On the last leg of our full-day tour, we landed in Bath and ran around the town in a light spring rain.
The first majestic sight that greeted our eyes was the Bath Cathedral, a gorgeous, soaring structure that towered above the surrounding town. There’s a reason for the grandeur of the place: Bath Cathedral was built during the perpendicular Gothic period, when architects put emphasis on vertical lines. Neat, really, the way that some buildings practically pull your eyes heavenward so that you’re craning your neck without realizing it.
Magnificent, isn’t it? The way that every window stretches forwards to point to the skies, the absolute amount of work that must have gone into modeling every arch and facet.
You really can’t help but be stunned by the buildings there. It’s buildings like this that make me wish Canada had a longer history, but in truth we are a young country, just introduced into the world.
Even further, I am the child of recent immigrants, and have been plucked and born into a culture that I cannot really call my own, a culture that does not have much to celebrate except that it tries to be firmly and strongly politically correct (and I can’t honestly say how much of that should be celebrated).
I realize being in England and the continental Europe has really given me a new-found appreciation for architecture. Old buildings like this keep me humble: I realize my own youth and the youth of my country, the fact that putting value on my past is a little silly when I compare to histories much longer and varied than mine. And old buildings like this help me keep perspective: they remind me how small I am and how thousand of people like me will pass around its massive foundations in the years to come.
I wonder what Jane Austen thought of the cathedral. She used to live in Bath, doncha know.
Of course, the general population of our tour bus went running off to the Roman-style baths, the spas for which Bath is mostly known. We went walking in the shops around the area instead, because again, we didn’t feel like paying a chunk of cash for a harried amount of picture-snapping.
The touristy-areas near the cathedral reminded us very much of Banff. We stopped for a chicken-filled Cornish pasty and to watch a man make fudge, and then we found a small marketplace that sold treacle tart (Potter’s preferred pudding! I’m on an alliteration roll today, I apologize)!
We bought a wedge (apparently it can be served cold) and then kept on wandering, finally stopping at another used bookstore to buy several omnibuses of Agatha Christie’s work. Oh glory.
And we bought all this for £13.00 :D
In no time at all the bus was readied to carry us back to London and we got back on, feeling quite warm and full after the pasty and treacle tart. I’m starting to realize that while some tourist attractions certainly hold a lot of value, there’s also something to be said for simply experiencing a town through its streets and shops, even if only for a few hours.
Goodbye, Bath. Maybe we’ll come back to your Roman spas some day.