10:46 PM

Mayor of Bath & The Roman Baths

Posted by Melody

I woke up at 7am and, even with makeup on, and leave the room around 8:40am. Oh my wow, I have to tell you about breakfast! Keep in mind this is a buffet. So get this, they have a traditional English breakfast, all sorts of fruit, all sorts of breads, and cheese! What’s so exciting about that? They have brie, real brie, my favorite cheese, on the buffet. All of my excitement made me creative. I made myself an egg and brie English muffin with different cut up fruit on the side. I ordered coffee to go with it, but the waiter gave me decaf for some unknown reason. I eat up and we all met in the front lobby to walk down to meet Steven at the mayor's parlor.

Andy led the way and got us there. Steven showed us around one of the ballrooms with many lovely pictures, ornamentation, and pretty chandeliers. He then took us to show us the council chamber area. Very ornate and business like. Then, we got to meet the mayor of Bath! We come in and he was there at the door greeting us and shaking our hands. He said, "Good afternoon." I replied, "Good afternoon, Mr. Mayor. Thank you for having us today." After all the group came in and was greeted, we were invited to have at the orange juice and biscuits (we call them cookies in the US).

We all stood around and listened as the mayor's assistant/secretary/whoever told us about the various things we were seeing. She explained that the medal worn around the mayor's neck dated many many years and he has to have guards go with him where ever he may be. The mayor here does not work like a mayor in the US. The mayor here is seen as less political than if he was in the council. They then showed us the visitor's books where many famous people have signed. Most recently, Nicholas Cage. People, I kid you not, I got a little giddy when she mentioned that we were going to be able to sign the same book that one of my favorite actors has signed. She also showed us where the queen had signed her name.

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Then the mayor started talking to us. Can I just say that he is the most adorable little old man ever. He was so happy and friendly. The mayor was more than happy to take pictures with all the group and each individual.

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We go down to the area of the Roman baths, beside of Bath Abbey, and walk in with Steven. He takes us around to a conference-type room where he had a projector set up to give us a lecture. He told us all about the Roman Baths and the Roman conquest. I was extremely interested in the subject and what Steven was telling us. He lectured for an hour, let us have a break, and then lectured another hour.

We were allowed to get lunch at that time. I went to this cute little pasty (pronounced with a short ‘a’ instead of a long one) shop called Greggs that had meal and dessert pastries for under 2 pounds! I got a chicken and bacon lattice. I walked back over to the Baths building to eat there since that was where the group was meeting.

Andy led us in as a group to get us through and ready to go around. We received our audio guides and were let loose. I noticed that there were numbers available to listen to Bill Bryson’s thoughts on the different parts to the Baths. I love his writings, thanks to Dr. Barnett for introducing me to them, so I listened to them all. It was really interesting. I was amazed at all the Romans could do and the innovations that they had come up with to make their lives as pleasant as they could be.

For instance, there was this one room where the floors (in the Roman’s time) would have been so hot that you could not walk on it without shoes. Now we can see that they did this by building little towering stacks of brick, much like we would build to help hold up floor joists, except in greater frequency. In the next room over, they would build great fires and allow that heat to pass under the floor.

At the peak of its time, there were many different baths to get in. There were various hot baths and a cold bath. After being in the hot baths for a while, the Romans would jump into the cold bath for a refreshing cool down. I did something like that when I was a kid. I would get into the hot tub until I was good and warm, then I would run and jump into the pool. I thought it was the coolest thing ever to do, no pun intended. Standing there at the grand bath, I wished for a moment that I could have lived in that time and see the place as it was in its glory days.

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At the end of my tour, I went to the pump room and sampled the water. They pump it up there and filter it and likewise. The water didn't taste bad, but it was no where tasting good either. After the baths, we were allowed to have the rest of the afternoon free.


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