Day 10 – Bath and Windsor

Saturday, April 15, 2017

My visit to the UK is flying by! I took the opportunity of the early morning to explore a few more streets of Bath and had my breakfast compliments of Marks and Spencer before the touristy places and most shops opened for the day.

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The Cross Bath – this site may have been used before the Romans, and then during medieval times the sick came here to bathe in the waters. It is said King James II’s wife gave birth 9 months after coming here to its waters, and a cross was put up in thankfulness. In the late 1700’s this building was created, and it is now part of Thermae Bath Spa next door.



The Roman Baths opened at 9am and already there was a long line. I had purchased my ticket as part of a package with the Museums Saver ticket the day before so I was able to skip the line. Whenever going somewhere, it is well worth it to do a little research ahead of time and buy your tickets in advance if possible! At the Roman Baths I learned about what life was like in Roman times, especially here in England. There were many artifacts found here from the time, showing daily life.

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The Kings and Queens entrance
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Emperor Vespasian
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The swimming bath. The Roman structure would have had a domed roof over top, 20 metres tall, and would have been quite an airy, impressive building. There were hot baths, warm baths, and cold baths, as well as sauna rooms and changing rooms.
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Most of the area you visit is underground – modern day street level is now 4 metres above where it was from Roman times
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Bath Abbey next door
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An impressive arch going over the street beside the baths.
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The Romans called the town Aquae Sulis – the waters of Sulis (a goddess). The Roman Empire stretched over a large territory in 60 AD and the importing and exporting of goods flowed freely from one end to the other.
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An example of some artifacts found. There were several rooms of displays of every day items like these keys, jewellry, hair combs, tools, cookware, and coins. There were examples of tombstones, inscribed building materials, and messages written to the pagan gods of the time.
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Part of the temple’s foundation.
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Waterways and ducts. The 3 hot mineral springs that flow in Bath are 46 C / 115 F and rises from the earth at a rate of over a million litres each day. There are over 42 minerals, contributing to the yellow deposit you see here. The hot springs were first discovered by a Celtic prince about 863 BC.
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Making bricks. There were also examples of small wooden pulleys used with hemp ropes that would have lifted 100 kg stone blocks 20 metres into the air during construction in Roman times, and sluice gates to control water flow.
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In 1706 the first Pump Room was completed, and this present one opened in 1795. You can still drink the mineral water (not the green water you saw earlier), or enjoy high tea here at this facility which has stayed in fashion since Georgian times. There was an orchestra playing as I peeked in the room.


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A little more wandering about the city before I caught my bus back to the Bristol train station:

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The doors to Bath Abbey.

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Having a centrally located hotel meant I could leave my back-pack there that morning until it was time to check out. A real help, as it was starting to get heavy with a few souvenirs. I took the train from Bristol to Windsor and had to make several train changes, but train travel is so very easy it was no problem at all. Arriving at Windsor, the line up to see Windsor Castle stretched down the street and if I had not bought my tickets in advance, it would have closed before I had time to reach the front of the line. It was so nice to walk up to the front, go through security and collect my audio guide, and start right in my tour.

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There were lilacs in bloom, and wisteria growing up the side of the tower. It was like it was out of a fairy tale.
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Windsor Castle was originally built after the Norman invasion of 1066. Henry I (1068-1135) was the first monarch to live here and it has been used by the royal families ever since, making it the longest occupied palace in Europe.

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St. George and the Dragon
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St. George’s Chapel. I toured inside but no photography was allowed.
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There were beautiful gardens and landscaping everywhere you looked.
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Looking through into the Horseshoe Cloister.
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These buildings were originally built in 1480 to house the clergy.
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The Lower Ward

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Looking up toward the Upper Ward where the state apartments are located. I visited the state rooms, but again, photography was not permitted.
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Statue of King Charles II in the Quadrangle

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I also took the time to wander a little through the town. Note the narrow blue building on the right!

Then it was time to take the train back to London that evening. I was looking forward to having a chance to sit on the train and rest my feet; I had been carrying my backpack since 11am by this point. Boarding the train at Reading, there were no seats available and I had to stand the whole way to London. Once there, I found my subway train to Hammersmith where I was to stay at Comfotel Blu for my last 2 nights. After giving my feet a short rest, I walked down the street to a nearby Nandos – a South-African/ Portuguese restaurant chain specializing in chicken. I knew they had a book listing all their ingredients and allergens so I would be able to find something dairy-free. Both the hotel room and the restaurant were adequate enough, and reasonably priced. I was a little put off by some black mold in the hotel room’s shower, but the rest of the room seemed clean enough.

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My room was located on the landing between the ground floor and 1st floor facing the back. It was quiet, and about a 12-15 walk to 2 different Tube stations. Out of all my neighbourhoods I stayed in, this one felt the least safe for a female solo traveller, but it wasn’t terrible, either.

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