Thursday, August 20, 2009

Crazy Computers...and Then the Roman Baths

Argh!! A crazy morning...we got up thinking we would have a relaxing day. I started to load pictures for the blog, only to discover that we had the same problem with our camera that we had in the Antarctic. For some crazy reason, the camera card gets corrupted at some point. It continues to let you take pictures, but when you go to view them and download them, presto! They're gone! I was absolutely sick...all our beautiful pictures from our bus tour yesterday. Stonehenge at sunset, visiting the Roman Baths...visions of our relaxing day went down the drain.

We went out in search of a place that might do a recovery on our card. After a couple of camera shops and electronics stores, we realized that we were on our own. We downloaded some recovery software and did the happy dance!! No, we didn't get them all back, but yes!..Stonehenge was recovered. I was over-the-moon happy!! Still not sure what is causing this problem...

So the day ended on a great note...had a nice dinner at an Italian restaurant and went to see Jersey Boys. It was an excellent show!!


Here I am madly blogging...before we discovered the problem. I look quite calm here!


And now...back to the blog and our bus tour. Yesterday was a full day. We took a bus tour to visit Bath and Stonehenge. This tour was advertised as a private, 16 person capacity tour that takes you into the inner circle of Stonehenge at sunset. When we got to the pick-up point at the Cumberland Hotel, we realized that it was a full bus (50+ people), but what the heck...we were on our way.

This is the lobby of the Cumberland Hotel...way too high tech and modern for me!


Not sure what this is, but a great conversation piece!


Beautiful English countryside...this is a lovely part of England.


Heading towards Bath...


Ireland has nothing on this part of England for picturesque landscapes!


Here is a postcard of part of the City of Bath showing the layout. I just couldn't get my head around where we were until I saw it presented like this.

The city was founded around naturally occurring hot springs where the Romans built baths and a temple, giving it the name Aquae Sulis. Edgar was crowned King at the Bath Abbey in 973. Much later it became a popular spa resort during the Georgian era, which led to a major expansion of the city.


In the postcard, the round cirle at the bottom is called the Royal Circus and the half circle above it is called the Royal Crescent.

John Wood the Elder was an English architect, who studied Stonehenge and designed the Royal Circus with Stonehenge as the model. The Circus has exactly the same diameter as the platform at Stonehenge and contains 30 apartments to represent the 30 vertical columns in the outer circle at Stonehenge.

The Royal Crescent, designed by his son, John Wood the Younger, also contains 30 apartments. Both sites were designed to provide luxury accommodations for those people coming to visit the Roman Baths in the 1750s.

Bath street scene....notice the many chimneys. The more flues you had, the more wealthy you were perceived as being.


The Royal Circus as it stands today. Our guide told us that Johnny Depp (my Johnny!) just bought one of these apartments for 6 million pounds.


The Royal Crescent as it stands today...


A flower garden in front of the Crescent...


Some of the sculptures adorning the street leading into the City...


Heading towards the Roman Baths...


Like any tourist town, buskers were performing all around...


At the entrance to the Roman Baths...




The Romans began to develop Bath as a spa and as a centre of pagan worship around the hot springs in 60 A.D. They continued to develop the hot springs site into an elaborate spa until 400 A.D., when they were driven from the area by the local warlords.

After this time (the Dark Ages), the site fell into complete ruin. A second city was built on the ruins during medieval times, but was again allowed to fall into ruins. In the early 1600s, the Baths were improved and the city began to attract aristocracy. Around 1670, doctors began to attribute some healing powers to the water and this caught the attention of people who began to flock to the city.

The Roman Baths with the beautiful Bath Abbey...


One of the statues surrounding the baths, representing significant leaders including Julius Caesar...


A stone that was found and through its inscription helped to establish the date of the Baths...


A model that shows what the Baths eventually looked like. The high building with the cutaway portion is the baths themselves. The rest of the site is the temple that was built to worship Sulis Minerva.


This is the concept of the original pediment that would have appeared on one of the buildings.



These of the parts of it were recovered....


This lady's head shows a hairstyle common to the 1st century. This stone was uncovered in 1715.


This stone carving of Mercury and his consort Rosmerta was found in the Roman Baths...


Part of the courtyard that has been excavated...


Gilt bronze head of the statue of Sulis Minerva found in 1727...



The Baths served many purposes. People threw tablets with curses written on them into the Baths believing they would be carried out.


The small bath where the original spring bubbles up...


It is definitely recommended that you do not touch the water. Algae, bird poop, and 2000 years of hot spring water is not a healthy combination.


The beautiful Bath Abbey originally built around 800 A.D. It was re-roofed and fully restored in 1611, and during 1991 to 2000 was cleaned, restored and the organ was rebuilt.





The intricate ceiling...


The nave includes a stained glass wall showing 56 scenes from the life of Jesus.


From Bath, it was back on the bus to head to Lacock and Stonehenge...

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