georgian bath, roman bath


Bath has to be the most beautiful city in England. It is like a sliver of Europe with all its Baroque and Palladian splendour, but imbued with the elegance of the Georgian period—the reigns of the kings George I, George II, George III and George IV (1714-1830).

The weather was lovely. When you live in London, half your conversations end up revolving around the weather! But having blue skies and clear breezes is seen as something of a good sign. 😀

What do I say about Bath? I won’t go into the histories or the architects. There’s loads of it on the net. What rather came across, at least for me, was the lifestyle it represented. It echoes a period that Jane Austen revelled in writing about. The mornings spent drinking the spring waters which were believed to cure all kinds of illnesses, the corridors one went shopping in where musicians entertained, and come evenings, everyone’s flocking to the Assembly Rooms to play cards, drink coffee and do some ball room dancing. And exactly at 11 pm everyone left for their apartments to start the cycle again the next day. Funnily enough, they never ever got bored of it. It was the centre of fashionable life in England during the 18th Century or until Brighton took over.

This whole routine was, in typical English style, run on well oiled wheels. Subscriptions were collected, and each day planned as a social event where a selected 500 or so people that made up the centre of Bath society partook in the activities supervised by a Master of Ceremonies. The most famous of these MC’s was Beau Nash aka Richard Nash who carried out these self-appointed duties for nearly six decades (1704-62). He match-made, regulated the gambling, escorted unaccompanied wives and even paid for the musicians.

The elegance of 18th Century Georgian architecture …
… the grandeur of the 15th Century Abbey …

Built completely using the local honey-coloured limestone, the heart of Bath, then and even now, is its square facing the Abbey. Just next to it, the Pulteney Bridge is straight out of Italy, a mix of the Rialto and Ponte Vecchio. I went to the Abbey during lunch time, and then wandered around the Circus, Royal Crescent and Assembly Rooms to finally visit the 2,000-year-old Roman Baths which are below ground level, near intact, right under the Georgian baths. They are eerily fantastic. I swear I could hear the voices of people from down the millennia embedded in the stone pillars. And yes, I did have a glass of the spring water in the Pump Room. It tasted Ughhhh, is all I can say!

My train was for 5. I wished I could stay a little longer. I felt I was in another world and in another time. It, however, also had started raining. 🙂

… and the serenity of the 2,000-year-old Roman Baths


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