Lauren Mokasdar is English born and bred who has recently moved to Nagpur, India to be with the love of her life. She writes over at www.englishwifeindianlife.com where she talks about her new life living in India and shares her experiences about love, marriage and of course Indian life. I was curious to know more about Lauren prior to moving to India and I am happy that she has written this guest post to share what her perfect day would be in her hometown Bath England. Thanks Lauren for this wonderful guest post and over to you!
Chai means ‘tea’ here in India, but through my English eyes ‘chai’ and ‘tea’ are two completely different hot beverages. I love both the milky masala taste of chai, with cinnamon and cardamom, but I still crave the no nonsense British cup of tea.
As I sip on chai, I dream of tea. I love living in India but I sometimes find myself planning my perfect day back home in England. If I could just be transported back for just a single day, what would I do? Visit my family and friends of course, but besides from that, what would I do if I could do absolutely anything?
Several cups of chai later, I have planned my perfect day in England, more specifically my perfect day in the perfect English city, Bath. First stop, one of the world’s greatest heritage sites and somewhere I find fascinating, The Roman Baths.
1. Roman Baths
When the Romans first came to Britain they found the Celts worshiping a sacred spring and they were amazed at the healing properties this water possessed. The Romans constructed a grand temple and complex of baths around the spring, approximately 50 years after the birth of Christ. Celts and Romans then worshipped at the spring together, side by side. People from around Britain and the entire Roman Empire came to bathe in the sacred waters to benefit from their healing powers. Over the centuries the Saxons and Georgians also recognised the healing properties, this sacred spring still flows with the same naturally hot water just as it has done for thousands of years. This sacred spring is now the heart of the modern city of Bath.
Hidden beneath the streets, this spectacular religious spa still stands. Step back in time and step on the same stones the Romans did, see the source of the sacred spring and the remains of the temple. You can even see a couple of Romans wandering around, reciting their tales. I would take the guided tour through the complex and the museum and simply enjoy the history and marvel at the magnificence of this ancient wonder which has stood the test of time.
I would then journey forward to the time of Jane Austen, the Georgian era. Just as the Romans did, Jane Austen came to bathe in the magical hot spring and all of her novels mention the city of Bath. It would now be time for me to grab a copy of Pride and Prejudice and take a picnic to the Royal Victoria Park lawns, sit in the sun and look at the beauty of the Royal Crescent.
2. The Royal Crescent
Bath is famous for its sweeping Georgian architecture, and the most majestic of this architecture is on Royal Crescent. Royal Crescent is a semicircular terrace of beautiful townhouses overlooking Royal Victoria Park lawn. These houses were once the houses wealthy socialites and aristocrats, who came to Bath to indulge in masquerades, dances, concerts and afternoon tea parties.
No 1 Royal Crescent has been beautifully restored to its glamorous Georgian glory and we can take a look inside and see what Georgian life was like, for the masters of the house and for the servants. Every room is an exquisite example of Georgian interior design with authentic furniture, paintings, textiles and carpets. If you haven’t realised already, I really love history and Bath has a lot of it!
The elegantly grand Drawing Room is ready and waiting for fashionable visitors to take afternoon tea. Speaking of tea… where to next?
3. The Pump Rooms for a spot of afternoon tea
Opposite the yard of the beautiful Bath Abbey is a wonderful 18th century restaurant where live classical music accompanies the delicious food. The Pump Room was featured in Jane Austen novels, including Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. It was once a meeting place for the upper class and is now famous for its afternoon tea.
Afternoon tea is the British equivalent of the Japanese tea ceremony and started in the 1840s. It is a small meal to stem the hunger in anticipation for the evening meal. Traditionally afternoon tea comprises of dainty sandwiches (usually cut into fingers), scones with clotted cream and jam followed by a variety of delicate pastries and cakes, and of course, plenty of tea.
Originally a private social event developed as a way for high class ladies to climb the social ladder, afternoon tea gained popularity after Queen Victoria engaged in the ritual. Afternoon tea then became large scale formal events where one would invite guests to their home between the times of 4pm to 7pm for afternoon tea. Grand houses could have as many as two-hundred guests at their afternoon tea receptions.
In Britain today, afternoon tea is only taken on special occasions and is seen as a luxury and with this being my only day in England, I consider this a very special occasion indeed! Afternoon tea it is.
I am pretty exhausted now, all I want to do is relax and be pampered. A modern spa has recently been constructed in the heart of Bath where you can experience Britain’s only natural thermal waters for yourself, just as the Celts and Romans did more than 2,000 years ago. As the sun is setting on my busy day, I take the very short walk from The Pump Rooms to the Thermae Spa.
4. Thermae Spa
Thermae Bath Spa is a day spa where you can bathe in the warm, natural mineral-rich waters and choose from a range of spa treatments designed to ease the body, soothe the mind and comfort your soul. I have been here a couple of times and the experience is divine.
The first of the two baths to visit gives you a spectacular view over the city and surrounding hills. It doesn’t matter what the weather is like because the water from the hot spring keeps you warm. My mother and I once arrived here in the rain and funnily enough sitting in warm water outside in the cold rain is quite relaxing and invigorating. This rooftop pool is blissful!
The second pool, this one is indoors, has flowing curves and grand columns reminding me of Baths Roman past. It contains massaging jets and whirlpools and a large open space so you can have a good swim in thermal waters containing over 42 different minerals. The question is, what treatment should I indulge in? I am probably going to have a relaxing facial!
To end my spa experience, my favourite part of the thermae spa, the soothing steam rooms. Each of the four steam rooms is infused with an aromatic essence; lotus flower, sandalwood, eucalyptus or mint. It was only after I experienced these steam rooms I knew that sweating could be so relaxing and peaceful.
So there we are, my perfect day in my home country. I have travelled the length and breadth of England but, for me, there is no place like Bath (maybe I am slightly biased because I was born there). As well as history and relaxation, the city is packed full of amazing shops, restaurants and bars. If you do find yourself in England, make sure you pay this magnificent city a visit.