A Travellerspoint blog

Day 9 - Chipping Sodbury to Bath

18.5 miles/ 29.5 km On a bus, so that’s okay!

sunny 18 °C
View Cotswold Way, England on Laura Walking's travel map.

It was a peaceful and restful night here. My room faced the road, but after a certain hour I was not aware of any car noise at all. Only rain noise in the night. It seemed a little cooler out too. Quite windy. Not having to get my big pack ready first thing in the morning made things a little more relaxed. I went down to the dining room a little earlier, and had a big bowl of hot porridge with honey! Really good! This was a quaint and beautiful little place, right on a main road. If I was in the area, I would stay here again. As I would with many of these places along the route, but not quite all!

Today dawned a bit overcast, but the sun had come out by the time I had finished breakfast and was back in my room packing up my things. I had done some online research last night about bus schedules and so on. There is a Bus Stop directly in front of this Inn, and when walking into town yesterday, I took a picture of the schedule. The bus to Bath passes by here at 12:20. So that was my plan. I checked out of my room at the appropriate time, and hung around in the lounge area until noon. It was a little chilly outside, standing in the wind. They didn’t mind me waiting inside at all. Everyone here seems very accommodating.

At 12 noon or so, I was out on the pavement in front of the Inn. Eventually, and on time, I saw the bus in the distance, come around the corner on this busy road… because I was standing at the bus stop, I assumed he would stop. As he got closer and closer, without appearing to slow down at all… I finally stuck my arm out as though to hail him… and he came screeching to a halt several feet past me. I waddled over to the door with my heavy pack, and stepped onto the bus. I apologized to the driver (as we Canadians tend to do!) and explained that I didn’t know that I had to flag him down. He was not the friendliest person around… I paid my fare (only £3.00 all the way to Bath!) and sat down. I was so pleased to be on my way, and to have found the right bus to take me there! This was a local bus, that’s why it was so inexpensive - not a coach of any sort. Not particularly comfortable, but absolutely fine. It was sunny and clear as we were driving the hour or so into Bath. Winding (narrow) country roads looked out over farmer’s fields and the ruins of old stone houses dotted the route; we stopped often. Very pretty rolling countryside here. The driver seemed indifferent to people getting on and off the bus. I asked him another question when we were in Bath but not yet at the station. He answered me, but there was no friendliness present. Judging by the majority of people I seem to have come across, I think he is the exception to the rule.

As the bus was winding it’s way down and through the narrow streets of Bath… I was astounded by the number of people around! I couldn’t believe it, it was as though this was a holiday weekend in July or something! Crowds of people everywhere!! When I was in London around Christmastime in 2010, I took a day trip on a coach (bus) to Salisbury, Stonehenge and Bath. When we got to Bath, the place was practically deserted, as I recall. Of course the time of year was a factor then; this is certainly going to be a different experience, I can tell!

The main bus station in downtown Bath is close to the train station. And outside the train station there is a taxi stand (or queue). My guidebook said so! So I lugged my big bag from the bus station down the street to the train station, and got into a taxi. Ordinarily, if I was carrying the big backpack any distance, like I did around Birmingham, or Stratford - I would take it out of this carrying case (designed for checking large backpacks as luggage on a plane - it keeps all the straps and clips from getting caught on any machinery), and actually carry it on my back like a backpack! However, when I was having it transported, and today, it seemed easier to use the shoulder strap and haul it around, than wear it! I’m not sure that was the best idea! Anyway it and I both made it here!

Took a taxi from the bus/ train station to this hotel. (On the way, I asked the driver what the population of Bath was - he estimated 80,000! That surprised me!). This place is, as I mentioned yesterday, east of Bath, in Batheaston, of course! It appears to be quite modern and nice. I arrived early, about 2 pm, so my room wasn’t ready. Not a problem, I hung out in the lounge. They have WiFi, so that was fine.
I have a nice room, although on the ground floor by a narrow road and stone bridge, a slow moving toll bridge! The windows aren’t super soundproof, so I do hear some road noise, mostly stopping and starting, and squeaky brakes, as the tollgate officers collect the £1.00 toll! However, the later it has gotten, the more infrequent the passing cars.

I had dinner in the dining room tonight - a delicious spinach lasagne - and while eating, was formulating a plan for tomorrow!
There are several things I want to do and see here in Bath. The Jane Austen Centre, for sure, which I missed the first time I was here in 2010 because of the time constraints of being on a coach tour. Jane Austen was probably Bath’s most famous resident! She wrote several of her very well-known novels while living here. Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, Northanger Abbey, and Pride and Prejudice I think. Anyway there is a whole Museum celebrating her life and works… with people in period costume, a Tea Room, and a gift shop of course. Actually there is a Festival that takes place for 10 days every September in her honour! Everyone dresses in Regency dress, and there are many events involved, in and around Bath.

There are many museums in this small city too, plus Bath Abbey, where the Cotswold Way officially ends (or begins!), the Pulteney Bridge that has an interesting history and is widely photographed, The Royal Crescent, The Circus and Assembly Rooms, and many other interesting things to see here! I may have to pick and choose, although many of these landmarks seem concentrated in the central area of the city, close enough to be within walking distance of each other.
It also occurred to me that I’d like to walk back up the Cotswold Way trail for a bit, and at least do part of the last stage into Bath. I’ll have to see what tomorrow brings, weather-wise and energy-wise.

Posted by Laura Walking 14:17 Archived in England

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