Posts Tagged ‘Bath’

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Chiyo: Let’s go around two. And three…

December 10, 2011

So Saturday, my parents and I went on a day tour to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and Bath. I’ve been to Windsor Castle twice now, Stonehenge twice (both times this semester), and Bath three times now. I’m getting closer and closer to being able to give a tour of these places I know them so well! 

The first stop was Windsor Castle, and it was like deja vu all over again. We arrived, and it was like I was brought back to 2003, when I first visited the castle. We were told that if the Union Jack was flying, then the Queen was not in, but if the official flag of hers was flying above on the Round Tower, it meant the Queen herself is in. It has been recorded many times that Windsor is the Queen’s favorite place of residence. And guess what? Her flag was flying, meaning when I visited, her royal majesty was somewhere in the castle. I was geeking out. The changing of the guards was also taking place that day, and it was overall a great tour of the castle. 

Our next stop was Stonehenge, and I was very happy that at least this time it was not pouring rain, and only partly cloudy. It was however, windy as all get out, and freezinggggg, but we managed. There were sheepys out grazing, which is what I believe sparked my dad and I’s obsession with sheep…My dad, the official photographer of the trip got the pictures that he wanted, and we boarded the bus to get warm and wait for the rest of the group so we could depart and go to Bath. 

Bath is hands down my favorite city outside of London. It is just very beautiful, and there’s an air to it that I can’t explain. There was an English Christmas market going on, but before we visited the market, we went to the Roman Baths. Since this was my third time at the Roman Baths, I just toured it really fast, and let my parents take their time since it was their first time in Bath. At the end of the tour you can drink the water, which has 43 minerals, and of course I made my parents try it. It is supposed to bring you good health, and it is warm water, with a metallic taste to it. Needless to say, it is disgusting, but I have had it all three times I’ve been to Bath, and next time I pay a visit, I plan on drinking it again. It’s tradition! The market was lovely, and my mom and I picked up a mini black cherry pie for dessert, and my dad enjoyed a cup of mulled wine. We also had a traditional cornish pasty for dinner, and then boarded the bus to make our way back to London. It was a very peaceful ride back into London, and there is just something about a bus that lulls me to sleep. I slept almost the whole way back, and before I knew it I was back in the city.

We went back to our hotel and called it a night, since the next morning we had to catch a train to go to Scotland. 

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Lindsey: Cold, rainy countryside

May 29, 2011

Today we went on a day trip to Stonehenge and Bath. It has sure been a long day! After getting up at 5:45 and a two hour bus ride there, we got to see Stonehenge for a whole 40 minutes. Luckily there wasn’t a whole lot to see, but they were way bigger than I thought!

I guess there are many different theories about why Stonehenge was made around 3000 and 1600 BC. I personally like to go with the extra terrestrial theory. There are some pretty interesting stories about events that have happened there, like sacrifices and arrests, etc. I should really read up on it all before visiting it, but oh well, we got an informational packet instead. It would have been cool to actually be able to go up to the stones and go into the middle, but they have it all roped off so that all you can do is walk around it. Bummer. Here are some pics in the freezing cold am:

After Stonehenge we got back on the lovely tour bus for another hour long ride to Bath. Interesting fact: the people of Bath actually pronounce it like we do in America. Londoners pronounce it wrong for once, saying it like “both”. However, to make the ride there much more enjoyable, we got a great look at the beautiful english countryside. Even on a gloomy day it is so pretty! I promise I didn’t steal this from online:

Looks like a quilt right? Just picture this the whole way there, plus cute little valleys with random castles and historic buildings. Needless to say, we were all pretty mad the bus couldn’t stop for 5 minutes for us to take a decent picture, so this one was taken through a window on the speeding bus.

After getting a beautiful view of Bath from the top of hills while driving into the city we finally arrived! I thought all that would be there would be the Roman Baths and we would dip our feet in them and be on our way, but I was so wrong! The city is absolutely beautiful. I have never been anywhere this old before! Everything dates way way back. There is so many little nooks and crannies throughout the city with cute little cafes and shops. And for a rainy day there was sure a lot of people out and about! Here are some pictures of the city:

After a little walk around the city it was time to see the Roman Baths! Here’s a little history lesson for you all: When the Romans were passing through the area a while back, they stumbled upon these hot springs (about 80 degrees) that were full of minerals, etc. They then decided to build a city there. Later it became a luxury spot for the kings and queens of the time to go to escape the city of London and was a very prestigious place to live. Ok, now that you know what they are we can move on! There are many different pools you can visit, and since it was so cold out today, you could even see the steam rising up from them!

We even got to taste the water at the end! It was very gross and sulfur and irony tasting, but it is believed to heal!

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Luke: Stonehenge and Bath

March 9, 2011

Stonehenge_416I ventured out west once again last month and arrived at Salisbury Plain to see Stonehenge, a World Heritage Site. The monument seems to have been constructed in several phases over about a thousand years. The oldest part is not much more than a circular ditch and is 5000 years old. The large stones inside this original ditch that make Stonehenge famous were originally arranged in such a way that you could tell what month of the year it was by observing which archway the sunlight from the sunrise passed through. Summer solstice is the most popular day for visiting Stonehenge. A few stones have been repositioned to their original places since excavation began 150 years ago. The stone came from Wales, so how on earth did it get all the way to Salisbury Plain? Well, it was probably floated up the River Avon, but they still had to be moved on land the rest of the way. The best clue we have to how Stonehenge was actually erected comes from the fact that a good portion of each stone is underground, much like teeth fitting into gums. Why is Stonehenge a ruin today? Giant stones like this shouldn’t just fall over by themselves. I think the answer that makes the most sense is that the Romans vandalised it 2000 years ago to spite local religions and to assert their dominance. It may have been used by Druids for religious purposes in Roman times long after it was built, and these Druids stirred up trouble against Rome. I have included concept art of what Stonehenge originally looked like as well as a photo of it from 1877 before reconstruction. The last couple pictures are burial mounds called barrows, as well as the “Heelstone,” which is labelled on the concept drawing. They also put two stones in front of the entrance, so I can proudly say that I have touched a part of Stonehenge.

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Dsc00619Next, I continued on to Bath, where the entire city is a World Heritage Site. It is noted for, among other things, which, don’t worry, will be discussed here, its Georgian architecture. Every single building in the entire city is made from Bath Stone, a local light-brown limestone quarried only a few miles away. You feel as if stepping into a time machine when entering the city. Jane Austen lived here, moving with her family when she was about 25. She, however, hated her time in bath when she considered her brothers off at university while she had to tag along with her family since she was a woman. Her novel Northanger Abbey is set in Bath. Bath is also home to two spots called the Circus and the Crescent, a circular road and half-circle block of high-end residences. Big Hollywood actors own real estate on the Circus or Crescent, so I do mean high-end. Bath is also home to the famous Roman Baths, which are 2000 years old and sit on the city’s natural hot springs. The baths were accidentally rediscovered 200 years ago, and the Roman statues and columns around the main pool are Victorian, not Roman. You can see clearly on the first picture where the original Roman work ends and where the newer Victorian begins. Also at the Roman baths was a Roman temple to the goddess Minerva, who was combined with the existing local goddess Sulis. The artwork on the temple was actually brightly painted, and so was the art that lined the Parthenon, some of which you can see in the British Museum. It all looks uncoloured today, but forensic analysis has discovered pigments. I visited Bath Abbey to end my stay in Bath. It is not called a cathedral because there is no bishop’s seat there. All the churches have priests, but not all have a higher-ranking bishop. Here are my pictures from Bath, and then I’ll move on to discuss my time at the British Museum, which I have so far overlooked on this blog.

Dsc00622 Dsc00635 Dsc00646 Dsc00654 Dsc00655 Dsc00657 The British Museum focuses on ancient artifacts, such as from the Egyptians, Assyrians, Greeks, and Romans. Highlights are the Rosetta Stone, which had Egyptian Hieroglyphics next to the Greek translation, allowing the glyphs to be read and understood for the first time. Some glyphs stand for sounds, and some for symbols. Before the Rosetta Stone, no one could figure out which was which and what they meant. I also saw Assyrian carvings depicting the capture of the city of Lachish, part of the kingdom of Judah under King Hezekiah. This period in history is described vividly in the Bible, and it was exciting to see a parallel account. I also saw lots of Greek and Roman pottery and sculpture, as well as a piece of the Great Sphinx in Egypt (the one with the broken nose). Finally, I saw some of the friezes taken from the Parthenon in Athens. They were originally brightly coloured, and they once lined the Parthenon around the tops of its columns. Dsc00195 Dsc00198
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