Day 25: Back to Bath (Jane Austen Museum)

On the Friday of the second free travel weekend, we continued our adventures around Oxford by taking a train to Bath. We had already been to Bath at the beginning of June, but we did not have enough time to go through the Jane Austen museum. So we headed back.

We walked to the bus station and took a bus to the Oxford rail station.

Once we arrived, it was about 3 minutes until our first train!

We took a train to Didcot where we would have to get out and change trains to Bath. The kids were in a good mood and we almost had the entire traincar to ourselves. Traveling at 10:30 AM has its benefits.

Once we got to Didcot, we waited about 45 minutes for the train to Bath.

Micah enjoyed goofing off around the platform (while still being safe).

Once we got on the next train, we sat at the front of the traincar in the disabled section because that’s where the stroller could fit. We ended up talking to a nice American family from Florida during our 45 minute train ride from Didcot to Bath.

Once we arrived in Bath, it was 12:00 and we were all hungry. Right outside the train station was a BBQ place, so we decided to go with it.

On the wall behind us, they advertised for a “dream vacation” drawing. We all thought it was pretty funny:

Right after we finished eating, we went into a local pharmacy to get some baby wipes because accidentally left them at the flat. While we were doing that, Micah fell asleep.

We hopped on a bus and headed off to the Jane Austen museum.

Unfortunately, our GPS took us to the house where Jane Austen lived (where there’s only a plaque and nothing else to see). This put us on the other side of town. So we decided to make the best of it and walk to the museum (only about 0.5 miles).

Despite our delays, we made it!

We had a guided tour and learned about the Austen family. There was lots of read and some original Jane Austen artifacts there. The kids did okay until the end when they were tired, cranky, and hungry.

The girls dressed up with a wax figure of Mr. Darcy.

So we left the museum and walked back to the train station where we waited about 30 minutes for the next train to Didcot.

Once we got on the train, the kids were wild and made a lot of noise. It was a challenge keeping them occupied and quiet. Eventually we all joined in Zeke’s game of pretending to cook pasta and that seemed to keep them busy enough.

After arriving at Didcot, we waited about 25 minutes for the train to Oxford. It arrived a bit early and we were able to get on and find some good seats facing each other. Micah wanted to continue feeding daddy some pasta. Daddy was very tired.

When we got back to Oxford, we were all tired, so we went to a local pizza place. It’s a chain (saw one in London), but it was very good. A quick check on Wikipedia says there are over 400 of these restaurants in the UK.

Inside, we looked at the menu and tried to figure out which kind of pizza we wanted. It definitely wasn’t an American style pizza place – all the pizzas were Italian in style.

The pizzas we ordered were very good!

After we finished dinner, we headed to the nearby bus station to take the bus back home. The first bus wouldn’t honor our week-long bus passes because we bought them from a different bus company – a fact which no one bothered to tell us. So we had to wait 9 minutes for the next bus. Oh well.

Day 2: Bath, Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral

We started out our day by leaving Oxford at 7:45 AM and heading towards Bath with high spirits.

Here we are in front of the Bath Abbey, directly next to the ancient Roman baths.

We took a tour of the Roman Baths and learned quite a bit. While I’ve been there before, I think they had updated the system since 2004. Below is the great bath.

Zeke loved the “big bath” and the waterfall (inside to the left, not pictured).

Family shot!

We got lunch at a baguette shop on Cheap St. (seriously) and it was pretty good. We popped over to the Jane Austen museum, but could only stay for the gift shop as we were out of time.

After getting up so early, we were crashing hard by 12:45 when we left Bath.

Next we headed to Stonehenge and got a nice group shot of the students and professors for our marketing wizard, Jenni. Woo! This is going to probably be used in marketing pamphlets and online videos for years.

It took forever to get Zeke and Micah to both look at the camera. My students thought it was more entertaining watching Erin and I try to get their attentions than it was for them to keep looking at Stonehenge.

After Stonehenge, we headed to Salisbury to look at the cathedral and the world’s oldest mechanical clock that is still in working order. The clock can run the tower bells at the appropriate times, but is currently disabled. The cathedral has the highest steeple in England.

The inside was quite impressive!

I personally found the cloisters to be the best part; beautiful and relaxing. Perfect for meditating on scripture or God’s goodness.

After a long day, we were all pretty exhausted. We headed back to Oxford at 5:30 PM and settled in for the 2 hour drive back.

Our on-site coordinator had ordered us the finest authentic British cuisine to eat – Papa John’s Pizza (haha). It was a good day.