Easter in Bath

Pulteney Bridge

Ann had a some days off for Easter so we decided to go explore the city of Bath 150 km west of London for a couple of days.

Bath is build on a number of geothermal springs which is water from deep beneath the surface being heated and squeezed up through cracks in the limestone underneath Bath where it arrives at the surface at 45 degrees C. Over the course of history different people have used the springs for treatment of all sorts of things.

Roman Baths (16)

The picture above shows the layer of history that can be found in Bath. When the Romans occupied England they build a spa around 30-60AD at the site of where the Celt’s before them had worshipped one of their gods. Over 300 years the Romans build a vast complex of bath, spas and temples at the site. After the Romans left the huge complex it got flooded and collapsed and forgotten(!) around the 6th century. You can see the original Roman columns reach about 1½ meters above the water. Below that mark things were covered in rubble and protected above that the locals at later centuries took the material for their use. So literally what is below that line is the foundations, plumbing and structure build nearly 2000 years ago that still leads the water in lead pipes and supports the building above. The Roman Baths were not rediscovered until around 1880 when one of the owners of a house on top of the site complained about getting his basement filled with water. Later the columns and museum was build on top of the Roman remains.
The balcony is at the level of the current street level and in the background of the picture is the Bath Abbey. The abbey also have a long history dating back about 12 centuries, this one is the third church at this site that has been in that place since from 1499.

Curvy King's Circus

The city of Bath got a renaissance in the 18th and 19th century when it became fashionable again to go to the spas. John Wood senior and junior were great architects of the time and build a number of world class landmarks like senior’s Circus above or junior’s Royal Cresent below.

Royal Cresent

While we were in Bath the annual Comedy Festival was going on so we got to see the central square being filled up with red people and a great street theatre called Jane Austen’s Bath Time.

Red gathering

We had a great couple of days exploring this UNESCO World Heritage city. For a more comprehensive description of what we got up to go read Ann’s blog of our day 1, day 2, day 3 and see the video she made 🙂

Outdoor weekends in Czech Republic

The canoes on shore for a break

The weather has been great the last couple of weeks which worked out perfect for the things I ended up doing.

Three weeks ago some friends had organized a canoe trip. So we were 10 people who took the train to a small village where you could rent canoes and set out for a relaxed day on the river. Glee had a diving case for a camera so we could take some pictures and video while we were on the water.

Cruising down the stream

Along the route there was a couple of small cabins where you could get cold beer and a sausage. Here we are at our first stop.

First pit stop

This is one of the cool things about doing outdoor stuff in Czech Republic you come across these small beer and grill places in many of the areas where people go to do outdoor stuff. The next place we stopped for a beer Dominic ended up behind the counter selling t-shirts along with a pretty drunk Czech guy. Good fun 🙂

Selling your VIP tshirts of course!

A few times we had to cross some tricky passages and we tipped over and had to get the water out of the canoes but most of the time it was pretty easy sailing.


The next weekend I went with Cyril and Patricia to Karlovy Vary a famous Czech spa town 2 hours from Prague. The legend tells that the hot springs in the area was discovered when Charles IV was hunting in the area and one of his dogs fell into a hole with the hot water and started howling. From then on the city became a place were people went to get healed by the mineral-rich water.

Well number 11

Today the 13 main hot springs have fountains scattered over the city. The water varies a bit in temperature, but I’m not really sure the mineral content is that different from the different springs. There were quite a lot of people in the town and many of them were walking around with these silly porcelain pots that looked like a nose bidet sipping from the hot water.

Well number 11

The health tourism to the area really took off in the 19th century so many of the buildings are from that era.

Art Deco house
Market Colonnade

In James Bond’s Casino Royal the hotel used in the film for the casino scene was the Grandhotel Pupp in Karlovy Vary so we of course had to go down and check it out.

Grandhotel Pupp

After having walked around the city for half the day we decided to treat ourselves and spend some time in the outdoor pool with the best view I have seen. The water is 1/3 hot spring water and 2/3 regular sweet water. Here we are in front of the pool. (See it without us or as a panoramic view.)

Us in Karlovy Vary

Last weekend the good weather continued so Saturday I went on a bike trip on my own up along the the Vltava river that runs through Prague. There is a bike route right along the river. Sometimes a bit too close for comfort but I managed to stay on the path.

My bike

Here there also was little refreshment stalls for every few kilometer so no need to go hungry or thirsty. I went up the river about 20km and then took a boat across with my bike and rode back on the other side.

Taking the boat bus

Sunday I went on a bike ride again, this time with two friends. We took a train two hours south east of Prague and biked on some small trail along a creek.

Marcus on one of the bridges across the creek

Here is one of the stretches in the open where I got my camera out. You can spot Aurel and Marcus as two tiny dots along the edge of the forest.


And of course there was a place in the middle of nowhere where we could get a beer and relax before heading off.

Beer break

Once I managed to get ahead and get the camera out fast enough to get a shot of them before they rushed by me.

Over the fields

Around lunch time we came across some kind of sporting event that we first thought was a game of football. It turned out to be some sort of firemen competition where a team of 8 people would rush to a pump and set up tubes and try to hit some targets with water. Very good entertainment before we headed back to Prague.

I’m looking forward to spending the summer in and around Prague. Still so much to see and do. This weekend a couple from Cambridge and I’m a tour guide in Prague.