Roman Baths and Ancient England
From List25.com: The Roman Baths give visitors the ability to still see how public bathing was done in the 19th century. Guests can check out the Sacred Spring, the Roman Temple, the Roman Bath House, and the other buildings on its street level however, the bath themselves are located below the modern street level. This area receives around 1 million visitors per year and was featured in the 2005 TV Program “Seven Natural Wonders” as one of the wonders of the Western world.
Ever notice how in all the big budget shows and movies not shot in Italy the Romans always have English accents? Whether it’s the cockney frontier legionnaire or the aristocratic drawl of a highborn officer you can count on every sword-swinging toga aficionado to sound as if he drinks his beer warm and just came from a jolly good game of cricket, wot? This is not because England is now considered the pillar of society and light of reason as Rome once was. This is because much of Rome (largely consider the part no one ever wanted to be) was located in Britain. Vestiges still remain. Hadrian’s wall, for example. And the beautiful Roman baths.
Where are the Roman baths located? In the… let’s see here, I know I wrote it down… ah yes, the town of Bath. I hope I can remember that. Bath’s baths are a well preserved relic of ancient times consisting of an entire complex of Roman buildings that are just as beautiful as they are still functional. Yes, the baths still work. No, you cannot swim in them. That privilege was suspended in 1978 when a young lady had the luck of being the last swimmer in the baths and misfortune of contracting a brain eating amoeba and dying as a result of that aforementioned swim. Win some, lose some.
The baths don’t just retain their original shape, you see, they retain their original B.C.E. plumbing, and do you know where the word “plumbing” comes from? Why, from plumbum, the latin word for lead. Yup. Pure lead pipes, one of the possible reasons for the downfall of the Roman empire, still pumps water into the beautiful (and evidently deadly) baths. But do not despair! There are two resort spas that have opened to capitalize on the baths’ popularity by offering therapeutic hot spring baths drawn from the same geothermal pools through newly drilled bore holes. Pretty rad. I do believe my fantasy trip to England will have to include a trip through Bath.
Thermae Bath Spa will be my spa of choice. With hot mineral waters, a rooftop pool suitable for an international drug smuggler and an indoor pool reminiscent of 1970s science fiction I know I can have a good time all the while telling myself that the water is healthy and restorative, whether it really is or not. Who cares? I’m there for the experience. If I want to be healthy I’ll eat a damn salad.