All of the pictures are already up on SA. Yay me! Oh, and this was probably by far my favorite day in England. I am so going back to Bath.
Day Five – Bath
October 14, 2008
God is my shepherd
I won’t be wanting
I won’t be wanting
– The House of God, Forever – Jon Foreman
We got a wake-up call, because we were afraid we’d sleep in after the late night at the play. I went to get dressed, still feeling a little down but determined to make the most of today. When I came out of the bathroom (“toilet”), Nicole threw aside a balloon she’d been blowing on and said, “Happy birthday!” I looked around the room in surprise. Streamers were thrown around everywhere, and there were several balloons and a Happy Birthday banner. There was also a little present on my pillow. I laughed some and thanked her. I’d forgotten it was my birthday at all.
I opened the present – which was from my parents – and found a beautiful blue, green, yellow and white scarf. Also there was a pair of tear-drop pearl earrings. I decided against wearing those, since they didn’t have a back part and I didn’t want to loose them. But I put on the scarf happily.
We left for the train station soon. When we got there, we found that if we waited another hour the prices would be significantly cheaper. We decided to do that, and after paying we went into one of the coffee shops right there. I got a coke. I sat down to work on postcards while we waited, huddled in a comfy chair at the back of the cafe.
We caught the train, and time passed quickly as I continued writing letters. At last, we stopped in Bath. As we walked out, I said, “This is what I pictured Oxford as.” Nicole agreed.
We made our way to Bath Abbey, a cathedral that looked interesting online. The vaulted ceiling (which it’s famous for) was beautiful. Slowly we made our way to the front. One of the workers grabbed our attention and practically demanded to show us around (in a kind, old grandma way). She pointed out a plaque and told us Queen Elizabeth II was there to celebrate 1,000 years of English monarchy. We found out that the first king of England had been crowned there (which was awesome!). Our guide also pointed out some of the foundations of the old church, and recommended we visit the vault to look at the Roman and Anglo-Saxon artifacts. It was very neat and a pleasant surprise.
After this, we crossed the street to the Roman Baths. We bought a joint ticket for the baths and the fashion museum. The baths were very neat – and the history about the town was fascinating.
As we were exiting, we went to the Pump Room. It was lovely – high and clean and elegant. We got a table, me bursting into giggles and squeals every few minutes. (I’m sure this was very annoying to the lady and gentleman who were next to us, working on their crossword puzzles.) I got tea, which was excellent. We got beef and a plate of assorted local breads to eat. The beef was so tender you didn’t even have to use your knife to cut it. I ate most of mine, then drank my pot of tea. Heaven. After a while, a pianist came in to play. It was perfect.
Full of good tea and food, we continued on our way. We walked up the street to the Jane Austen Center. There was a painted stone statue of Jane Austen on the porch, which was a little creepy looking. We went into the gift shop, bought our tickets, and then went to the upper rooms to wait for our introductory talk. There was a beautiful painting of an artist’s interpretation of Jane Austen in Bath. (I can’t find a decent picture of it online, sadly. I wish I had a print of it.) It was done based on descriptions by family members. There were also a lot of quotes about her from other authors of the time, and letters from some actors. After a few minutes, we were taken into another room for the talk (around twenty minutes long) about her life. We were then directed downstairs to go through the exhibit.
There were a lot of costumes from Miss Austen Regrets. I’m really not a fan of that movie, but I like costumes so I spent most of my time taking pictures of them. You can see the results in my Miss Austen Regrets Gallery.
There was also a “Mystery Dress” on display. Apparently someone had found scraps of a dress from the Regency period, but it had never been completed. The lady brought it to a seamstress (I’m thinking Andrea Galer? But I could be wrong) for it to be pieced together. See more in my Regency Gallery (composed of different period costumes I saw around in my Jane hunt).
When we were done, we moved onto the shop and spent some time in there. I bought several little things, and picked up a subscribe form for Jane Austen’s Regency World. Which looks like an awesome magazine, and I’m hoping maybe to get a subscription for Christmas. From there, we left to find the Assembly Rooms and costume museum.
The Assembly Rooms were closed, but the costume museum was still open, so it was alright. I took a lot of pictures. You can find them here, at my Costume Museum Gallery. The display was actually considerably smaller than I’d expected – it wasn’t much bigger than the First Lady exhibit at the Smithsonian. But I was happy anyway.
After this, we were free to wander the streets and shops. I wanted to buy a tea cup, to follow tradition. My great-grandmother and my Grandma Kathleen always used to by tea cups whenever they traveled, and they gave the collection to my mother. Most of this was destroyed in Washington D.C., when an accident occurred involving two of my siblings. I started collecting my own in Canada last year. I also needed to find some more postcards and a few small gifts.
We popped in and out of a few shops. We walked into a market, filled with local stalls. I found a cup and almost bought a gorgeous scarf (but it was $20, so I resisted). Then we headed back towards the train station, intended to stop in an old bookstore we had seen earlier. It was closed due to a power outage, but they said they would have it fixed soon. I was having severe not-buyer’s-regret, so we returned to by the scarf.