Bath is a city made of limestone. Everywhere you look buildings of beautifully carved stone line the streets.
Bath is an historically wealthy city in the United Kingdom. The thermal springs below ensured the city’s notability and prosperity over time. That in turn has led an assortment of grandiose architecture and adorned vistas.
We visited in winter. The sky was overcast and the sun lacking. On the positive side, the tourist numbers were low and we could spend the entire day wandering without overheating.
The United Kingdom does not have many built-upon bridges but Bath is home to one. Pulteney Bridge is a bridge lined with shops. Walking across you would be forgiven for not realising the bridge existed. The shops continue unbroken with only their relative high giving away the shift from land to water back to land.
Everywhere is carved stone. Older streets have their names carved in stone. Modern signage has been added but the original names remain.
Below Street Housing
I most strongly associate below street level housing with Edinburgh. Another city built on hills and steep inclines.
We stayed along the river and our walk into the centre was along with river.
Not all of Bath is a held back in the past. Walk a little of the tourist routes and the city inhabited by the local population appears. Modern, sometimes grimy, lived in buildings and locations that help ground the place in reality.
The shorter days of the United Kingdom winter are always a shock. At 4:30pm the sun is gone and we have to fight the desire to retreat back to our hotel for the night.
Despite the battle with the limited hours of sun, we made the most of our few days in Bath.
We treated ourselves to a dip in the thermal springs and visited the various museums.
Big Belly Bins
I noticed a few of the bins around the town had built in solar compactors. Reasonably normal looking bins, that claimed to include solar powered compactors to crush down any rubbish thrown away. Sadly, I did not get to see or hear them in action. I wonder if they are loud and how effective they are.
We stayed in the Travelodge near the train station. This was our first Travelodge and it made a good impression.
On the walk from the hotel into town, I noticed ventilation pipes on top of a church primary school had wonderfully decorations. Each different and an extra detail that helped make the building feel less utilitarian.
Our walk along the river into the town also passed by a large water barrier. While not pretty, it is impressive and I would love to have seen it change position.
It is easy to overlook your own country. Everywhere else feels more worthy, more exotic, and less predictable. But these are assumptions and prejudices that do not hold up to reason. On visiting more the United Kingdom, I have come to realise many of the cities and locations I know more by stereotyped reputation than fact, are actually fun destinations.
Our travels are not adventurous. We are picking easy towns and cities to visit based on their train lines and general proximity to each other. Our visits to Manchester and Liverpool made sense; they are right next to each other. The same with our Scottish destinations. Little clusters of places where we can spend a night or two and then move on.
Last week we booked our flights for Christmas and again need to think about where to visit beforehand. We have a few days to play with. London is again a possibility – the city calls out to us. But we should also see somewhere new, somewhere unexpected, somewhere without expectations.