After lunch we boarded our coaches for our trip to Bath. Our coach driver took the scenic route for us, pointing out various places that were used to film portions of the “Harry Potter” movies. Even though the hedgerows were tall, our coach afforded us an optimal view of the countryside. Sheep grazing in green pastures and sweeping views from the top of one of the lush rolling hills were in order for the day. At one point, our coach got held up by a bit of local traffic in one of the idyllic towns we traveled through. It was the drop-off time for the town’s school and our students cooed and waved as we watched a line of adorable young children, each dressed in their red school uniform and carrying their lunch boxes, filed into the building while moms with babies on their hips waved them good bye for the day. Soon we were on our way again and moments later we began to descend into the city of Bath.
Bath is an ancient city, which includes a temple built by the Romans in 60-70 AD, who used the local hot springs to bathe and honor the goddess Minerva, which was their equivalent to the Celtic goddess, Sulis. Most of the architecture of Bath is Georgian and many of the streets are terraced into the sides of the hills surrounding the baths. We took a tour of the city and stopped to take a picture of the famous Royal Crescent.
Our coach pulled up next to Bath Abbey and let us off for our tour. It was drizzling and while we waited in line at the entrance to the baths, we were entertained by a street performer who was singing and playing his guitar and views of the plaza and the Abbey. We were each given a token that looked like a Roman Coin that served as our entry ticket.
Once inside the baths, you are treated to an abundance of information on the life of the Romans and the traditions and rituals surrounding the baths along with archaeological artifacts that have been reclaimed while restoring the baths. Below is a likeness of the goddess Sulis.
This was one of the original mosaics that lined the floors and walls of the Bath.
The Romans had a few different chambers for different types of bathing and rituals. We saw how they channeled water into and out of the bath as well as how they used the hot spring and tiles under the floors to keep the upper floors warm for the bathers. If you wanted to curse someone for a crime, say, stealing your clothes while you were bathing, you would scratch your curse onto a metal scroll and toss it into the bath, asking the goddess Minerva/Sulis to grant you the curse upon your foe.
There were no foes in our group and the children really loved seeing the baths and taking a few moments to snap some photos of their friends!
After we exited the baths, we were able to visit Bath Abbey. This building sits on the site of an earlier Norman church, but Bishop Oliver King decided to reclaim the then ruined building and rebuilt the current abbey around 1499.
The front of Bath Abbey represents a dream had by Bishop Oliver King of the ascension of the royal family. Note the angels climbing the ladder of the throne!
On our way back to Sherborne, some wise souls took the time to catch up on a few winks of shut-eye before they ate dinner and returned to the Big School room for more rehearsals and their chaperons enjoyed a much deserved evening at a local pub before it was time for curfew and lights-out. The next day was our first performance in Sherborne and we wanted to be prepared.