Thoughts on the wild, the weird, and the romantic from author Joy Nash

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Joy Nash is a USA Today Bestselling Author and RITA Award Finalist applauded by Booklist for her "tart wit, superbly crafted characters, and sexy, magic-steeped plots."

» Thursday, September 28, 2006

Into the books: Day 10, Bath, England

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No book link today!

We left Wales and headed down to Bath, England. Let me tell you, traffic around that town in horrendous. The city is surrounded by a sort of ravine, and there are only a few ways across it. We parked in a huge tourist lot on the edge of town and set off to find the ancient Roman Baths. The map we bought in a pay machine was extremely confusing, since rather than just being a simple street map, it had 3-D pictures of important buildings superimposed on the streets, hiding some of them. Also, it seems like streets change name every block in Bath. The locals know how clueless the tourists are, and how hard it is to get around their city, or maybe how bad the tourist maps are, and I must say they are very nice about it. We had no fewer than three sets of strangers stop and ask us if we needed help. One group in a car actually pulled over to the curb and rolled down the window and asked if they could help us get to where we wanted to go. And it wasn't like we'd flagged them down or anything. Geez, if that happened in a US city, I think I would faint from shock.

Bath gets its name from Roman times, when it was an important market town and contained an elaborate bathing house built over a hot spring that was sacred to the Celtic goddess Sulis. The Roman name for the town was Aquae Sulis, or "Waters of Sulis." I haven't ventured into Aquae Sulis in one of my historical novels yet, but who knows, it might appear in a future novel in the Druids of Avalon series. It's certainly in the vicinity.

The Roman baths excavations are all underground. On top is the Regency-era bathing house that was built on top of the Roman ones. Bath is the locale for many of Jane Austen's books. We got a look at the Pump Room, a restaurant that was once frequented by Bath's aristocracy. On the edge of town are the Assembly Rooms, the site of many high society functions.

Here's a picture of me inside the baths! The water is very warm, but no, you can't jump in and swim.

Next up: The Caves at Cheddar Gorge, and Glastonbury: The Chalice Well and The Tor (aka the Isle of Avalon)




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