The alarm clock on the mobile phone sounded at 5.45 am and I rolled out of bed after a relatively late night.
I stumbled around the flat, half-awake, filled a flask with coffee and made a packed lunch for the day ahead.
Bob (a neighbour) and I, had decided that today, we would drive the 300 miles round trip to the famous city of Bath.
We had agreed to meet in the car park adjacent to our flat block at 6.00am and after I had got ready and dressed, I sat in the car listening to some wild chillout music and waited for Bob, who only lives two doors away at the end of the corridor.
As it turned out Bob was running late and so we eventually got our journey underway at around 7am. This meant that we came across some heavy rush-hour traffic on the M25 motorway which slowed our progress. Even so, the drive was straight forward and Bob’s banter was pleasant and interesting.
Bob has resided in the same flat block in the Chells area of Stevenage for as long as I can remember and at least as long as I have (which is seventeen years). We have always got on really well and have been out of town for day trips together before.
The M25 was busy and progress was slow at times, however, eventually, we made our way onto the M4.
After a while we stopped at the Reading services at around the halfway mark, for a much-needed coffee break and I was kindly shown the workings of Bob’s modern new telephoto lensed camera while we sat at a table and supped our hot beverages.
Then we resumed our trip and navigated our way to Bath from the M4 and after a while, found the Newbridge Park and Ride facility.
The bus ride into the city was a short ten minutes and the bus ride was comfortable.
Outside the sun shone brightly and warmly on the Somerset surroundings and the skies were the clearest azure.
When we arrived in the city, we sat at a bench in the delightful and leafy, Kingsmead market square and got our bearings.
We especially had an interest in visiting the Abbey grounds, where the famous thermal springs and Roman baths are located, and after a short break for a cup of coffee and a cake, we headed in that direction, along the beautifully clean and tidy streets, adorned on either side by the most fabulous historic buildings and architecture.
We stopped near to the gently flowing River Avon and admired the splendid views, using the ample time that we had spare, to enjoy our sandwiches.
The Abbey grounds were busy with tourists from many nationalities and buskers played relaxing acoustic music which complemented the warm summers day. Also, costumed actors paraded in the streets giving a surreal atmosphere.
Bob and I spent the rest of the day at the Roman baths. As it turns out, Bob is a great self-taught historian and while we walked around the exhibits and archaeology displays, Bob was happily explaining some of the historical aspects of the artefacts.
Even though the Roman baths were naturally extremely busy, the visiting experience was quite spectacular and the exhibition itself was interesting and informative and also well worth the entrance fee. Indeed, we spent a good hour and a half there amongst its many rooms and displays.
We left the Roman baths visitor centre late in the afternoon, had a drink of coffee (and another cake) in one of the cities main street cafes and then we set off home, returning by bus to Newbridge park and ride and stopping briefly at Membury services to break up the homeward journey.