Day 16: Bath



     Today we said our goodbyes to Stratford Upon Avon. As we went our separate ways with Stratford, we looked forward to a new adventure. That adventure is the city of Bath. We made our journey by train. Three trains, two switches, no issues. Our trip went as smoothly as could be imagined. Yesterday (flashback mode) we were given the choice to take a longer trip but with seat reservations. We said no; we would take our chances to find seats on a faster route with less switches. This turned out to be a wise decision, as everyone was able to find a place to sit. Today marks the first day that we have not stayed in a YHA. Instead, we are in a YMCA. Anyway, back to Bath. Mythically named after the Roman Bladud, Bath has a strong connection to the past. We explored a part of this connection today at the Roman baths. For the uninitiated, the Romans treated bathing as a respected ritual. There were different rooms for different purposes. A room would help you to acclimate to the heat. The next would allow you to swim. In one room, you could get an oil massage. The oil was then scraped off and sold (gladiator oil fetched a heavy price). This was used for facial scrubs, perfumes, and other uses considered odd by the standards of today. We had the opportunity to see the the pools themselves. The pools are overlooked by a series of statues, including one of Julius Caesar. The pools are fed through a natural spring. The water from this was (and by some, still is) considered to have healing properties. To get the full effect, the water should be used for bathing and drinking. Visitors are not allowed to get in the pools, so bathing is out. Everyone in our group did get a chance to drink the water, though. Frabjous day! We all got to feel the healing powers of the springs. Most people in our group thought the water tasted odd. So it goes. For the amount of moisture in contact with the structures (with the springs and the rainy English atmosphere), they are in remarkably good shape. It is also worth noting that a variety of artifacts were discovered at the baths and are currently on display. Notable among these are thousands of coins. There are that many and more modern coins in the pools now, thrown in by tourists. Another interesting sight is a stone gorgon. The gorgon is a standard mythological creature in Roman myth. It has snakes as hair ( think Medusa). This one is unusual, however, as the gorgon is depicted as male. For any that are interested, the baths are dedicated to Minerva. Eventually, we left the baths. For any who have that it rains a lot in England, this is true. Today was no exception. It rain on and off for most of today. It rained a bit harder especially for us when we made our way to our next destination. Continued in part two…


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