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Dr John Hawkins

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Hot Springs Eternal

Posted on 2007/11/13 12:15:02 (November 2007).

[Saturday 10th November]
Today was officially the first day of my week off - what with the weekends either side I had 9 whole days ahead of me without having to worry about work. Well, hopefully.

The plan for the weekend was for me and Chie to get a train to Bath, go and visit the new spa there, then meet up with Vera and Robin who would then take us back to Abergavenny. We were then going to spend two nights there, and Chie would go back to London on Monday, whilst Vera and I would go off to North Wales.

So the main event of today was our visit to Thermae Bath Spa - wherein you can actually bathe in the naturally hot spring water for the first time in almost thirty years. Having visited several onsen in Japan I had got the bug for this sort of thing - the simple pleasure of lounging around in natural hot water, and Bath is hailed as having the only real "hot" springs in the UK. Although following a recent conversation with Dad it transpires it isn't the only geothermal spring in the country - but it appears to be the only one where the water is really hot (i.e. over 40 degrees C), and certainly the only one you can actually bathe in.

As for what it was actually like, well I suppose the new spa complex is all very nice, modern and clean - although at 20 quid for a two hour session you'd expect that really. There were two main pools we could bathe in - one on the ground floor, and one in the roof with a view out over the city. The latter of the two was obviously a bit more interesting, but on the downside it wasn't quite as hot as we'd have hoped - it was a cold day with quite a chilling wind, and the water was just a couple of degree short of that "AHHHHH" factor you get when getting into a hot spring in Japan. I'm not sure if they mix in some cold water, or if this is just natural cooling from the fact it has been out of the spring for a while, but if they could somehow keep it slightly hotter it would make all the difference. There was also a floor with steam rooms on, and they were nicely done. There were four steam rooms, each with different scents, and as Chie charmingly put it one of them was "Frankenstein".

After leaving the spa, we met up with Vera and Robin and went for an early evening stroll around the city, taking in the lights from across the river, and was reminded what an attractive place this is. We then had an early dinner at a little bistro called Tilley's, before heading off back to Abergavenny.

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