Monday, November 07, 2011

The England Trip: BATH

Last but not least, this is the end of our September long weekend, the day before we returned back to the Netherlands.

We started and ended the day at the top of the hill overlooking this quaint city known for so much...a World Heritage Site since 1987. What follows is basically in the order in which it happened. Latch your seatbelt and hang onto your hat!

Chris is still our host, remember, from Bath.
He celebrated his 63rd birthday while we were there.
His childhood friend, Chad, celebrates his 63rd 6 months later.
So it was appropriate for the 4 of us to spend our last day on their stomping ground.

Right off the bat, Chris took us to The Richmond pub where he grew up.
His grandfather became landlord there in 1908 until his death in 1952,
after which Chris' dad took over till his retirement in 1970.
I can just imagine what Chris was feeling as he peeked in.

A hop, skip, and a jump away was St. Stephen's Primary School
where Chris and Chad met each other early on and have been friends ever since.

And then, a stone's throw away, the St. Stephen's Church
where Chris was baptized at age 1.
(Pay attention to that steeple, which you'll see later in the day/post!)

It was special to see Chris getting back in touch with his roots...

...while I grabbed my shots.

It's quite the landmark church, isn't it! Built between 1840-45.

Did you notice the iconic red phone booth at the corner of the church?

A little Bristish humor! Chris, Astrid and Chad are all inside,
including the open umbrella.

Then Astrid and I "played around."
Chris said a lady stopped her car to look!
As Astrid would say, she almost drove off the dijk.

Then followed two sets of crescent houses, the second row of which is the famous Royal Crescent of 30 houses, built between 1767 and 1774, and among the best examples of Georgian architecture in the UK.
A moment of serendipity: see the heart and the windmill side by side, in Bath no less?

I was intrigued by the plaques outside some of the homes, giving history to the place:

Thomas Linley lived here and
from this house his daughter
Elizabeth eloped with Richard
Brinsley Sheridan on the
evening of the 18th March 1772

...And the fire insurance "medallions" that hung above several doors.
Chad said the fire engines would go to those houses first!

In between the two crescents, we happened upon this contemporary Bath sculptor, Ben Dearnley, doing his thing for the 2012Summer Olympics. This piece is being carved from Bath stone.
It became another serendipity moment for us all, because he LOVED telling us everything.

Twenty minutes later, we were standing in front of Chad's boyhood home....

...after which we all needed a potty break and decided to also stop for coffee/tea.
Chad gave me a lesson on how to stick out my pinky...not easy to do!

An hour later, as we neared Bath's city center, we ate lunch.
We needed fuel for what was to come...the part of Bath I had seen previously in 2007.
I knew exactly what I wanted Astrid to see and could hardly wait.

First, the Roman Baths...

...just a hint this time, without the tour...

...followed by the Bath Abbey next door.
See Jacob's Ladder on both sides of this west front?

Imagine seeing this in the same courtyard as the Roman Baths!

In 2007 I didn't get to see inside, so this was a treat for me...

...all the more special because of the stained-glass window
donated by one of Chad Doveton's distant relatives!
In Memory of Maria Ann Doveton: Chad's great-great aunt.

Once back outside, we crossed over the River Avon and saw the Abbey from the opposite side...

...while on the way to the Pulteney Bridge, completed in 1773.
See the steeple on the top right? That's St. Stephen's Church through my 300mm lens.

I could hardly wait to cross the bridge with Astrid, alongside all the shops,
and then walk down the embankment to show her the back side.
Talk about the "other side of the tracks!"

It was starting to get late...and we still had to meet another Shutterchancer, Mike/Blackdog, for a drink and supper.

Our eyes were still wide open....

...and just before dark, at this well, I saw the following inscription:

Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

I grew up on that John 4:13-14 passage, but without argoyle faces staring back at me!

Then we met Mike, first at The Star pub for a beer and then for supper at a nearby restaurant.
Look at how tall he is!
('A' means Astrid took the picture.)

While at the pub, I learned about a new game: Shove ha'penny.

We said Good-Bye to Mike and began our long walk back to the car on top of the hill...where I started this post (so long ago!). It was all I could do to climb back tired puppy...

...but realizing again how much we had seen
and how "short of eyes" we had been yet another day.

It was the perfect day to end our 2011 trip to England, with photobloggers who have become dear to us, like brothers. Chris, remember, is the one who calls Astrid his little sister. And he's already planning what we'll do when we visit next year!

The next morning, it rained cats and dogs. We stayed put at the farmhouse till leaving for the Bristol airport to fly back home. THAT was the perfect day to end our 2011 trip to England!


  1. Oh Boots, that opening shot!! And the vista over the church to the valley. Oh man.

    I love the two Dutch girls kissing in the phone booth! (Think those little Dutch kid statues you see bending over and meeting at the lips in people's yards . . . ) :-)

    The sculptor is wonderful, very special.

    Haha at the pinkie lesson!

    All the photos are wonderful. I so need to visit Bath one day, just because of all the Jane Austen references (and the book Persuasion).

    Lovely the way you connected with your dear blog friends. I know how these sister- and brotherhoods go!

  2. Was dazzled by all the interesting and pretty that you captured here. How incredibly fascinating this place is. I would have to put this on my growing list of must see (if the budget allows) list.

  3. Ruth: You would absolutely love Bath, Sister! I thought of you so many times. I didn't include it, but there was a street sign with Jane Austen's name. Thank you for picking up the threads that mean so much to me, too.

    PC: You, too, would love this fabulous city, Maria. It's so chock full of history! Maybe one day. I'll wish it for you. :)

  4. So much history, Ginnie. So much history! :) I also really liked the landscape photo you presented at the beginning of the post. Beautiful view! And like usual, impressive architecture throughout your post.

  5. love all this pictures from england, makes me very nostalgic for home :) mind you, as i sit here 0530, it's pouring with rain..good english weather for sure... hope all well..

  6. Well, Ginnie, you definitely need to work on that pinky!!
    Again, wonderful pictures. I'm always amazed at how much you see during a day. I love the fan ceiling in the cathedral.

  7. Tim: The history astounds me every time I'm in a city like that. We in America have no clue! Thanks, as always, for stopping by.

    Eliza: I can just imagine what you miss by not being there, Lady. Your homeland is chock-full of incredible treasures! I'm just glad you get back there every year!

    Carola: LOL on the pinky. It's funny how it can be instinctive for others but NOT for me. :) And yes, I love looking up in all cathedrals, since most of them are so ornate. Thanks.

  8. My photos of the Roman Baths are all very "old school", film versions. Remember the days when you could not just adjust white balance in post-processing, but had to think ahead of time about how your film would reproduce the scene, and use a filter to adjust accordingly? Everything is so much easier now.

  9. Karen: No, I don't remeember anything about those days. HA! But I'm sure everything IS much easier now. :)

  10. Ginnie - read your post on Monday but haven't been able to comment until now. Love that I can be connected even if I can "speak/write".. So now I do..

    Wow - You wore me out! I keep wracking my head asking myself how do you gals do this?? Really you go non-stop (sort of) all day long! I remember doing this sometimes in Europe but you do this so much!

    Quite possibly the energy also has to do with the excitement of seeing Europe. I know I would be excited and with those delicious breaks, it may just get me going too!

    Still day dreaming of flying but sticking to the ground for now!

  11. ET: I'll have to admit, Jen, that this was one of my most tiring days in a long time. I was hanging on to Astrid all the way back up the hill to the car. Thankfully, it was our last full day of the trip and the next day, when it rained, we were able to stay put.

    But yes, the excitement of Europe is definitely enough to keep me going. I just don't want to miss anything!

  12. Every time I open 'In Soul' I am impressed, you do such a great job to make everything we do and see into a 'photo-diary'....
    Yes, we did everything shown, in one day, I am glad we both are in a good condition 'to keep up with guys'.
    A big 'thank you' to our wonderful hosts Chris and Chad, who showed us 'their' beloved City.
    One day we hope to show them around in our 'neighbourhood'.
    Ruth will love Bath, but then I think Ruth will love Europe, period :)
    MLS thank you for this wonderful post.

  13. Astrid: You always make me feel so good! You know I am thrilled by our trips and then recording them for us. It's our legacy. And thank God for the collage site that helps make it all more visible than the albums I used to do! Hartstikke bedankt!

  14. Bath is one of my favourite cities in England, G! :)
    I think you should also visit Edinburgh.
    You'll live it too.

  15. LC: Awwwww. Thanks for stopping by here! And guess what--I have been to Edingurgh but don't have a lot of memories from there. Would love to go back one day! I LOVE Scotland!!!

  16. Fun fun fun!! and i can definitely see why you were so tired at the end of the day. You certainly make the most of every minute, it's admirable! Love that you all squeezed in that phone booth, open umbrella and all, and you and Astrid look absolutely adorable in there, too. Fantastic!

  17. Mad: Thank you, dear Lady, for stopping by. We had so much fun that day but we really were also tired after all was said and done. And yet we keep going back for more, don't we! :)

  18. Impressiv travel report with huge and nice photos showing the place well done for this and thanks for sharing
    have a great week end

  19. Noel: Thank you kindly for stopping by and commenting here!

  20. Next year, Scotland.
    Make it happen, G! ;)

    Make sure you try their famous haggis! :)

    But they don't do mooncakes in Edinburgh though.
    You need to go to Malaysia for them.

    Häagen-Dazs also "bake" ice cream mooncakes!
    And you can get them in Malaysia.

  21. Oh, lovely, so many lovely photos! I really love the architecture... A treasure for us architecture freaks! There is so much to see - in the whole UK actually - that I think I would need to stay for a very long time - or come back several times - too see it all!

  22. LC: Next year Scotland, indeed! That would be fun. Chris wants us back in Bath, however, and plans to take us to Wales, so that's a step in the right direction.

    I've heard about haggis and do NOT think it's sopmething I ever want to try. No thank you. :)

    But the mooncakes in Malaysia, even Häagen-Dazs style, sound wonderful. I'd be game!

    LCT: You are so-so right about the whole of the UK! It's enough to make anyone dizzy...and I thought the Netherlands was incredible! It would take several lifetimes, I think, to see it all...and I'm only talking about England. Then add Wales and Scotland!

  23. Late to the party as always, it seems these days, ginnie, but it was no less fun! What a fab-u-lous place is Bath! I have always had it on a mental list of places to go, knowing it was unique and lovely, but THIS? You showed it off to perfection and now I really, really want to go way sooner than than planned.
    You had a totally English experience there, didn't you? Laughed at the pinky lesson, and the phone booth shenanigans. Let people stare, I say. But maybe she was only taken aback by the fact that there were only two of you in there. Not trying for a world record, obviously.
    I love your people shots, too. It comes through very clearly in these posts that much of the joy of your travels together comes from the people you meet.

  24. Deborah: As we all know by now, better late than never. :) I love that you come...eventually. HA! And yes, Bath is very worth the top of any list. I could easily have spent the entire week just there.

    Astrid and I love our trips all by ourselves, enjoying each other's company. But if/when we find friends who are as charming as these, it only adds to our joy. My guess is YOU would be one such friend. :) Thank you.

  25. I'm always breathless by the time I finish one of your photoblogs. Now, I've just done two, and am about on the floor with exhaustion.

    But I realized something this time, because of my trip to take Mom home. In ten days, I drove 3,500 miles. There's a lot of territory between "sights" in this country - the size of a place like England means that history has stacked on top of itself, rather than spreading out. In a 20 mile radius, you can see as many treasures as would require days of travel here.

    So. Bath, and Winchester and pubs and "pinkies" - all so very English, so delightful and so beautifully captured. But you capture the "layers" of life there - the milk bottle as well as the abbey. That's what helps to communicate the of life in the places you share - there are lessons there for writers as well as photographers, I think.

  26. SA: My posts really are stuffed to the gills, aren't they, Linda. I no longer apologize because they're really for Astrid and me...for posterity. But if you can follow and enjoy them, I'm delighted. :)

    You are so right about the difference in land size between these countries of Europe and America. Everything IS stacked up in England, especially. It would take several lifetimes to see it all, I'm convinced. The Netherlands is almost as bad!

    Thank you, again and again, for your vote of confidence with these posts. It means the world to me!

  27. What a fabulous day you had in Bath. I recognized some of the sights. Somehow in 2002 I found myself alone in London on my birthday so I decided to take the train to Bath. My knee was very bad so I walked quite slowly but made it to the Crescent and the river Avon as well as Dickens’ house. You saw a lot more than me so I enjoyed going on your trip. In addition being with friends who know the place so well made it a lot more enjoyable for y’all I would think – another informative and interesting photo-post as you do them so well.

  28. Vagabonde: There's nothing quite like having personal guides who take you to all the off-beat places! We were so lucky. At least you have a taste of what we saw, and that's more than I can usually say of what you've seen, even close to where I used to live. Thank you, as always, for your comment here.

  29. Alright... I'm on jury duty today and got dismissed by the defense from the first trial (criminal case involving defendant accused of burglary) I was called for. (Do you think it might have had something to do with having had my home burgled twice, my car stolen and also having been the victim of an attempted mugging (foiled by yours truly) at various times over the past 36 years or so?)

    That said, now I'm in wait and see mode for the next couple of hours to see if any cases normally decided by a judge get turned into jury trials. So here I am enjoying myself while I drool over your lovely images! (I've missed my visits to your blog!)

    LOVE the image of St. Stephen's Church with the city down below... the phone booth shots are such fun! Colorful and you are obviously all enjoying yourselves quite a lot!

    The sculptor and his sculpture is another wonderful collage... you do get lucky in your travels!

    The images from lunch forward are really marvelous... especially the baths and the church! All of them.. those for the outside, the inside and the other side... I swear I don't know how you manage to pack so much into just one day! I'm wondering if I will be able to keep up with you and Astrid when I finally organize a visit! (on to your next post... still waiting to see if there is a trial this afternoon)

  30. Victoria: I missed you! So, I'm glad to see you back...and in a better, healthier place, it appears. YAY! I am thrilled for you. And to think you have jury duty to give you some unexpected free time. The pleasures of life. :)

  31. How in the world did I get this far behind? (hmm, six kids, three dogs, two horses... )

    I would LOVE hills like that to walk my butt up and down with the dogs. No wonder few fat people reside in Europe! And the photo of St. Stephens against the valley... do places like that really exist? I love the stone fence peeking along the bottom.

    Oh, the details of Bath Abbey. I would be lost for the day! Astrid, being the artist, must have loved all the patterns and color on the inside! And whenI don't think it can get any better, you show me the gardens and the Pulteney Bridge!

    Wow, what a trip!

  32. Margaret: Bath is over-the-top wonderful. You would love all of it! It was my second time there and I'd go back in a New York minute. :) Thank you.