We stayed at Elgin Villa in an overly large room (a queen and two extra singles, wish we'd brought some more people!) quite close to the center of town, slept 9 hours both nights, went to some lovely CAMRA listed pubs (the Volunteer Rifleman's Arms and The Raven), saw two nights of Baroque Opera at the Theater Royal Bath, hit the Christmas market over and over again (couldn't get away from it, really, since it was also Smack Dab in the Middle of Town), bought some books (ooh, I held out for a month!), looked at costumes, and generally Frittered Our Time (and Money) Away. And we bought cheese, because Bath has an awesome cheesemonger's shop but also a stand selling Bath Soft Cheeses.
And, of all things, I got my hair done, because I could and the price was right, so I'm sitting here right now with red dye slathered all over my forelock and forehead. I kind of feel like I should be calling some folks in the US (like my sister), but I'm just so darned tired right now, even though I napped on the train, that I can hardly imagine it happening. I have stories to tell and anecdotes to share but ... God, who really cares.
Well ... okay, maybe just a bit. I can cut tag it. Our first night we decided to see if we could get tickets to see the English Touring Opera's performance for the night (Carissimi's Jephte and Purcell's Dido and Aeneas. We were lucky and got the 5 pound bench seats in the back - and the performance was quite sold out! The music was very good, but there was no set to speak of for either show, and the performers seemed to have forgotten that they could actually act while they sang, if they chose to. But for the price, we had no complaints, and figured the next night, with Monteverdi's Orfeo, would make up for it.
Alas, this was not the case; though Orfeo had MORE of a set, the stage direction was atrocious! It was, in fact, so bad that it DISTRACTED from the action on the stage. Lovely quartet? How about having Orpheus have sex under a blanket while we're listening to the people sing? Solo? How about having people get in a stick fight off on the side? We really just did not get what they were thinking, and, at the higher price we'd paid for these tickets, we felt quite annoyed. Come on, folks! It's not like there aren't people in this country who know how to direct! We were glad, though, we'd gone both nights, because if Saturday had been the "highlight" of our trip, I would have considered the weekend perhaps not all that well spent!
Friday night after our show we headed off down the windy (as in "thin and spiralling") streets of Bath and wound up at the Volunteer Rifleman's Arms. Wow, first pub with a cider that wasn't Strongbow I'd been to in ages! I suggested to shadowdaddy he start a beer blog - and he started taking notes.
Anyway, they had this incredible Havana Club rum that I remembered getting in Madrid a few years ago, and MAN did I want to get a shot! But after my pint of cider I was already pretty buzzed and not up to the expense. But then a bunch of middle-aged men came into the bar and were kind of falling all over us, getting in our way, trying to get an order for 10 together - and one of them bought me a drink to apologize for shouting in my ear. Yum, vanilla rum burning its way into my guts! It did make for a bit of a long walk home, though. Now I need to get myself a new bottle of it to keep me company in the flat.
Saturday's two hours in the hair chair left me a little shocked and not in good condition to go sit in warm puddles of water, so we held off on going to the spa until Sunday. The Thermae Spas are not too expensive (20 pounds per person for two hours, but they make up for it with 2.50 towel rental, good gods!) and well-laid out, with a pool in the basement, four "aromatherapy" steam rooms (though the eucalyptus one smelt of cat box to me, ick), and the quite neat roof pool. However, the pools just weren't warm enough for us, and I really wanted a proper jacuzzi. Still, we spent a very nice hour and a half chilling and soaking, and it was a nice end to our weekend.