Bath – Thermal Spa

Opportunities to sink into a thermal bath do not come along often. At least not in our world. When we booked our trip to Bath, we both knew that a trip to the thermal spa was a must.

Branded as Thermae Bath Spa, the spa uses the heated ground water to fill pools and saunas. As with all commercialised natural spas, claims are made that the high mineral content benefits bathers.

Thermae Bath Spa
Thermae Bath Spa
Signage showing the floors of the spa in Bath
Signage showing the floors of the spa in Bath

We tried to justify the expensive in many different ways but the simple reasoning of it being unlikely we will return to Bath again was enough.

The thermal spa was enjoyable but not the overwhelmingly luxurious experience I hoped for. If I lived locally, we would not rush to return. It would be something suggested to guests.

No photos were allowed inside and I have no intention of risking my camera in such a wet environment. What photos I have are of the outside of the complex.

Modern signage for the spa
Modern signage for the spa
"Roman Bath" carved into the Bath stone
“Roman Bath” carved into the Bath stone

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Bath

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.

Stone archway
Stone archway
Bath Cathedral
Bath Cathedral
Bath Cathedral
Bath Cathedral
Seats surround a square between the cathedral and Roman spa
Seats surround a square between the cathedral and Roman spa
Water fountain and modern roundabout
Water fountain and modern roundabout
The Holburne Museum
The Holburne Museum
The Holburne Museum
The Holburne Museum
Grand streets of stone houses
Grand streets of stone houses
River before Pulteney Bridge
River before Pulteney Bridge
The Weir
The Weir

Pulteney Bridge

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.

Looking across Pulteney Bridge
Looking across Pulteney Bridge
Shops along Pulteney Bridge
Shops along Pulteney Bridge
Pulteney Bridge at night
Pulteney Bridge at night

Carved Stone

Everywhere is carved stone. Older streets have their names carved in stone. Modern signage has been added but the original names remain.

Carved street name
Carved street name
Carved name above a passageway
Carved name above a passageway
Carved plinth details
Carved plinth details
Carved plinth details
Carved plinth details

Below Street Housing

I most strongly associate below street level housing with Edinburgh. Another city built on hills and steep inclines.

Houses built along an incline
Houses built along an incline
Street level front door
Street level front door
Below street level housing
Below street level housing

Bridges

We stayed along the river and our walk into the centre was along with river.

Bridge with Bath extending onto the hills beyond
Bridge with Bath extending onto the hills beyond
Church of St John
Church of St John
Train passing over a bridge
Train passing over a bridge

Stepping Aside

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.

Less touristy side of Pulteney Bridge
Less touristy side of Pulteney Bridge
Tunnel under the train station
Tunnel under the train station
Bridges old and more modern
Bridges old and more modern

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Filming La Fête nationale

Getting great photos at night is a challenge. We have tried before and the number of good shots to blurred is heart breaking.

When still images fail, I turn to taking footage. Experience has taught me that footage turns out better in low light, with fast motion, or in difficult situations.

Previously, I would have gone to the fireworks planning to film the entire event. A complete record of the show. Proud in knowing I captured every moment.

Today, I feel that completionist approach acts a good record but is rarely entertaining for others to watch – or even for myself to re-watch.

Lyon’s fireworks tend to run on for a while. The show lasts about 20 minutes and it has felt longer. The city could get away with a much shorter show.

Last night I took my footage, as usual, and decided to edit something together before bed. It was a late night.

On reviewing the short film of Lyon’s La Fête nationale firework show this morning, I felt it a not too bad a sample of the evening.

Short, snappy, and a taster of the event.

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La Fête nationale in Lyon

Yesterday, France celebrated it’s national day, La Fête nationale. Also known as Le quatorze juillet and, in English, Bastille Day.

This was our third year celebrating the day in Lyon. We knew where to go and where to expect crowds. The best view of the fireworks is along the east shore of river Saône.

The crowds felt less in number this year. We had room to walk around and generally the atmosphere was good.

If we are still in Lyon next year, I suspect we will try for a picnic on the bank of the river Rhône. The area seemed calmer, more relaxed, and more festive that the amped river Saône crowd.

Bridge spanning the river Rhône in Lyon.
Bridge spanning the river Rhône in Lyon.
Man plays music to the crowds.
Man plays music to the crowds.
Rotisserie chickens wait to be bought.
Rotisserie chickens wait to be bought.
Looking up to the Basilica from Lyon's city centre.
Looking up to the Basilica from Lyon’s city centre.
Police watch the crowds and traffic.
Police watch the crowds and traffic.
Musicians entertain the passing crowds.
Musicians entertain the passing crowds.
Lyon's Basilica remains illuminated until the fireworks begin.
Lyon’s Basilica remains illuminated until the fireworks begin.
Crowds wait for the fireworks.
Crowds wait for the fireworks.
Fireworks explode over the Lyon skyline.
Fireworks explode over the Lyon skyline.
Fireworks explode over the Lyon skyline.
Fireworks explode over the Lyon skyline.
The Basilica's illumination is synchronised with the show.
The Basilica’s illumination is synchronised with the show.
Fireworks explode over the Lyon skyline.
Fireworks explode over the Lyon skyline.
After the fireworks, France's flag colours are projected onto the Halls of Justice.
After the fireworks, France’s flag colours are projected onto the Halls of Justice.

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Bath – Little Details

We visited Bath a few days before Christmas and saw the town during the shortest days of the year.

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.

Big Belly Bins - solar powered compacting bins
Big Belly Bins – solar powered compacting bins

Travel Lodge

We stayed in the Travelodge near the train station. This was our first Travelodge and it made a good impression.

Bath Spa Travelodge near the railway station
Bath Spa Travelodge near the railway station

Church School

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.

Decorative metalwork on the school's roof
Decorative metalwork on the school’s roof
Detail of a roof decoration
Detail of a roof decoration
Detail of a roof decoration
Detail of a roof decoration

Water Control

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.

River flow control in Bath
River flow control in Bath

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