the Romans. So, the Avon River is the River River.

At the age of 11, prior to becoming queen, Victoria visited Bath to open the Royal Victoria Park. Apparently, she did a nice job but someone wrote in the paper the next day that her clothes were “gaudy”. She was so offended that she vowed never to visit Bath again and she never did. Returning to London from a visit to Bristol, 62 years into her reign, she would not allow travel near Bath saying she did not want to see the people of Bath nor allow them to see her. Guess you don’t want to offend royalty!

Bath Abbey is pretty impressive and is just across from the Avon which is also impressive.

Jolly’s is one of the oldest department stores in Europe, begun here in 1823. It stretches more than a block.

The Circus is a historic ring of large townhouses forming a circle with three entrances, built between 1754 and 1769, and regarded as a pre-eminent example of Georgian architecture.

The Royal Crescent is a row of 30 Terrance’s houses laid out in a crescent built between 1767 and 1774 and also among the greatest examples of Georgian architecture. This was as close as our bus was allowed to get. It overlooks the Royal Victoria Park.

This is a huge park (57 acres) with one of the largest, most diverse children’s playgrounds we have ever seen. It also includes a skateboard ramp, tennis, bowling and putting greens, and 12 and 18 hole golf courses, and a botanical garden. Seasonal attractions include carnival fairs, open-air concerts, etc.

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