Gray stone, gray sky. Suddenly it turns sunny and we wander off downhill to the center of Bath. It's cute, although neither of us would call it charming. Why do we live in an era where Baby Gap is everywhere? Jane Austen would have had something politely wry to say about that, I'm sure.
With no real plan we find ourselves outside the famous Pump Room, now a restaurant/tea room, previously where visitors of the 18th and 19th centuries would meet, drink the health-giving water and look at what everyone else was wearing, viz. Jane Austen. It's quite an attractive high-ceilinged room with windows looking out over the Roman Bath, full of tourists at their expensive teas. We skip tea and head for the Bath.
This is pretty cool, particularly when you realize that we are standing looking down at a large swimming pool about 15 feet below current ground level and that this pool, steaming in the rain, was once ground level itself. But this isn't all. There are caldariums, tepidariums, Sacred Springs, bits of marble that were once parts of elaborate friezes or columns. There are skeletons, bits of jewelry, gravestones and lots of explanatory audio and written notes. My legs and feet are so tired from all the walking of the last two days that I would pay several denarii to the Roman bath master to let me soak in the steaming water, no matter that it's a strange reddish color at one point and a sickly green at another.
On our way out I learn from a nice lady at the gift shop (when was the last time you were allowed to walk out of a place except via the gift shop?) that there are baths just up the street that you can in fact bathe in, same water and everything. Maybe tomorrow.
Remember, pictures are at www.instagram.com/shellioreck