Day 135: Bristol to Bath England, Friday September 1st
What a nice way to begin our final month of touring. After breakfast we talked with Jasmine and Dan in their lovely little garden, telling them how much we liked Bristol, and why. The neighbour was barbecuing something that smelled delicious, and before we left his son, who was dressed in a very smart robe, presented Dan with some food for Eid.
It was a short climb up to the Bristol/Bath cycleway, and soon we were enjoying the flat and beautiful trail.
We stopped at a grocery store to pick up lunch, and stopped again in front of a pub to fiddle with my mushy brakes. It was sunny and warm, and we had time to kill before we could check in at Bath, so we had a leisurely pint too.
A little farther along the cycleway we noticed tracks, and a small train platform that appeared to still be in use. Soon we reached Bitton Station, on the Avon Valley Railway. There was a steam train idling, and lots of people enjoying a little park. This short railway (3 miles, and expanding), we discovered, is a project undertaken entirely by volunteers who re-laid track in the 70’s, and restored the station and platforms, and now operate it as a recreational train.
Our Airbnb was on a hill overlooking Bath, and we ended up pushing the bikes a ways up sidewalk on a busy street. Pedro, our young host, seemed a bit quiet at first, but soon he was giving us good advice about how to best walk into town and what to see on the way.
After cleaning up we followed his directions and walked up into Alexandra Park where we got a great view of whole city.
From there, we took a path down to the streets below.
Deb had downloaded a Jane Austen walking tour onto her phone. It started at Bath Abbey and wound all through town. At each stop we listened to readings from her books and historical information about her life and the buildings. It was a great, free, way to get a feel for the city. A highlight for me was strolling the secluded, gently rising Gravel Walk while listening to a passage from Persuasion, where (spoiler alert) Captain Wentworth and Anne Elliot of Persuasion stroll when they are finally reconciled.
Deb loves Georgian architecture, and Bath is like a giant Georgian amusement park. All the buildings are built out of the same white stone, and it feels like a place frozen in time.
Distance: 25 km