Bath England was a first for both Shannon and me. We rented another flat off of airb&b.com, sadly we didn't arrive until late to enjoy its beauty! 😢. The place was absolutely amazing it was an old row house with every amenity possible!! It also had a back balcony that opened completely with a fountain and a gorgeous view. The place was called the ArtPad with local artists art work adorning the walls offering you the opportunity to not only enjoy the art but purchase it as well! This host thought of everything including a parking pass waiting for us when we arrived, fresh milk in the refrigerator, and a welcome basket including a bottle of wine and snacks! We are loving trying the airb&b.com option, we are finding that the prices are actually cheaper and you get so much for the value!!
We had researched doing the Roman Baths and the Spa associated with it. The prices were extremely reasonable so we decided to give it a try! We did not think about it being Valentine's Day weekend so all the services were booked but the Mineral Water pools and the collection of 4 steam rooms all with a different aroma therapy were available for the one low price of only £32 for 2 hours!! I had never done a steam room before so that was quite an experience to me!! If you know me I have a love for menthol so the Eucalyptus Menthol steam room was my favorite, sandalwood not so much!! 😝
Let me back up a bit.... If you have not traveled Europe you may not be aware of many things being unisex...toilets, changing room, shower areas all in one!! As a person that's not used to that when coming out of a toilet or changing room to have a guy waiting for your space, still catches me off guard even after being around it for over a week!
This Roman Bath spa has thought of everything from a crisp white robe, slippers, a fresh towel for after your shower, to a machine that rings out your bathing suit to almost dry, to smart wrist bands that you use to purchase food or drink while visiting and then you scan it as you go to leave. If you owe anything the gate doesn't open and you go pay your bill, if you don't owe anything a little box opens, you drop the band in and the gate opens for you to exit!! OR if you are me and you're tall and not paying attention the gate can catch you high center between the legs and laugh while they have to reset to let you out!!!! One other funny that goes along with their amazing service is while waiting in line to go in I had to go to the bathroom. I asked this very friendly guy working if I could use the toilet (restroom is not a common term, confuses people here!) his response was "sure, I'll take you and WAIT with you!" There is nothing more embarrassing than when you say back to that, "it could be a while I have a very upset stomach today! 😜" he was very polite and said, " no rush I'll wait!!" And he did but he might not offer that next time unless he enjoyed the very long break I gave him! 😜
All funny things aside the Roman Bath Waters were amazing and soooo relaxing. The roof top mineral pool offered not only the wonderful 92 degree waters but a spectacular view of the city! The inside pool offered a bubbly area similar to a hot tub you stand in, a lazy river type section where the water flowed so you could just float and a spot that had water streaming out almost in a fire hydrant force that you could let beat your back and neck!!! The steam room was one big room with 4 Individual pods of steam rooms each with their own aromatherapy and in the center being a gigantic waterfall of cool water that you could stand under after visiting each steam pod!! We truly left this experience relaxed and excited to go back next visit...a definite must!!!
You may or may not know this about me but I can get on my soap box about eating and supporting local and how important that is to our own local community. When I travel I tend to eat wherever because it is not my local community, but let me tell you what I encountered while in Bath. While trying to find an eatery we stopped and talk to a gentlemen that we believe was the owner of a local restaurant that had just closed and asked him where we could get food still...his response was "I wish my chef hadn't just left or I would cook for you and the other place still open is a chain and I don't eat chains so I can't tell you if it's any good!" As we continued to wander the streets looking for a place to eat we saw multiple signs in business windows that said "proud local independent retailer of Bath"! The place we did end up finding open was a corner Kabab joint with an extremely delightful guy behind the counter that we ended up learning was the owner himself working at 11pm at night, while also owning multiple locations. We chatted for while about being small business and all that is involved. It doesn't matter whether you are in the UK or Topeka KS all small business owners are faced with the same challenges and competition of formulated chains. It was nice to see someone with such a heart and passion for his local business! We had chicken kababs, hummus, and chips (fries) and it was deelish!!!
We then headed off to our final stop in the UK for a nights stay in the Cotswolds. We rolled into town to find that the inn we had booked was let me just say...not going to work for a variety of reasons!! This was the only booking that I could not visualize before arriving...they didn't offer many pictures...and left out it was up multiple flights of narrow stairs...with zero floor space to sort our 4 bags of luggage before we had to fly the next day and that is once we got them up the flights of narrow stairs..etc etc!! We decided to not unpack, just go eat and ponder our situation. We are sooooo glad we did. We ate at a wonderful little Italian restaurant. After eating we decided to grab another stout and cider from the bar and sit and enjoy their cozy leather sofas in the lounge, it was so peaceful. While paying our final tab the gal who had been just delightful asked us where we were staying and we just kinda frowned and she said you should stay with us!! She took us to show us a room and offered it to us for really cheap once she heard our story!! The room was perfect, spacious, first floor, clean and even had an adorable chandelier!!
Shannon had never been to this part of the country and traveling back roads makes me so happy so off we went! We drove the back roads of the Cotswolds seeing amazing country side, beautiful stone villages, many thatched roofs and scenery to die for!!! After running the roads for a while we headed to Birmingham England to catch our flight to Dublin Ireland. We are currently in the car heading 3 hours south to Kinsale Ireland to explore for the next two days!! Once again we flew Ryan Air and we had it down this time....boarding passes ready..check....all suitcases checked and carried on with proper weight distributed to the pound (or kg if in UK) check...all electronics including iPads and phones out of carry on bags for security scanners but shoes get left on!!...check. We boarded our quick 40 min flight, with a row to ourselves, a fun couple behind us that photo bombed our photo and me getting scolded by the flight attendant for talking during his safety presentation ... I was mortified!!! But overall great and fast flight...excited to be in Ireland!
Off we go to the main Jameson distillery!