Made famous by the Romans when they tapped into the mineral glacial springs for their public bath houses. Hence the name of the city. Yet, the golden era of Bath was during the 1700s when the Prince Regent wanted to claim a weekend revelry place for himself and his wide circle of friends. He felt Bath, was the perfect spot for such entertaining festivities. The Prince Regent had his architect design The Crescent or The Circus; a row of luxury townhouses built on a curve for his nearest and dearest acquaintances.
The standard order of the day was to wake up by the gentle prodding of one’s man or maid servant and a glass of champagne around 11 o’clock in the morning. The servant was sure to fluff the pillows, draw back the curtains and serve a three or four course breakfast in bed complete with brandy. Once the repast is completed, the man or maid servant would come to dress his or her master or mistress. Given the attire of the day, this generally takes about one to two hours to accomplish, before the Titled went about his or her day visiting friends, attending the races, taking a walk or gossiping. After hours of such tiring activity, a lengthy nap was encouraged. Upon awakening, it took another hour or two to suit up for tonight’s party at one of the town homes. Typically such parties began with a five to twelve course meal of virtually every food in the continent, followed by a game of cards, dancing, and general merry-making until 3 of 4 in the morning when the servant would arrive to take the Titled person back to their respective home and into bed, only to begin the entire process all over again the next day, and the next day and the next.
An experiment was conducted not too long ago for British television on this very scenario. The woman on the show gained 14 pounds in one week and the man not only gained 21 pounds but also came down with an acute case of gout!
Bath was magnificent. A place built for entertainment. The architecture is gorgeous! The streets are charming and winding. However, I did run into a slight predicament. I wanted to visit the Jane Austen Center in Bath. Naturally, I attempted to follow the sign posts. Are some meandering I ended up exactly where I started! Hmmm. I decided to follow the posted maps along the major roads on my second attempt to find the Center. The streets turn and wind about and I was on my path much longer . . . and I ended up exactly where I started from?! What on earth? This is absurd, I headed to my left this time, trying to use my hand-held map. I was by the water and the roads were a bit straighter. Twenty minutes later with some head scratching I wound up exactly where I started!!! I surmised my inner compass was not broken, it was pulverized by some unseen ironic force in the universe for the sheer amusement of near by people. In my frustration, I just took a picture of the sign post leading to the elusive Jane Austen Center.
The prime of this city was during the Victorian times. The Queen herself even visited. The city sits eight miles East of the Welsh border, and yet there is a distinct anti-Welsh mentality. There is an old law that claims if a Welsh person should be found within the city limits after a certain hour, he is to be killed. The city as a certain German flavor about it. Though, I doubt the people from Chester would see anything positive in that remark. The city is surrounded by a ten foot wall, which the fashionable set would promenade up and down the walk to show off their fashions and flaunt their reputations. They were bound to pass three magnificent clock towers on their excursion. One tower faces the north, another clock tower faces the South, and the last tower faces the East. However, there is no west-facing clock, because the people of Chester “refuse to give the Welsh the time of day.” Goodness! The buildings are Tudor style and cozy, its streets made for pedestrians, and its pigeons are holed up in the bird houses as to not bother the city inhabitants. How cleaver! It is a wonderful eccentric little town.
The rest of my holiday in pictures: