Phil's Travels - Bath, England
Phil's Travels - Bath, UK (Sep 2014)
My son and I travelled to Bath today for our second university open day tour. It was my first train journey since coming back from hols and it feels like it could be the first of many to come before the end of the year. The outbound started tensely as we had to ask for our tickets at the ticket office again (they were not the print-at-home type my son had booked previously) as my wife had paid for them and we only had my credit cards as proof of ID. It worked out in the end, but we did not have reserved seating (lesson to son, when going to the effort of booking in advance, make sure you reserve seats at the same time) and this being the day of West Country university open days (Bristol and Bath at least) the train from Paddington was jammed and we had to stand or sit on the floor for much of the trip.
Unlike Nottingham, Bath did not lay on a free bus service from the station to the campus, but they did offer lovely cotton bags for free, stuffed with promotional material. The architectural school is in the dead centre of the campus, but did not impress my son. "Too small" and the course felt too technical for his more artistic temperament and creative talents.
Prior to catching our return train, we took 20 minutes to find the old and new spa buildings. It is nearly 20 years since I last visited Bath and the new city centre is a delight. The design and layout of the buildings is well executed, especially the stunning new spa building. The city was shoulder-to-shoulder with tourists, students and rugby fans (Bath were hosting London Welsh that afternoon). The spa seemed to be doing well too, we could see lots of people eating, drinking and walking around the complex in their white bathrobes (a bit like vestal monks in an exhibitionist monastery).
For the return we had reserved seats and you won't believe who we met two rows back without reserved seats. It was Little Miss Smarty Pants who had printed her print-at-home tickets and was poking fun at us en route to Nottingham's open day in July. They had just been to the Bristol open day. What a small world! (or is it just a small railway?)