Thursday, September 24, 2015

Jane Austen Festival in Bath

Our time in Bath was wonderful!  But it didn't start out that way.  We arrived earlier on Friday than we anticipated, so I decided to drive to the Jane Austen Center in downtown Bath.  I never expected all the steep and narrow streets with bumper to bumper traffic.  We took a few wrong turns and then tried to fight traffic to get back to where we intended.  We finally gave up in frustration, headed to our lodgings for the night, and then ended up having to parallel park on a hill.  I was exhausted and stressed out - probably more than any time on our trip - causing me to exclaim "I hate Bath!"

But I spoke too soon.  We woke up to beautiful weather and a wonderful breakfast smorgasbord with our hosts.  Rebecca got dressed in her regency attire and we headed to town to celebrate the Jane Austen Festival.

The first item on the agenda was a Promenade.  Hundreds of folks dressed in regency regalia paraded through Bath.  Rebecca joined the parade, and I walked alongside - snapping photos and just soaking it all in.  There was such an air of fun and excitement!

The promenade ended at the parade grounds where there was tea, dancing, etc.

There was a cool camera obscura, and Rebecca took a turn in it.  She said it was sort of like a periscope that allowed you to watch all the folks on the parade ground without them knowing it.

Afterwards we went to lunch.  This is the photo which I call "Jane Austen eats nachos."

She may be smiling, but not because she is impressed with English nachos.

During the weekend we also went to a regency "fayre":

and on a Jane Austen tour of Bath - where our tour guide pointed out all the settings that appeared in Jane's novels that were set in Bath  - "Persuasion" and "Northanger Abbey."  I have been reading "Persuasion" on the trip, so I really enjoyed being able to picture all the settings in my mind.  

We went to the pump room of the Roman baths, and drank a bit of the Bath water (which doesn't sound very appealing, does it?) that is supposed to be so healthy.

Here I am hoping that it is not that green water that I just drank:

We also attended Evensong at Bath Abbey.  This church seemed more like a "real church" than the other Anglican churches we attended on our trip.  There seemed to be actual church members there (not just tourists), Bible studies announced, etc.  They were all excited because their church has just been selected for the BBC broadcast on Christmas morning.  

This whole experience was like travelling back in time.  And just to make the time travel experience even more real, we had the unexpected pleasured of meeting "The Doctor" (12th and current doctor on the "Doctor Who?" show):

Rebecca noticed him in a gift shop and spoke to him.  We were the only ones in the shop, and he agreed to have his photo made.  He even asked us to check the camera to make sure his eyes weren't closed.  

Here are some more photos from our two days in Bath.  We still cannot believe the weather we have been blessed with.