Jason jokes that our tag line should be, “Travel Junkies: just out searching for Romans.” As we have traveled through Europe and Northern Africa we, especially our daughter Sydney, have become more and more obsessed with anything Roman. Sydney is frequently looking up facts about Romans on the Internet, has been reading all sorts of books about the Romans including our favorite series “Horrible Histories,” and watching tons of videos on Youtube. She is rapidly becoming a walking encyclopedia about all things Roman.
So, as we travel if we find out there are Roman ruins in the area, the site is guaranteed to be added to our must-see list. Once we settled on staying in the English town of Bath for part of the month of May, we knew that the Roman Baths were a must. After all, no trip to Bath would be complete without visiting the Roman Baths.
Bath has a natural hot spring, which has drawn people to the area for thousands of years due to its’ alleged healing powers. The Romans knew Bath as Aquae Sulis. Over several hundred years, they built an extensive bathhouse that included a hot bath, warm bath, and cold bath area. After the withdrawal of the Romans from England the baths were covered by silt and were lost for several centuries. They were rediscovered in the late 19th century at which time a terrace was built around the original baths to help display this marvelous wonder.
After reading up on the Roman baths, we were off. We had read that the Roman baths can become very busy during the day, so we arrived early to avoid the crowds. This strategy seemed to work well, as it was not too crowded when we arrived. After paying what felt like an arm and a leg for admission, we grabbed our free audio guide and began the tour. Wow! Though we suffered sticker shock from the admission price, it was well worth it. We spent several hours meandering through the subterranean baths and museum in awe of the Roman ingenuity. But what was more surprising is that Sydney outlasted us all. The museum has an excellent child audio guide with activities that kept Sydney’s attention.
Unfortunately, all good things have to come to an end. After several hours, and with rumbling stomachs, we decided that we should probably leave. But before leaving, we had two last things to do. In keeping with Roman tradition, we threw our coins into the spring making wishes. The other must-do activity? It was sampling the famous bathwater of course. After tasting the bathwater, I can now say that I will not do that again. The water was luke warm, filled with minerals, and pretty nasty tasting. Jason commented that it tasted like bath water.