A while ago I took the train to Bristol to meet up with Jade, an old school friend who I hadn’t seen since leaving high school. We were planning on exploring Bath and Bristol. I thought I would have a sleep on the train as I’d had a fairly busy few days previously with little sleep but nope that didn’t happen for several reasons.
The first being that my nose was too busy being pressed against the window to get much sleep. The views were stunning, the first part of the trip we went across the coastline, the water crashing against the rocky cliffs was mesmerising. They looked kind of silky but rough at the same time even though that doesn’t make much sense. The spray of the waves coming up the rocks was very dramatic and picturesque.
The second reason was that I played musical chairs. Someone was sitting in my seat when I first got on the train but me being me, I didn’t say anything so I took up residence on a different seat until I got told I was in someone else’s seat further along the line so I apologised and moved to a different seat. I then got booted out of that seat straight away so finally found another one and settled happily. Until the next stop when I got moved again. Thankfully the guy sitting in my seat was getting off at that stop so I managed to finally sit down without interruption for the rest of the trip.
I was kind of nervous about seeing Jade again seeing that we hadn’t seen each other for a good 12 or so years. I wondered if the visit was going to be filled with awkward silences and we wouldn’t have anything in common again. Luckily it was fine and just like we had seen each other only last week but with lots of catching up to do.
The only difference being that we were both a little older and she has lost her kiwi accent. I don’t know why I expected her to still have her accent after living in the UK for 12 years and moving over here quite young. It was funny listening to her speak. She probably thought it was funny listening to a kiwi accent after being surrounded by English ones for so long.
The Roman Baths
Bath was so fascinating, it is steeped in history. I got a sore neck from looking up so much. We visited the Roman Baths. I didn’t realise how old they were (the fact that they are called the Roman Baths didn’t give it away, I’m just that observant). The temple itself was built in 60-80 AD and the baths were built in the following 300 years.
Our first view of the bath was from a terrace that looked down on it. There was a man dressed in Roman costume wandering around, the giant pillars and the statues looking down on the great bath made you feel like you had stepped back in time, well if you ignored all the tourists milling around it did.
We had a wander around the museum before going down to the Great Bath. There was a display of all the jewelry they found buried and a lot of it is similar to jewelry worn now, in fact you could even think that they had just popped by the warehouse (a kiwi department store), aged them slightly and chucked them in the display cabinet.
The Curse Tablets
The Roman Bath curse tablets that are in the museum were interesting to read. They were written to the goddess Sulis Minerva to curse the perpetrators of thefts and the return of the stolen goods and date back between the 2nd and 4th century AD. The curses were written in Latin on pieces of lead and pewter then thrown into the hot spring, some of them were quite graphic asking for the thieves to go mad or blind. One even reads, ‘May he who carried off Vilbia from me become as liquid as the water. May he who so obscenely devoured her become dumb’
Nothing like a little justice!
After the Baths we had a little wander around Bath Abbey. The sheer size of these Abbey’s are overwhelming. Bath Abbey was founded in the 7th century and rebuilt in the 12th and 16th centuries. It is a large gothic building and one of the largest in the West Country. It was slightly marred by the scaffolding and building work going on inside but still stunning nonetheless.
Sally Lunn Buns
On our way back to the car after a bit more exploration of the city we had to visit Sally Lunn’s House, the home of the Sally Lunn bun and the oldest house in Bath, being built in 1482. We were excited to try our buns later on that night along with our RJ’s licorice logs, fudge and NZ wine. By the time we had our dinner, sat around looking through old school photos and reminiscing about Kiwiland and high school we kind of forgot about our treats and only had the buns. They were quite different from Sally Lunn buns back home so were a little disappointed. They didn’t even have icing on them! But we can still say that we had Sally Lunn buns from the Sally Lunn House which is kinda cool.
The next day we explored Bristol. We had a walk around the shops and St Nicholas Market, so much to see! The market is run inside the Exchange which was built in the 1740’s. A market was held every Tuesday and Thursday from 1831. The markets are now held in the Exchange Mon-Sat. After the market, we found the museum and then it was back to the train station. This train journey back was much more relaxed with no musical chairs so I was happy. All in all a great trip with lots of interesting sights saw.