But the train ride to Bath was smooth and quiet, and the Bath train station was about one twentieth the size of Paddington. The air was fresh and breezy, and a flowing green river curled around the station. If I were more of a Jane Austen fan, I probably would have freaked out. But I just took a deep breath and hoped things would be better and mellower from here on out.
They mostly have been. We checked into the Austen Guest House, which is a proper B&B, not a glorified (if cutely glorified) dorm like the Merlyn. We’re staying in a room with yellow walls and floral curtains and a basket of digestive biscuits. The town is full of butter-colored stone buildings. And tourists. It’s sort of a relief to be in the Palm Springs of England (we saw like five bachelor or bachelorette parties today), where it doesn’t feel shameful to look like a tourist.
We visited Bath Abbey, where a sort of priest/tour guide led us in the Lord’s Prayer, then suggested we visit the museum behind the abbey. Then dinner at the Pump Room, where you could drink healing spa water for fifty pence and peek at the king’s bath, an incomprehensively old stone structure with green-blue water and all sorts of cubbyholes carved into the stone.
Cathy, AK and I caught Bizarre Bath, a walking tour/comedy-and-magic show. It was better than it sounds, if a little random. A stuffed bunny did an impressive disappearing and reappearing act.