Day 9: Taking in Bath in the Rain 


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Mike Bone rose and the very late hour of 8:00 AM! After the last two days of 4:30AM wakeups, 8:00 was like sleeping to mid morning!  Being a few blocks from Waterloo Station provided Mike and Bone the ability to get to get a train from Waterloo to Bath. Two hours later Mike and Bone arrived in the town that the whole world now uses to clean themselves !


The Beginning of Bath


So how did Bath become a World Heritage Site? After the Romans arrived in Britain in AD 43 following a successful invasion by Emperor Claudius, they quickly founded the city  of "Aquae Sulis" or what we now call Bath.  It was a strategically important site for the Romans, and the presence of a burbling hot spring was the cherry on top.  To check it out Mike and Bone went into the Unesco World Heritage site, with a nice hot coffee on the rainy day.


 Hot Coffee before a Hot Bath!


The Boys walked into the Bath site to find out, well it is sort of what the Roman's had!


 The Roman Site that kind of Isn't!

So Mike and Bone found out that the reality is that the original Roman remains, especially the Temple of Sulis Minerva and the baths complex (based around the hot springs at the heart of the Roman town of Aquae Sulis, which have remained at the heart of the City’s development ever since) are amongst the most famous and important Roman remains north of the Alps, and marked the beginning of Bath’s history as a spa town. However, the current Unesco site is well, not all original!


 The 46C pool that is refreshed from Natural Springs Daily!


The Remains of the known Roman baths, the Temple of Sulis Minerva, and the below grounds are all original Roman building and are well preserved. However the buildings that now surround the ancient Roman spa, not so much!

The original Bath Roman Temple stood on a podium more than 8 feet above the surrounding courtyard, approached by a flight of steps. On the approach there were four large, fluted Corinthian columns supporting a frieze and decorated pediment above. The pediment, parts of which are displayed in the museum, is the triangular ornamental section, 26 feet wide and 8 feet from the apex to the bottom, above the pillars on the front of the building.

Despite the great work at making the current building that houses the Roman Spa, look as if it was built in Roman times, the current building was built in the 18th-century, designed by architects John Wood, the Elder and John Wood, the Younger, father and son.


Mike contemplating a Bath


The elevation on to Abbey Church Yard has a center piece of four engaged Corinthian columns with entablatures and pediment, all from the 18th century.


The Roman Water Source!

Mike and Bone like so many visitors before them, drank the some of the spring water in the Grand Pump Room, a Neoclassical salon which remains in use, both for taking the waters and for social functions. Victorian expansion of the baths complex followed the Neoclassical tradition established by the Woods. In 1810, the hot springs were thought to have failed and William Smith opened up the Hot Bath Spring to the bottom, where he found that the spring had not failed but had flowed into a new channel. Smith restored the water to its original course.

The visitor entrance is via an 1897 concert hall by J. M. Brydon. It is an eastward continuation of the Grand Pump Room, with a glass-domed centre and single-storey radiused corner. The Grand Pump Room was begun in 1789 by Thomas Baldwin. He resigned in 1791 and John Palmer continued the scheme through to completion in 1799. Mike and Bone got a good "lay of the land with the signage and cool Roman artifacts.


Roman Relics found at Aqua Sulis

Wicked Cool Plumbing!

One of the cool remnants of the original Roman infrastructure was how they engineered and channeled the piping hot water from the actual spring into the various baths a spas the Romans had set up. The Boys then checked out one of Bath's crown jewels, Sulis Minerva!


Sulis Minerva giving Head at Aqua Sulis

Mike and Bone found one of the coolest exhibits in the gilt bronze head of the goddess Sulis Minerva, which is one of the best known objects from Roman Britain.

Its discovery in 1727 was an early indication that the Roman site at Bath was not a typical settlement.  Gilt bronze sculptures are rare finds from Roman Britain as only two other fragments are known.

The head is probably from the cult statue of the goddess which would have stood within her Temple beside the Sacred Spring. From there she may have looked out across the Temple courtyard to the site of the great altar, the site of sacrifice, which stood at the heart of that sacred space.  The statue may well be an original object from the foundation of the site in the later first century AD, which means that it was probably well over 300 years old when it met its demise. Next corner, the Boys were on the floor level, right outside of the Original Roman Bath!


Floor-level view of the Bath!

Mike and Bone was able to watch steaming hot spring water run down thousand year old pipe to the emerald green waters in the Bath!  After watch the water lines, the Boys headed out into the main spa area.


Mike and Bone bathing in the Beauty of the Ancient Waters!

Walking around the pool the Boys could clearly "see" what the site looked like back in the day.  Mike and Bone were gonna get one final picture then head out into the rest of the city when a little drama occurred!


Savior of Bone's Book!

The very kind curator standing behind Mike and Bone offered to take the Boys picture. Bone set down his book he had purchased on Bath, and as the lovely curator took the Boys picture some lunkhead couple picked up the book and started to scurry away as fast as possible trying to get out of sight. Bone yelled "Hey, that is my book!," for which they shot back "no its not!" in the snottiest Cockney possible. Fortunately, the curator saw the whole stupid event, and swiftly recovered the purloined purchase for a agitated Bone, thereby avoiding an international event! Next the Boys moved on to check out the rest of Bath!


The Stately Cathedral of Bath

Walking out of the Bath, Mike and Bone came across the prominent Abbey Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, commonly known as Bath Abbey. The Abbey is a parish church of the Church of England and former Benedictine monastery in Bath. Founded in the 7th century, it was reorganized in the 10th century and rebuilt in the 12th and 16th centuries; major restoration work was carried out by Sir George Gilbert Scott in the 1860s. It is one of the largest examples of Perpendicular Gothic architecture in the West Country. While very cool, they were conducting church services that Mike and Bone had no interest in so they boogied on further into downtown Bath!


Mike, Moving through Bath!

As Mike and Bone walked around the weather had turned into much more traditional British fare, it was not blazing hot and sunny like the day before.  This day was misty, cloudy day, and now the rain clouds were threatening! In other words, they only really had a short time to check out Bath before getting drenched! Bath is really famous for two things, obviously the Roman spa or bath is one, the second is attributed to the American-hated King George III!

Bath reflects two great eras in human history: Roman and Georgian. The Roman Baths and temple complex, together with the remains of the city of Aquae Sulis that grew up around them, make a significant contribution to the understanding and appreciation of Roman social and religious society. The 18th century re-development is a unique combination of outstanding urban architecture, spatial arrangement and social history. Bath exemplifies the main themes of the 18th century neoclassical city; the monumentalisation of ordinary houses, the integration of landscape and town, and the creation and interlinking of urban spaces, designed and developed as a response to the growing popularity of Bath as a society and spa destination and to provide an appropriate picturesque setting and facilities for the cure takers and social visitors. Although Bath gained greatest importance in Roman and Georgian times, the city nevertheless reflects continuous development over two millennia with the spectacular medieval Abbey Church sat beside the Roman temple and baths, in the heart of the 18th century and modern day city.


The Gorgeous Georgian Circus Architecture of Bath!

Bath is also very famous for its Georgian architecture. The 18th century development is a unique combination of outstanding urban architecture, spatial arrangement and social history. Bath exemplifies the main themes of the 18th century neoclassical city; the monumentalisation of ordinary houses, the integration of landscape and town, and the creation and interlinking of urban spaces, designed and developed as a response to the growing popularity of Bath as a society and spa destination and to provide an appropriate picturesque setting and facilities for the cure takers and social visitors.  Checking out Bath's Town Square was cool, but suddenly, the skies erupted!


Trying not to get wet in the Rain in Bath!

The deluge forced the Boys under a tree in the Town Square, which was ironic since they were in the middle of a circus! The Bath Circus is a Georgian masterpiece, built to John Wood the Elder's design and completed in 1768, it's said to have been inspired by the Coliseum in Rome. Arranged over three equal terraces, the 33 mansions form a circle and overlook a grassy disc populated by plane trees.  Seeing it from the Center would have been more amazing if it wasn't a downpour! With no signs of a let up in the near term, the Boys boogies back to the Train Station.


Boogieing for Burgers and the Train!

Since Mike and Bone hadn't had breakfast, a couple of burgers from a UK Burger joint smelled real good! Unfortunately the uninspired worked of the Burger Joint were a little slow and caused the Boys to have to sprint to make the Train which they did with less than a minute to go!  Munching their burgers on the Train, they had the chance to chit chat with some locals on the way back to London. With Roman London and Bath checked off, it was time for some beers!


Touring Trafalgar Square

Ah Trafalgar Square! One of the quintessential spots in London that reflect its unique Britishness of England! Trafalgar Square is a well-known public square in the City of Westminster, Central London, established in the early 19th century around the area formerly known as Charing Cross. The square's name commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar, the British naval victory in the Napoleonic Wars over France and Spain by Lord Nelson that took place on 21st October 1805 off the coast of Cape Trafalgar.


Admiring the Ales at the Admiralty!

The site around Trafalgar Square has been a significant landmark since the 1200s. For centuries, distances measured from Charing Cross have served as location markers. The site of the present square formerly contained the elaborately designed, enclosed courtyard, King's Mews. After George IV moved the mews to Buckingham Palace, the area was redeveloped by John Nash, but progress was slow after his death, and the square did not open until 1844. The 169-foot Nelson's Column at its center is guarded by four lion statues. A number of commemorative statues and sculptures occupy the square. Many prominent buildings facing the square include the National Gallery, St Martin-in-the-Fields, Canada House, and South Africa House. Since it was still raining, it made sense to pay tribute to Lord Nelson with a set of beers at the Admiralty Pub!


Fulfilling Cask-Pulled Fullers!!


Mike and Bone went in to the Admiralty while looking out at Nelson's Column in Trafalgar's Square. The Admiralty is considered London's most central pub, with pretty good British pub food and awesome Fuller's cask ales. The Boys being the Boys, of course they needed one round of Fullers, which led to two, then even three rounds of the creamy dreamy cask concoctions!

Thoroughly enjoying the British Ales, Mike and Bone went out to check out some of the many, many (over 4,314!!) pubs in London! Next was one of the oldest, the Seven Stars!


The Seven Stars

The Seven Stars is unique in that it survived the Great Fire of London! They figure that is was built in the 17th century, and it is dated 1602, formerly known as The Log and Seven Stars it is still very much a classic pub vs., an american museum, which most building that old in the States would be! The local beers were good and malty, the locals friendly and chit chatted with Mike and Bone in the Bar and in the outdoor Patio they have street side.


The very Cool London Town Neighborhood of the Seven Stars !

The Bar is in a very cool part of old London Town, the original perimeter of the Roman city of Londinium that is similar today as a borough is in New York. As the beers flowed the Boys had a great time and thought "lets go check out some other Pubs!"  Heading out they came across one of London Town's favorites for Barristers, the Cittie of Yorke!


Foreign Relations at the Cittie Of Yorke!

If you think that Seven Stars is old, the Cittie of Yorke in London's High Holborn  even older! Try 1430! In fact  it is listed in CAMRA's National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors. The pub is currently owned and operated by Samuel Smith's Old Brewery, one of Bone’s favorite British beers.


The very elegant interior of the Cittie Of Yorke

While Sammy Smiths has not been around since 1430, the buildings on this site have been pubs since 1430. Some features include the Henneky's long bar located in the grand, hall-like back room, a late-Georgian or Regency era triangular metal stove, and Victorian-style cubicles. Being close to the old London courts, the cubicles is where the barristers and solicitors would meet with their clients. Walking in Mike and Bone felt like this is what heaven (if it exists!) would be like!

Obviously so did others, the famous Welsh poet Dylan Thomas penned an impromptu ode to the pub when it was called Henneky's Long Bar. Fred Jarvis, a former general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, found the previously unknown poem in 2014 while going through papers belonging to his late parents-in-law who knew Thomas. The top of the poem reads "This little song was written in Henneky's Long Bar High Holborn by Dylan Thomas in 1951!" Walking up to the Bar, the Boys ordered a round of fine ales!


The very inelegant Mike and Bone Sucking Suds in  the Cittie Of Yorke! 

The Boys wanted to document the auspicious visit of Mike and Bone at the Cittie of Yorke, and asked a very nice Indian fellow with his Wife, with son and daughter-in-law if he would snap a pic of the beery Boys, which he laughed and was delighted to snap 3 or 4 shots. Bone appreciative, bought the entire family a round for which the nice man said they didn't have to, but Bone did any way!


Sammy Smith's Very Taddy Porter!!! 

The first round went down fast and when noticing Sammy Smiths name on the Bar, Bone knew that they brewed a magical potion, Samuel Smiths Taddy Porter!!!  Next round (and the next two afterwards!) the Boys ordered was the brown golden liquid!  While enjoying their Porters, Bone's new friend Zaheer and his family came to thank him for the beers and left him his card.


Bone Made a Friend!!!

Turns out Zaheer was the Ambassador for Canada representing Pakistan!!! His son and his daughter-in-law had graduated that day from university as newly minted barristers. Since the Cittie of Yorke is a known barrister (British for lawyer!) bar, hanging their made sense. Apparently Zaheer was flattered that a couple of inebriated American buying him and his family a beer tickled his fancy!  


Shambling back to Lambeth!

After two more rounds the Boys remembered in their blurry state that they had an early train ride up to York the next day, so they shambled to the Tube and back to Waterloo Station, enroute Bone had a great idea for dinner, what about a traditional English Sunday Dinner! 


"What's your Beef!?!" At the Duke of Sussex!

"Sunday roast" is a traditional British meal of roasted meat, potatoes, and accompaniments like Yorkshire pudding, vegetables, stuffing, and gravy, perfect food for drunken fools! Having tread the path from Waterloo through Lambeth, many, many, many times Bone knew of a great pub called the Duke of Sussex, that had a classic fireplace and a wonderful Sunday Roast!

Mike and bone wolfed their delicious dinners with a few Guinness's for desert, celebrating an excellent end to an excellent day!

The next day, Eboracum!?!