“Bath, it’s halfway.”
My high school friend and I have finally decided where to meet. We were to meet in London at first, but she studies in Exeter which is 4-5 hours away from London by train AND she had classes the next day, while I was eager to explore other cities. We both have never been to Bath (obviously, as it was my first time to England and hopefully won’t be the last) and it happens to be in the middle of London and Exeter, which was convenient for both of us. The time was set. The train ticket was bought (although I did have to get another ticket because I bought one with the wrong date..my clumsiness!).
The English can be pretty literal with names. Take Bath for example, it is an old spa town founded way way back in the 1st century AD. Bath and spa, you see where the name comes from? The Romans used the thermal bath as a retreat and the bathing complex was built over the next 300 years. I sometimes just couldn’t fathom how people managed to build such beautiful architecture at that time. It was just so advanced in so many ways! However as the water level rose and the Roman empire fell, the baths were neglected and lost.
Bath had been one of the largest cities in England during the 1880s before it got bamboozled by three air raids during World War 2, resulting in devastating loss. It had been through quite a lot for such a quaint city! It was then rebuilt, conserved and redeveloped before being selected as World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987. Yes, the entire city. As if that’s not cool enough, Jane Austen was a Bathonian. Okay, if that still doesn’t do it for you, the Saracen’s Head which is the oldest pub in Bath is frequented by Charles Dickens.
Unfortunately, you can no longer take a bath Roman-style but you can still visit the beautiful ruins of Roman Bath and enjoy an audio-guided tour, take a look at the lavish bath and the history it entailed. If you fancy a thermal spa and have extra bucks, hit the Thermae Bath Spa for a dip.
You can also make the most of your stay by taking a free walking tour of Bath. For better or worse, my friend and I enjoyed walking around so much that we ended up not taking the tour but I think you definitely should! For the literary-inclined, a visit to Jane Austen’s home may be a good use of your time. Walk through The Corridor, one of the world’s earliest retail arcades and home to interesting shops and cafes, or Walcot Street, dubbed as Bath’s artisan quarter where many independent shops and vintage stores stand next to each other. I wish we had more time to explore the street!
Bath is quite compact, so you can walk everywhere to get around. I also found the city to be enjoyable and beautiful. It makes for an easy and nice day trip from London as well, just around 1,5 hours by train. Unsurprisingly, time flew by, so I bid a quick goodbye to my friend and had to power walk my way to the train station to catch my train back to London. I couldn’t be late, it was my turn to cook Indonesian dinner for my friends!
By the next few days, my friend sent me a text that we should travel together. I think that’s got to do with endless Bath-related puns I threw at her but hey, I’m in!
Until next time,