Monday, September 1, 2014

Tuesday, August 26, 2014, Southampton, England

Today we wake up in the Apsley House in Bath, England, and plan to sleep in Southampton with lots of activity in between.  We start with an excellent breakfast, well served.  Eggs Florentine...with a pound of spinach for each of us.  We reconfirm our decision to tour the Roman Baths today.  After spending nearly the whole day here, how in the world can we leave without seeing THE most important attraction in the city?

Big Black, on the left, will be turned back in today after more than 2 months.  She has served us well.

The Royal Mail truck seen all over the UK.

The Jazz Cafe, located on the edge of our parking lot, was a perfect stop...change for parking meter, potty and good coffee.  By the way, we found the parking lot on the FIRST try!  We are now experts on Bath one way streets, cup de sac streets and location of most parking lots.  And we certainly know where the Victoria Park is.

The Romans built this place after conquering most of Britannia in 44 AD.  They tried to make themselves and their visitors as comfortable as in Italy.  They chose this site because of the only warm springs in the UK.  The original baths were covered over by subsequent building over the years.  They were discovered and excavated in the 18th century.  The elevated walkway way built in the 18th century by Scottish architects, John Woods, the Elder and the Younger, father and son.  They also added the statues of Romans around the top.

These rocks are part of the original foundation built by the Romans.  The early Romans were really good engineers and builders.  We were able to walk down into and through parts of the foundation.

The original shrine was built on the site by the Celts to honor the goddess Sulis, whom the Romans identified with Minerva. 

Bill Bryson did some of the commentary in the Baths.  His comment was that she was intimidating and not very pretty -- I, Tom, agree.  He said that most of the men, however, looked like someone that you could share a pint with.

The hot water flows out of the springs at a rate of 1.25 million liters a day.  

In another section of the Baths, there is an immersion pool.  The Romans believed that the water had healing powers.  Legend has it that a Celtic king and his herd of pigs were cured of leprosy in 836 BC by wallowing in the warm mud of the springs

The Romans had hot rooms where they exercised, had massages, and other activities.  The rooms are darkened now to show how it would have been in those days of no electric lights.

This is the picture that you see in most of the ads.

Leaving The Baths and Bath behind, we head for Stonehenge.

If you've been to Stonehenge, you know that it is in the middle of nowhere.

And rain threatens.

We are obviously near an Army training base.

Kathy decided that a bunch of piled up rocks was not worth the risk of getting soaked.  I have wanted to see Stonehenge for a long time.  Kathy is reading/sleeping in the dry Big Black.

Stonehenge was a crematorium and burial ground.  The stones are placed such that they measure the movement of the sun through the year...and early calendar.

It amazes me how they could have stood the stones in exactly the right positions and then got those cap stones on there.  Those neo-Druids were amazing.

With the stones to my back, this shows that Stonehenge is located in a Kansas style prairie.

Hungry but running late for turning in the car in Southampton, we grab a quick bite.  An empty pub at 3 PM works.  More fish-n-chips.  Notice the lemon squeezer.  

Military traffic coming into Southampton.  Guess we ARE near an Army base!  

For the first time in two months and one week, our car is unloaded!!!  Tom is turning it in to the rental agency, Kathy is waiting with all the "stuff" more night in England and board the ship tomorrow.