The following is an excerpt from my travel journal…
Day 12, Saturday December 21, 2019
We had been looking forward to today ever since we began planning this trip. After spending a day here on our last visit back in 2015 we all wanted to look around some more. Today though it really felt, for the first time this holiday, that we’d all hit a bit of a wall. None of us were feeling great and, to be honest, I think we were all just a tad sick of each other so tempers were a little frayed at times during the day.
Having said that, this really is a lovely city and this time around we didn’t repeat our mistake and attempt to park in the city itself. Instead, we left the car at the park and ride just outside of town and caught the bus in. It really is the way to go and drops you right in the centre of town.
Because we saw the Roman Baths and the Abbey on our previous visit, this time Sarah wanted to check out the shops and revisit the Christmas markets; I wanted to see the Pulteney Bridge and the Assembly Rooms, and Grant decided that he needed a haircut. #asyoudo
The Pulteney Bridge crosses the River Avon and was built in in the 1770’s to connect the city of Bath with the land across the river owned by the Pulteney family. It’s also one of only four bridges in the world with shops across the full span on both sides.
The weir was originally built in the early 1600’s to stop the river from flooding the town. It’s really unusual horseshoe-shape though, was a result of a rebuild in the 1970s.
Just across the road is Bath Guildhall Market, the oldest shopping centre in the city. Trading has been taking place for over 800 years on this site.
Today though, Grant found a barber and Sarah and I wandered the stalls and sampled a Bath Bun.
A Bath Bun is a sweet roll made from a milk-based yeast dough. It has some currants and sultanas inside, a lump of sugar in the middle and crushed sugar on top. Bath Buns were apparently one of Jane Austen’s favourite things to eat in Bath – although I suspect she didn’t eat it walking around the market.
We found the sugar quite disconcerting and the bun itself underwhelming. Maybe we would have enjoyed it more if we’d eaten it as it’s meant to be eaten: with butter or jam and cream – sort of like a Bath version of a scone.
Back at the Abbey, we were disappointed to find that the Christmas markets had finished the previous week.
There were, however, a couple of buskers playing – including one opera singer who was fabulous.
We couldn’t agree on a pub for lunch so ended up at a Thai restaurant instead – and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Reasonable tempers restored we headed up the hill towards the Assembly Rooms and the Circus and Royal Crescent – where the whole street is perfectly symmetrical and in a semi-circle.
I can imagine it in the days of Jane Austen when everyone would gather at the Assembly Rooms…which were, today, closed for a wedding. Seriously? I tried the whole “I’ve come all the way from Australia to see this and you’re closed for a wedding?” thing but it was no good. Maybe next time.
Plus, it had now started to drizzle, with the drizzle turning to rain as we stood in the queue for the park and ride bus.