A trip a month. That is the plan. April’s trip will be to the Chelsea Westminster Hospital but the rest are outside of London. A trip a month.
January was a full month for us – we focused on moving into a flat and being available to make friends. Both important for our life here. So our travel for January was going to be within England. Mat connected with a colleague from a previous project in the Caribbean and learned that she and her family lived in Bath and she asked if we wanted to meet them there for lunch one Saturday. We thought this was a great idea and would make the perfect little January-in-England trip.
It had snowed that week and even the night before we were worried we wouldn’t make it. The word in London is that a single snowflake can shut down the train system. Luckily we had no problems getting there at all and left our house bright and early for a day in Bath.
We arrived to a beautiful town nestled into a valley surrounded by snow covered mountains. It was so. pretty. The snow was melting fairly quickly and everything was primarily slush on the streets but the surrounding views made it still seem very wintery – that and the fact that the wind seemed to have picked up and it was really cold. So cold in fact I kept my hands in my pockets. When I went to download the pictures to add to this post I realized I had taken a grand total of four pictures on our camera. I had to combine them with those from Mats phone and my instagram to get anything fairly comprehensive.
We met up with Mats college at the train station and walked with her to the restaurant to meet her husband and their two daughters. I had only been introduced to her once before and it was in Barbados. We were visiting Crane beach and happened to run into her while we were walking along the sandy shore. This time I shook her hand we had traded the sand/scantily clad beach attire for snow/layers and layers of clothing. It was an exercise in opposites. We had lunch with her and her family at a really awesome gastropub called Hall & Woodhouse– it was multiple stories, huge glass windows, a modern take on classic English design with a fireplace, fish & chips and coconut curry. The company was as impressive as the gastropub and we had a great time – we are looking forward to more lunches/dinners with this really cool family.
After lunch Mat and I walked around this quaint town. It’s city centre was super cute and we got to meander through the cobblestone streets walking in and out of precious little home stores and modern boutiques. There is also a section full of all the chains that make the retail world go round. Something for everyone really. The town was established as a Roman spa and continues to be a spa town to this day. We didn’t actually go to a spa or the hot springs but on our next visit I am sure we will do just that. We did however make our way into one of the local pubs. I was really cold and actually pretty tired and Mat was unsurprisingly feeling like the day would not be complete without a cask ale. We found our way back to a pub we had seen along one of the cobblestone side streets called The Raven. It was a great pub. Very English. It was small, multiple stories and smelled a little bit like old wood. Mat enjoyed his cask ale and I enjoyed sitting indoors.
We debated staying the night. We came ridiculously close. We should have stayed, really. It would have been the best decision. Our neighbor had a party that night and we ended up sleeping basically zero. And Bath is cute and probably quite at night. But we didn’t stay. We returned home on the train, ordered in Thai food and watched a movie on our computer while we regretted not staying in this sweet English town that we recommend you visit if you get the chance.