Our next stop was Bath. Having been there as a kid, the thing that stuck in my mind was steamy green water filled with treasure. As an adult, I am now also aware of a bunch of movies, based on Jane Austen novels in which, various characters travel to Bath accompanying so-and-so who needs a change of venue and who will be taking the waters to recuperate from such-and-such ailment. Of course, we rarely see anybody taking time to recuperate. We are much more likely to find them buying new dresses to attend this-and-that social events. That is because the dresses they brought, which were perfectly acceptable at thither-and-which country estate, will certainly not do in society at Bath.
Though Ms. Austen was writing fiction, I get the impression she knew what she was about and Bath has always been a pretty fashionable place. The steamy green treasure of my youth was really a multitude of one, two and five pence coins tossed into the Roman Baths. What are the Roman Baths? Why, only the most fashionable place to be during Roman times—a large complex of pools and saunas built on natural hot-springs.
1800 years may have changed the peoples opinion of public bathing, but it certainly didn’t render the town any less fashionable. They still had the spring-water, they now had the Royal Crescent, and the Circus (both fashionably arced places to rent an apartment) and they still couldn’t wear that old dress they brought from the country.
Today, Bath still has a sort of Georgian-tourist-chic about it, which I think is why my more fashionable brother and his wife spent several days there, while my wife and I kept our visit to one (we had to save time for crumbly Welsh castles). We did manage to hit the fashion museum and find out which dresses “would do” in society from 1700 up through last year.
End note: We also sampled the spring water. I’d describe it as tasting like the periodic table of elements—the fact that the water was 70-something degrees Fahrenheit didn’t really help 🙂 Also, In case you are new and were wondering, I always take all my own photos.