07 September, 2011

It's Not Pronounced Bath, it's Pronounced Baahth

Perhaps there are remnants of its Roman origins in the pronunciation, or perhaps it's difficult to pronounce the town name, Bath, with an American accent and sound like you know what you're talking about.  When Sarah pronounces Baahth it sounds natural.  When I pronounce it with that slightly drawn out vowel in the middle I sound like I've just had a bucket of ice water dumped on my head mid-word, but I've continued trying to finish what I'm saying.

One of the most amazing things about Bath is of course the Roman Bath.  The Romans were known for their baths throughout their empire, and left a lasting bathing tradition at least in Turkey.  Coming from warmer Mediterranean climates, the Romans must have been over the moon to discover that there were hot springs in Britain.  Assuming the jet stream hit Britain in approximately the same way in the first century AD as it does today, Britain's weather may have been a shock to the system of the Romans.  The town was not only a place to clean oneself, but there was religious ritual attached in the form of a temple on the site with the baths and people went there to restore their health.  For centuries the healing powers of the baths have been sought, which is why Jane Austin herself, as well as some of the characters she wrote about, went there as recently as the 19th century (Austin lived there as a result of her father's poor health, not her own).  It was quite a posh thing to do!

My favorite things to do is stick my hand over the water at the baths to feel how hot it is.  I find the entire principle that the hot water just comes up from the ground to be amazing.  That's not where the fun ends.  They let you drink the water at the baths!  Not the green scummy stuff in the large pool in the middle of the building (they actively warn people off from getting too close to that water), but much cleaner water.  You'll even find a challenge from Bill related to trying the water.

But Bath is the middle of the trip.  Before that you will have been to Wells Cathedral which towers in front of you as you cross the green towards the west front.  Check out the really cool clock inside, too!  At Glastonbury you will have toured what's left of the cathedral and possibly even climbed the Tor.  And at Avebury you will have seen Bill's favorite rock in the world, the Devil's Seat.  After leaving Bath you'll move onto the final stop of the trip, Stonehenge.  I hope as many people as possible jump in front of it.  I don't know the significance of this tradition, but that's never stopped traditions being upheld in the past.
Enjoy the trip!

-Claire

1 comment:

  1. I like the jump at Stonehenge, but I prefer the "human henge" in which two people stand holding a third above their heads -- now that's a pose!

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