Commentary and pictures from our trip to the UK.

Friday, July 15, 2005

A trip to Stowe Garden and Bath

The Stowe-Bath trip (July 14th-15th) was particularly exciting for me b/c I didn’t see Bath the last time I was in England and really wanted to put images to the ideas I’ve gotten from my obsessive Austen reading of youth. First up was Stowe Garden. Stowe was interesting in a “I can’t believe how much money people will spend on constructing bizarre momuments to impress other people” kind of way, and the two minutes of silence for July 7th victims, which we observed at 12 at the Temple of British Worthies, was quite moving.

The group at the Temple of British Worthies

Back on the bus, we started driving through striking hilly country, covered by stiles and fields, and picturesque farms, then began descending toward Bath. It was HOT—over 90 even at 4 o’clock, and the city, much of it faced by a particular kind of golden-pinky off white rock quarried locally, glowed as we approached. The group stayed at the YMCA, while we were at the Travelodge around the corner. Less you think this was a step up, think again: yes, we had privacy, but no air conditioning. In a virtually airless room on the third floor, the heat was near intolerable.

That afternoon, I did a walking tour with some students and one of our program tutors, Rachel, then the family took Carol and Alix out for magnificent sea food. Jeremy and I then got the kids over to mom and dad’s slightly more ventilated room, and we went out for a pint with a few students.

Back at the room at closing time, we began suffering. With a window as wide open as we could make it, we tried to sleep, but even totally unclothed and covered, the heat was incredible. About 3, I got on the floor just under the window and covered myself with a cold wet towel: it helped slightly.

But, Bath did not disappoint on Friday. The entire group walked through Queen Anne’s Square, up past the Circus to the Royal Crescent, all examples of early urban planning, with an emphasis on connection and flow between private and public space. After this walk, we split into smaller groups. Ours hit the costume museum and recreated assembly rooms. I don’t have any pictures of this, but one highlight was trying on corsets.

Royal Crescent

You can find more information about Bath here.

Our pictures from this trip are available here.


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