Flying home from London, May 2018

The last post for our UK 2018 trip!

May 12, 2018    It is a long flight, but luckily for us, there was a nonstop from London to Portland.

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Last views of the British Isles

Northern Canada – lots of pretty ice to  look down upon.

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The Rocky Mountains come into view,

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Our own volcanic mountains pop up under the wing, and finally, the Columbia River and Mt St Helens and we are home.

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Mt Adams, Mt Rainier and the Goat Rocks

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Mt St Helens, Mt Adams, the Columbia River

My favorite memories from the trip, as I am writing this 11 months later, are many.

The Jane Austen locations are at the top of the list – her portrait in London, her home and the big house in Chawton, the Quilt!, the Cobb in Lyme Regis, and then wandering around Bath, knowing that many of these sights were in her daily view while she lived there.

I enjoyed knowing my way around London for our brief stop there, revisiting some locations we had previously enjoyed, and also seeing the Natural Science Museum and Portrait Gallery.

It is always about the landscape! I love British literature, and have seen many of these locations or similar places on film, but there is nothing like boots on the ground for really feeling a place. Thus, the chalk cliffs, the Jurassic cliffs of Charmouth,  the downs, the hedgerow counterpanes and Dartmoor ponies on the moors, the blue water of Cornwall; the old castles and cottages juxtaposed with modern buildings, and then the Roman baths and Georgian Crescents in Bath – all fill in my minds eye where imagination leaves off, and I feel richer for the experience. I can see hobbits on the moors, Winnie the Pooh in the woods, mole and water rat on the river.

I would love to spend more time in Cornwall, and we have on our list another trip to Scotland. New Zealand, the Alps, and other destinations also call. This year we will remain stateside for reunions, weddings and graduations…exploration of new places are part of those plans as well. I feel very lucky to be able to travel with my husband on these fabulous adventures!

Exploring Bath, UK – May 10, 2018

Day 15 – Following Jane Austen around town

We left Devon and drove to the city of Bath in Somerset, a world heritage city known for Georgian architecture and Roman Baths. Also home to Jane Austen for a few years of her life, and the setting for parts of her novels – Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.

After setting up in our B&B on Charlotte St, we took an Open Top Bus tour, then walked around town to get a closer looks.

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Signpost map of Bath, with some of our highlights circled.

Jane Austen Centre:

Our first stop was the Jane Austen Centre on Gay Street, which is just down the block from Number 25, where Jane Austen lived in 1805. It is now a dentist office.

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Jane Austen Centre on Gay Street

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25 Gay Street, home to Jane Austen in 1805.

Jane Austen spent some time in lodgings near Queen Square. She would have been familiar with the Obelisk in Queen Square Gardens which dates back to 1738, and was made in honor of the Prince of Wales by Beau Nash, the Master of Ceremonies of the town at the time. It is made of the same Jurassic oolitic limestone that is the prominent building stone throughout Bath.

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Obelisk in Queen Square

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Bath Stone – Jurassic oolitic limestone

While on the Open Top Bus Tour, we were shown another of Jane Austen’s former residences at 4 Sydney Place near the Sydney Gardens.

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4 Sydney Place – Jane Austen lived here in 1801,

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and walked here.

Jane Austen would have been familiar with many other Georgian buildings around town:

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St Michael’s Church

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Bath Abbey

The Pump Room: Where people drank the waters in hopes of improved health. Some of Jane Austen’s characters met in the Pump Room for their daily drink and for socializing.

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The Pump Room is now a restaurant.

A few other streets and shopping areas:

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Great Pulteney Street

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Milsom Street

The River Avon runs through town, and we crossed several times. This is the view of Pulteney Bridge from the North Parade Bridge:

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Two of the landmark Georgian streets and buildings in Bath are The Circus, and The Royal Crescent. The imposing curved edifices are built of Bath Stone.

The Circus: Three massive crescents form a complete circle around a central green.

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A closer look at the architectural details along the eaves:

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The Royal Crescent: An even larger crescent of Georgian buildings.

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The Royal Crescent is over 500 feet long and difficult to photograph!

We walked along the Gravel Path, a protected off street pedestrian walk that leads from the parks near the Royal Crescent to the heart of town. It is where Jane’s characters Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth finally found some privacy to declare their love.

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The Gravel Path

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The Gravel Path

Bath is an easy town navigate on foot, and if we had been staying longer, it would have been easy to walk into the surrounding hills to see other places where Jane Austen walked. For this day, it was time to enjoy a delicious Indian meal and then plan our next day’s adventure – to see the Roman Baths, and a little more sight seeing around town – our last full day of the trip.

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