Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Wanna Take A Bath?

London was everything I had hoped it would be, and more. Now it was time to jump on a bus and explore a bit of the countryside, something I did not do the last time I was here. National Express is the bus of choice in this country and the fares are "western" reasonable. The train is about 20% more expensive but with the cost of hotels, food and attractions the 15% savings is important. Now that being said, like anywhere else but North America, the bus systems here is impressive. This is not your Greyhound experience.

There is so much to see and do in England and Wales that I tend to overlook how dominant England has been throughout history. Maybe because they were such shit heads during their colonial period I tend to ignore the massive reach that they had. I am a complete history nerd and it's obvious that is the reason why I get all the girls. Girls love talking about historical ruins and the politics of 1000 years ago and how they are the creation of our modern political and social system. It's exhausting being so historically sexy.

Whenever I visit various places in the world I am also reminded of the reach of the Roman Empire and England was not immune to Roman conquest. This brings me to Bath, so named because of the hot springs that became the Roman Baths. The hot springs were discovered in 836 BC and the Romans built the first temple in 60 AD and continued to develop them over the next 300 years. Today they are a tourist attraction that costs $30 to enter and you cannot go in the water. However when you decide to go, as you should, go at night. It is historic, romantic and eerily beautiful.

I stayed at Bath University, which was a 40 minute walk into town however there were buses every 15 minutes. I did both. The University also had a great pub. Great in the sense of the price of a pint otherwise it was lame. I met a group of over 65's who were cycling around England. One guy was 79 and I swear he looked no more than 50. I also met a group of woman and each one of them could have beat the living crap out of me at any moment. It turns out they were the Bath champion woman's rugby team who gathered at the university to participate in a local all day 6's Rugby tournament at the local rugby grounds. After way too many pints and them trying to explain the rules to me, I swear they were going to use me as the ball at any moment, they gave me a free ticket to the event. I promised I would be there.

Rugby is the game of hooligans played by gentleman whereas football is the game of gentlemen played by hooligans. This was a local tournament so you could buy a coffee/beer and stand on the sidelines as you would a high school football game. Holy Crap! What a game. The women were fantastic in their skill and determination, the guys' were disturbing in their love of the brutality. After "my girls" won their first match I watch the guys game afterwards. On the first play from kickoff, two mountains collided and shook the earth. One got up and the other was taken off in a stretcher. Not to be considered weak, he showed up later in the day in a wheel chair and full leg cast. Let me make sure I am clear. This tournament is no different than the years I played Slo-Pitch Baseball at the Provincial and National level. I get the competition however I bow down to the awesome spirit and power of rugby.

I also managed to find a cricket match. I watched for about 30 minutes and realized it was 29 minutes more than I should have spent...watching freaking cricket.

Ultimately a fantastic walking town. 1000 year old Roman bridges and buildings mixed with Gothic style churches, long waterways with ancient style boats all mixed with camera ready tourists. I also spent so much time in Bath relaxing and listening to some of the best street performers I have ever heard. From classical to modern to solo acoustic there was some incredible skill being showcased.

Bath was so much more than I expected considering it was a random choice to stop. Touristy? You betcha however the sexy historical aspects far outweigh the hoards of camera toting confused faces. History makes me happy. I am cool like that.

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