Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Two Days in Bath

I should warn ahead of time that I have now fallen a week behind in blogging and as a result, the first few entries from here on may not be as captivating as those previous (if those were at all) since it is hard to recall everything, due to each day being so heavily schedule (a good thing).
I last left off on Tuesday, the 7th. The next day we left Harlaxton around 8 a.m. for Bath, a city located in southwest England. Taking a charter bus, we had about a five-hour drive yet due to a law here in England that requires a break for bus drivers after a certain amount of driving, we stopped briefly in Stratford-Upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare. While there, we visited the church in which he is buried along with a number of his family members and also walked by the supposed “birthplace” of W.S. though as Dr. Sylvia reminded us, it is unlikely that anyone knew the actual cottage he was born in and that what we were seeing was more than likely a tourist trap of sorts. Nonetheless, it was an incredibly unique experience. Shortly after visiting these two spots, Ben and I stopped into a used bookstore. They had one shelf titled, “Local authors”. It wasn’t until I started looking at the titles did I make the connection that this was the only time I had ever witnessed a such a section comprising almost entirely of Shakespeare’s works. After purchasing a leather bookmark (inspired by Ben’s decision to) and the irony, I broke off and found a small café to sit in until our coach was ready to leave. It is worth mentioning here that since coming to England, I have fallen in love with an espresso beverage called a flat white. It is similar to a cappuccino but creamier. In fact, as I type this blog I am enjoying one at a Costa Café near Windermere.
Continuing, we left Stratford-Upon-Avon and proceeded on toward Bath. By two o’clock, we arrived and checked in to our B & B, the Brooks. After settling in, I grabbed the complimentary city map from our room and made my way into the city. The city of Bath was significant to our class because of Jane Austen’s stay there and the inspiration provided for her last novel, “Persuasion.” I walked up and past Queen’s Square in search of the tourist information center. After ten or so minutes I arrived. My main reason for searching it out was to ask about a good phone retailer since I wanted to get a cheap cell phone as well as inquire into the Roman Baths, a very popular attraction that is imbued with some rich Roman history (dating back to 52 b.c.-if I recall correctly-whenever they invaded). After a very helpful and informative talk, I headed towards a cell phone provider called Orange. I stopped in and got a cheap cellphone with 50 minutes and then headed to the Roman Baths, a very very old Roman site that dats back to the first Roman invasion (57 b.c.?). The tour lasted about three hours. Afterwards I headed back to our B & B to get ready for dinner. We didn’t have any formal plans but I was expecting to see Ben and a few of the others and then go from there. When I got back though I didn’t see any of my peers. As I was searching throughout the B & B, I came across my professors who, upon my asking if they had seen any of the other students and their saying no, invited me to accompany them for dinner. We ended up going to a small traditional English pub that also served food. We had a few drinks and some great food, making for a really enjoyable evening. Afterwards, we returned to the B & B and ran into the rest of the group who had also just gotten back from dinner. We all decided on going out to the pubs and soon got dressed to do so. That night we went out to a club a few of the other students were at. We had a few drinks and then returned back to Brooks, but not before grabbing some fast food at a Mr. D’s. With our stomachs full, we were all ready for bed.
            The next day we were all to meet up around 12 p.m. at the Jane Austen Museum. I awoke around 9, showered, and then set off for the city center in search of a good café. With no scarcity of cafes, I soon found one with a great view of the Roman Baths I had visited the day before. After a few hours of booking both a b & b and transportation for the following weekend, I headed back to the outskirts of the center to the museum.
            I arrived and soon after, the rest of the group showed up and we all entered. Inside, we walked throughout, observing various displays and then given a guided tour throughout Bathe that comprised mainly of its relevance to Austen. Following the tour, we sat down to a proper English Tea and had a few pastries along with it.
After our tea, we headed back to our b & b. I took a nap and then a small group of us went to get dinner at a local restaurant recommended by Dr. Sylvia. As our last meal in Bath, it exceeded expectations, providing great food and drink. Thereafter, everyone went back to Brooks except Luke and I. We decided to go in search of a good pub for a few drinks. After about a half an hour, we turned the corner onto the high street and found one that had open mic night. Once inside, we had a couple beers, all while I was antagonizing Luke to go up and play a song. After one of the songs, Luke jumped up and walked confidently towards the stage. He asked the guy in charge if he could play, to which the man replied happily by handing over his guitar to Luke, who then sat down and started to actually play in front of his first British audience. He finished his song and received a warm applause, I leading with a whistle and a shout. We finished our beer and then walked back to the b & b and then fell asleep.
I awoke the next morning, showered, and grabbed breakfast. The group went back to Harlaxton while I set off on foot for the train station to depart to my next weekend destination, which provides a great segue to my next blog, soon to come, I promise. (Pictures will soon be posted too!)

1 comment:

  1. An exciting venture, the flat white sounds really good. So cool, William Shakespear, you must feel you are back in time. I so enjoy your blogs, I am so there with every entry. Go English audience. I always look forward to your blogs. Thank you! You still owe me a trip to Italy...just encase you didn't know that! Illinois is enjoying your journey. Pa is getting into it too. Your great Uncle, a retired History teacher is so enjoying your blog. Be safe, have fun! We all love and miss you!

    Mom and the crew