A Travellerspoint blog

Homeward Bound

sunny 5 °C

The final stop on our Roman Empire odyssey took us to the City of Bath in the West of England where the natural hot springs were harnessed by the bathing-crazy Romans almost two thousand years ago...
Emperors, legionnaires, merchants, and their families, bathed in this lead lined swimming pool in mineral water that has poured from this natural spring at a constant 45 degrees Celsius for thousands of years…
A million litres of hot water a day flow from this spring and the Romans believed it was sent by the gods. Pilgrims came from all over Europe hoping that, by bathing in its sacred waters and making sacrifices to the gods, they would be cured of illness and granted good fortune.
After the fall of the Roman Empire and the invasion by the Christian Normans in 1066 the ‘gods’ of Aqua Sulis were no longer in vogue and the baths were largely destroyed. However, pilgrims of a different kind flocked back to Bath in the 18th century when the aspiring aristocracy simply had to ‘take the waters’ and have a residence. This was a time of fabulous wealth when architects and builders vied to create the most opulent pseudo-Romano villas and buildings. This is The Royal Crescent…
From October to May each year, the idle rich would gamble away their lives, and sometimes their fortunes, while taking the health-giving mineral waters, attending balls, and attempting to climb higher on the social ladder. Jane Austen lived in Bath at the turn of the 18th century and wrote extensively about the complicated norms of the day in her novels. James attended school and college in Bath and regularly swam in the hot waters. His old swimming pool is now a fancy spa where we swam in the rooftop pool in the moonlight and thought of the Romans and Georgians who had swum in the waters before us. History surrounded us as we walked the streets of Bath, but Britain is a steeped in history. For example, on our way to London we stopped for lunch at this quaint thatched inn at Clifton Hampton...
This is the Barley Mow, the very place that Jerome K. Jerome wrote into in his classic 1889 novel Three Men in a Boat.
With Christmas approaching we returned to the capital for a carol concert by the King’s College Choir and a tradition unbroken since 1947. Every year the people of Norway gift their finest Christmas tree to London’s Trafalgar Square in gratitude to the British for liberating their country from the Nazis in WWII…
The tree was somewhat slimmer than usual, and it was unkindly suggested in the British press that to save money the Norwegian government may have shipped it to London as carry-on baggage on Ryanair.
To cap off our visit we returned to arguably the most beautiful concert hall in the world – The Royal Albert Hall – for a concert of Christmas music by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by the renowned composer, John Rutter…
And finally, a trip down memory lane as we wandered London’s historic streets to view the Christmas lights…
After three weeks in London during one of the mildest Novembers on record, the temperature has plummeted and there is a hint of snow in the air. However, the warm weather brought a false promise of spring and fooled many plants into early bloom…
But, with winter on the horizon it’s now time to head home where the snow is already flying.
Thanks for travelling with us on our quest for the Roman Empire and we hope you will join us again soon as we head off on another Blissful Adventure.

Posted by Hawkson 09:39 Archived in England

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You've managed to see a lot! Good for you! Thanks for sharing!~

by Vic_IV

What a glorious trip and a celebratory finish to your journey. Such a rich experience for all of us. Welcome home. Thanks for taking us on your journey.

by Susan Fitzwilson

What a fabulous end to a fabulous trip! The snow has stopped here and the sun promises to to shine for your return. Welcome home.

by Ginny

What a glorious conclusion to a spectacular adventure…. Thanks for taking us along for the ride. Very much appreciated. Safe journey home and a very Merry a Christmas to all… and to all a great night!

by Paul

Thanks for the lovely adventure…. I saw your arrival home yesterday. I was coming off of the ferry you were about to board. Welcome home. I’ll look forward to catching up in person 😘

by Catherine

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