Friday, August 2, 2013

BritLit - How to vacation like a Roman


   Pack your toga and ride your chariot to Aquae Sulis (or rather Bath, England). Be sure to say Bath with a "short o" like "box" or everyone will know you are a tourist! 

Relaxing in the city
     Here you get a double whammy - Roman Baths AND the modern city of Bath. People have been drawn there for the climate. If every you want your skin to feel 10 years younger, this is the place. There's just a general steamy feeling to the air and the city is so quiet and relaxing. The buildings are pretty much the same, but each owner adds their own planters with geraniums or favorite flower. The shops aren't crowded and the people are so nice. 

     We met this handsome gent at the Jane Austen center.....oh and this one, too. He says he wants them to make an "I love Lizzy" pin!
Like many others, Jane Austen moved to Bath when she became ill later in life. 

     To the Roman Bath's. This place feels like you are traveling back in time. They built an elaborate spa-complex over this natural hot spring - with plumbing even. There was a steam room with an elevated floor where they pumped the steam in to the stacks of hot rocks. They even had an exercise room and an altar. The main attraction was the big rectangular pool, but you could go to the circular indoor cold pool too. We have hot springs in Montana, and I kept wondering why it didn't smell like sulfur? I mean it is bright green and all. Oh, an in case you are wondering - no, you cannot touch the water. There's some killer amoeba in there since it's been out of use for so long!

Steamroom floor
     Believe it or not, they even filtered some of the fresh hot spring water and hooked it up to a fountain. Let me tell you, it tastes like you are drinking out of a copper cup - yuk! 

Oh, and for those inquiring minds....THIS is how they kept those toga's on.......


      In the young adult novel by Philip Reeve, Here Lies Arthur, the character Bedwyr (Lancelot) has an affair with Gwenhwyfar (Guinevere), stealing away to the old Bath complex. Philip Reeve sets the scene as a smelly, abandoned, vine-covered building, but when Arthur discovers them hiding - he loses it!  
We'll visit the settings for Here Lies Arthur a few more times next week.