As I strive to keep the tap-tap-tap sound of my fingers striking Tam’s laptop to a minimum – poor dear is passed out next to me – I begin with an apology for my recent tardiness. As many dear readers have pointed out, it has been sometime between blog entries, and for this I apologise.
Coincidentally, the time between blog updates is in inverse proportion to the time between pub sessions, but I consider these to be mutually exclusive.
We have now arrived in Dublin, and with some precious down time before our Shamrocker tour starts tomorrow morning, I can finally get to the past few days. That, and my hangover has cleared sufficiently so I can actually see what I am typing.
Considering the indulgent start to our Grand Tour, a trip to Spa Country seemed a fitting tonic so it was to Bath we made a day trip on Tuesday. Now I have been to Bath previously, but as Tam has never seen this Georgian gem, I was more than happy to return. My first trip to Bath was also about as useful as a chocolate tea pot; after arriving with a group of friends in 2008, we proceeded to walk aimlessly around town for about an hour, at which point it started to snow. We proceeded to the nearest pub – a Wetherspoons from memory – and didn’t leave for the rest of the day. What a day.
While most sequels suck, Bath II was brilliant. We arrived just in time for the walking tour, after which we grabbed a cheeky pint near the Pulteney Bridge and then some Marks and Sparks sangers and crisps for a sit down lunch in the shadow of Bath Abbey.
Feeling suitably full, we strapped on our tourist helmets and made our way over to Bath’s chief attraction, the Roman Baths. Dating back to 60AD, the baths were being used well before the Romans arrived, who later built a temple dedicated to the water god Sulis, renaming the town Aquae Sulis. With the fall of the Roman Empire, the baths fell into disuse, until the British stumbled upon them in the 16th century, catapulting Bath to the forefront of high society. By the 18th century, Bath was one of the largest cities in Britain and thanks to the calendar of events organised by such society darlings as Beau Nash, the town became the hip place for the aristocracy to mingle.
You can’t actually bath in the Roman Baths – a sensible move considering the Georgians were throwing people with all kinds of ailments into the so-called healing waters – but luckily there are other places you can. Much like the cashed-up bluebloods who got their bath on centuries ago, Tam and I decided to test the waters (pardon the pun) for ourselves.
While three hours of mineral baths, steam room therapy and dinner will set you back 40 quid each, it was soooo worth it. Probably also not a bad idea to get the naked-in-front-of-strangers out the way at the beginning of our trip while our bodies retain the look and feel of actual human beings. A couple of sessions in the lavender-scented steam rooms, a light dinner of braised lamb on a bed of apricot cous cous and asparagus with a cheeky glass of red, and I was glowing. Tam, more sensibly, stuck to cranberry juice with her meal.
Besides Bath, our last days in London were filled with social events, with a larger than expected night with the old RBS crew on Friday night followed by more drinks on Saturday for the Champions League final the highlights. Damn you Jager. It’s been brilliant seeing everyone, the only downside being we just didn’t have enough time to do everything we had originally planned.
Our 7-day tour of Irelands starts tomorrow with a visit to the Blarney Stone and a night in Killarney, so there probably won’t be another update until next weekend. Photos, as always, to come.
Until then, Céad slán!