Thursday, October 22, 2015

Bath, Buns, Bonnets and Birthdays

I vaguely remember going to Bath on a choir trip during my freshman year of college. We were hitting up a few cities in Europe and were able to do one of those day trips that stop at Stonehenge en route to Bath for the afternoon. I know we saw some Roman baths and I always remembered it being very pretty, but that was about it. So when Cousin and I were brainstorming our plans for my most recent trip to London, I decided it was high time I visit such a renowned little city again, if for nothing else than my everlasting penchant for fancying myself a Jane Austen heroine.

Though we were out a bit late the night before, when eating dinner in the dark, we got an early start to Bath, hopping a train from Paddington Station. It was not the best day for frolicking, a bit cold and overcast, but little things like the weather have never made these two Hot Blonde Cousins slow down before! After wandering the streets for a while, our first real stop was at the official Roman baths, where we spent time exploring all of the preserved ruins and listening to our trusty audio guides. The great thing about traveling with Cousin is that she and I are happy to let each other move along at our own pace and neither of us takes way longer or slower than the other. The architecture of the building is truly stunning and there was frankly very little preventing me from intentionally plummeting headfirst into the steamy pools.

After our historic romp, we decided it was past time for lunch and so made way to a local eatery called Sally Lunn's, which claims to be the oldest house in Bath. Whether this accolade is true or not, it is definitely home to scrumptious buns which are a must have when visiting this fair city. The line of tourists out the door waiting to be seated proved its popularity and also gave us time to peruse the menu. Almost immediately we saw a sign advertising a "Tipsy Tea" which of course was instantly enticing. This included a sampling of savory buns and sugary sweets all with an alcoholic theme and was accompanied by a hot pot of mulled tea. Done and done.

Post-foodstuffs and libations, our final stop before catching our train back to London would be the Jane Austen Centre. I considered Cousin to be a very good sport indeed since she has never read any Austen and doesn't have quite the same obsession with Edwardian or Victorian or Regency period romance. The Centre itself is not home to a great deal, truth be told. There are timed entrances when you are given a short lecture by a Jane Austen expert and then allowed to view the museum area. This includes various artifacts from the age, information on Jane, her history and works, but most importantly some hands-on sections where you can do things like practice writing with a quill or.... try on Austen-esque costumes... Yesssssss... This was of course a no-brainer for me, and my valiant cousin only hesitated a little at the idea of donning regency garb, taking staged photos, and allowing me to plaster them all over Facebook. For me, it was essentially heaven. Well, that and the gift shop where I spent too much money on books and baubles.

Our day had already been jam-packed by the time we traveled back to London, but there was still more to come. While we primped and pampered for our evening out, Cousin once again indulged my whim and we ordered some delicious Indian fare, as is my custom whenever in the UK. At long last we were ready to head out about town and attend a birthday party for one of my dear friends from Paris four years ago. She was already a bit gone by the time we arrived, but it was wonderful to be able to spend some time and celebrate her new year. Fortunately, I would also be seeing her the next weekend when she visited Paris so it was a win-win either way. Cousin and I didn't stay out too late that evening, as we had another long day of partying to come. Such is the life of two stunning single gals.

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