I was eaten alive by midges in Bristol overnight, and the itch was unbearable as I made my way to Bath. I had at least 50 bites on each leg, about 20 on my lower back, and about 15 on each arm, mostly around my wrists. My knees had so many bites they were swollen and while I tried not to scratch them it was near impossible. The more I scratched them the more they itched. Once I arrived in Bath I headed straight to the chemist. I asked the man at the pharmacy if he had anything similar to stop itch, to stop itching. He was uncertain and asked his female colleague, who came out and gently asked me if it was a cream for thrush that I was after! Ha! Once they realised that it was for bug bites, I got some cream and continued taking my antihistamines. They settled after about two and a half days but the persistent itch was like nothing else I’ve had from bugs before. I was glad for them to settle and now a week or so on at the time of writing this, small scar marks are visible but these should fade soon enough.
I took it easy that afternoon and had a quick look around town while I grabbed dinner.
The next morning I headed to the Roman baths and went through the museum and to see the baths. The baths are not able to be used these days due to the algae (and I couldn’t afford the £37 ($72) entry to the working thermal spas down the road) but it was really interesting to see. The Romans were so, so advanced in their time, with underfloor heating systems, aqua ducts, thermal spas created with precise gravitational declining pipes for inlets and overflows, and drainage systems. It’s incredible to see this built so, so many years ago and still functioning today. I spent a good couple of hours there, had a late lunch, and then wandered around town.
I browsed shops and looked at the old buildings. A busker was playing his acoustic guitar and singing live in the square behind the abbey and I sat and listened to him for a long while. He had a beautiful voice and his songs were great too (mostly original pieces).
There was a street with a rainbow of umbrellas hanging overhead and further down they had set up an outdoor cinema area with deck chairs to watch Wimbledon on the big screen. I sat and watched the first set of a match but started to get too tired from sitting still so I carried on.
I found a sunken garden off the main road near the bridge. My great aunt had been in this very garden many years ago, fallen asleep and had missed her bus home! It was extremely well maintained with lovely colourful flower beds and plenty of seating. I wandered around there but being riverside and going on to late afternoon there were midges about so I didn’t stay too long for fear of being bitten more than I already was!
From there I found a pub over the arched bridge that had a lovely beer garden surrounded by rock walls that opened out to the riverside. Next to it was another walled garden that children ran and played in while their parents sat at the attached cafe. My great aunt had also told me of a place like this but I’m not sure it’s the same one, perhaps she can confirm it once she sees the photos?
I headed back to the hostel and made some new friends, and then grabbed some dinner. One of my newfound friends was a fellow Aussie who was also heading back to London the next morning so we travelled together and chatted the whole way. It was nice to have company for the journey!
When we arrived back the police had blocked off traffic so a couple of the Royal carriages could go past, but there was no one inside the carriages at the time.
I caught up with my old housemates and the new guys living there as I crashed on the couch overnight ready for my early flight for Belfast the next day.