Monday, August 30, 2010

Bath-Part 4: The Rivers/Canals

The Avon River runs through the city of Bath.  It has a really nice walking path that meanders through parks, residential areas, and connects with the Kennet Avon Canal.  The kids and I walked along the Avon River one afternoon, then showed Uwe our discoveries.

The Hub and the kids walking carefully along the river.

Where the river and canal meet.
The Kennet Avon Canal was built to take goods from Bath to London faster. But, soon the railroad was built and the canal is now used for casual living.  People buy or rent boats and live on them for a few months to maybe even years. Some of the long boats we saw looked like they were year rounders.  That would be interesting to do with the three kiddos..I. Think. Not.  (More like something to do once the nest is empty.)


One afternoon we took a boat ride from Bath to Bath Hampton on the Avon River.  We had read that you could walk back along the Kennet Avon we gave it a go. The boat ride was so peaceful and lush with green.  


At the Mill they dropped us off and we were on our own to get back.  After asking a local, they directed us toward the village and the canal. We walked along a little country road, in which, my little city girl was just mortified by the bugs, the smells, the country-ness of it all. She did better once we got by the canal and she could throw rocks. *whew*  I was a bit fearful that she would be against all things country. The hour long hike back was just wonderful.  Sheep grazed in pastures, long boats docked along the banks, rocks were thrown, and the view of the city of Bath was just spectacular.  

A few more pics from our walk along the canal. I loved the buildings, the flowers (and I'm not a huge flower person), and well, just the beauty of nature.


I can't mention rivers and not talk about bridges, now can I?  Well, just one. The Pulteney Bridge is the famous bridge that crosses the Avon River  in Bath. I believe the style of the bridge makes it famous, but what do I know about architecture?  Not much, but I did make my kids sit and draw it...well, they had to draw something that they saw while sitting on the bench at the little park. 



"Seagull" by Marcus.
We also spent an evening there feeding the birds.  The kids thought it was magical, but the Hub thought it was torture because the birds would peck at his toes.  Seagulls are vicious animals...just thought I'd warn you.



And to end with one last photo...our favorite thing beside the river....
...the homemade ice-cream cart. YUM! YUM!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Bath-Part 3: Parks

This post will mainly be a photo journal of some of the parks that we visited during our stay in Bath.  This was one way I could bribe my kids to go do the touristy things.  Another encouraging way was by reading "Hometown History Bath" by Jane Walker.  In the morning we would read about whatever I had planned to go visit that afternoon. The book was excellent because it gave great info in a kid friendly way. The best part about this book was the "Spot This" Sections...the kids had to spot something at each tourist destination. So, while I looked and took pictures. They scrambled to find the hidden object. I'll be talking more about this in future blogs, but it really was brilliant!  
After each tourist adventure, I'd take the kids to some park. This city has a wide range of parks and many that are just lovely for children.  Our first park experience was Henrietta Park, just outside our building. This park is nice for picnics, a quick stroll, or a toss of a Frisbee. But, after discovering the children's playground at the Sydney Park, which was just a five minute walk away. We didn't bother with Henrietta Park the rest of the time.  
We discovered Green Park as we were searching for the open market.  It was a nice little park with some playground equipment for all three of the kids.  When we took Uwe back one evening to show him our discovery, we soon realized it was probably not such a good place to visit after dark. It seemed to be a hangout for punks and drunks.  In fact, at that point it was all trashed up. My son was so sad and just couldn't believe that people would do such a thing to such a great place.  But below are pictures of the kids doing their favorite activity at this park. 

The kids' favorite park was Royal Victoria Park, a 52 acre field with wide open spaces and a HUGE playground.  This place was about a 30min. walk from where we lived. But. So. Worth. It! They had three large sand-pits with climbing ropes, slides, and other exploring type contraptions. They had other slides, swings, and a zip line. And there was an ice cream truck and a coffee shop inside the playground as well. 

Marcus loved climbing up the ropes.  Most all of the slides and climbing had huge sand-pits underneath. 

One of the large open fields to run, picnic on, or just sit and relax!

Of course, we had a picnic almost everyday!


The girls enjoying time with Papa.
The only park we visited that required an entrance fee was the Parade Gardens.  And the great thing is that we got to go in free. No, we did climb the fence after hours.  The gate attendant was getting ready to lock up and told us we had 5 min.  5 min. was long enough because this a very small park that rest on the back of the Avon River.  

This deserves a caption...this was a "Spot This" item from the book.  It is the statue of King Bladud.
He was a Celtic Prince with leprosy who discovered that the mud where his pigs wallowed could heal him.
He helped to develop Bath after he returned home.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Bath -Part 2; Celebrating Independence Day

Yes, we celebrated the 4th of July, the day Americans celebrate independence from England....yes, we celebrated in England. In fact, we celebrated at the American Museum in Britain...the only museum outside the US that exhibits American history and artifacts.  It was started by two Brits that moved to the US. They wanted to show people back home that Americans were not wild and uncivilized. Where did they ever get that idea?

The reason we came here to celebrate was the fact that they advertised an American Independence Celebration with food, music, and demonstrations from the war.  I thought it would be the perfect time to go. Marcus would learn a bit about the US history from the museum (education); the boys would get to see some gun action; the girls would get to hear some music; we'd all be outside; and we'd get some good American food.
The museum is located just a few minutes from the University of Bath, which is where the Hub had classes. This is just outside of Bath with some walking trails that we didn't get to explore...looked like rain and the kids were tired by the time we finished the museum.  The museum was well done.  They had furniture sets from early colonial days to pioneer days. The girls were bored, but Marcus enjoyed listening to the audio tour that was included into the price.  So, my good man took the girls out and let Marcus and I enjoy.  I have to comment about the audio tour.  It was very pro-England with comments such as this, "As you can see, even though the Colonist fought for independence, they were still very loyal to the King by the style of furniture that they had in their homes. Take for instance the fireplace with the metal cover. It has the emblem of the King of England....or the tea cups were the English style..."  Very amusing to me...but educational...check.

The grounds just outside the museum was transformed into a campsite for the Red Coats.  They had their tents and camping gear there for all to see what it was like for them at that time.  The demonstrations were, again, pro-England.  It was a show of how they fought during the war. There was no sign of any American fighters, and definitely no mention of the loss.  This made me and my German Hub giggle...but gun action for the boys...check. btw, two girls HATED it.

Music...yes, there was some pretty good Creole music played by an older couple. They told a few stories, but mainly talked about the song they were about to sing, the history of it, etc. Kids got bored...and so did we to be honest. But, what was interesting was watching the crowd. One lady in particular sat down with her tray of food and her bottle of wine. So, the music wasn't the best, but...check, did that.

Food...expectation was a hotdog with maybe some baked beans...HA! No hotdogs at all. So, here is what we got...Baked potato with baked beans on the side, quiche, and chili. Sort of American, but not what you'd expect at a celebration like this.  But, eat we did do...check.
It wasn't all a loss...we did have some very good cookies!
The kids did have fun...there was a tee-pee the girls played in. And Marcus climbed a tree. AND, we spent the afternoon outside, which is always a treat!

And one last fact....Winston Churchill gave one of his first speeches here at Claverton Manor, the building where the museum resides.  Boy looks thrilled about that fact, ya think?  But still educational...double check on the educational.   So, that means we did everything on my "Must Do List" at the museum. Now we could cross that of our "Places to See in Bath" list.