Posted by: lucylastic | July 11, 2007

100 things to do with an American!!!!

Well, OK, not actually 100, but a few at least!  My friend Deb, (we met when we were both speaking at a conference in Prague in 1992), who hails from Chicago, came to stay for a few days, and I polled my colleagues about what we could do.  One great suggestion I had was the new (ish) Bath Thermae Spa, see it on http://www.thermaebathspa.com/index.html  Britain’s only natural mineral water fed spa.  It’s pretty impressive – a blend of old and new architecture in the middle of Bath – and I guess the most outstanding bit of it is the rooftop infinity pool with panoramic views over the city.  I liked the fact that one could buy a glass of wine in the in-house cafe, (too many ‘healthy’ places don’t do alcohol, which I find very short sighted) – I am convinced that at least 50% of the clientele are recovering from hangovers on any given day!!!!  Not that I was hungover you understand, but I was somewhat jaded after a week that saw me celebrating my birthday on 3 different evenings and a weekend that involved a mini family reunion with my sister who was back from Bahrain and also included lots of later night chatting and a 70’s disco, (by accident) and a wedding reception which we hadn’t even been invited to!!  Anyway, back to the Thermae Spa – I shan’t give massive descriptions, as the website is very comprehensive, but at £20 for 2 hours, (they add on half an hour if you go into the cafe) I thought it was quite pricey for a bit of a bob around and a few bubble jets.  Add on the robe, and towel, (you can bring your own, but it just makes for more to add to my massive washing pile, so I didn’t) and you’re up to £27.  Perhaps I’m just mean – but it seemed like a lot to me.  I liked the Minerva Bath which contained a current that you could either float along with or swim against for a bit of extra exercise, (I managed half a lap) and I also liked the Mineral Shower in the steam rooms which is pure spa water and beats down in a surprisingly pleasant way on your neck and shoulders.  I think it would be excellent fun with a group of people, where you could all hang out and catch up on the gossip as well as relaxing and feeling virtuous without actually doing much!  I’ve heard that Friday or Saturday evenings, after 7.30pm, are the best time to go – everyone else is off out on the town and it’s all but deserted apparently.  It closes at 10.00pm.

So, 1 down, 99 more things to go.  Shopping.  I hate shopping.  And I have always sort of assumed that America has bigger, better shops than we do, so I was suprised and not a little down-hearted when Deb declared that a trip to Swindon’s Outlet Centre, (Gulit-Free Shopping – according to all the posters – I don’t get that at all, do people feel guilty for going shopping?  It really doesn’t resonate with me, but maybe my hatred for shopping overwhelms any guilt I might otherwise feel – I don’t think so, but who knows)?  Still, I was eager to please, so off I trotted – and trotted and trotted.  In and out of every single shop the Outlet Village possesses, (well, it felt like it, but I do exaggerate just a tad) an extended visit to Austin Reed in search of a ‘lightweight, real wool suit that carries through threee seasons’, (nothing liked by Deb) and several days later, (I told you I exaggerate) we left with nothing more than some dried apricots, cashew nuts and figs from the health food store.  A roaring success, not.

Number 3 thing to do was much more to my liking – an extended lunch at the Tapas Bar in Wood Street – Los Gatos.  As it was a Tuesday, the place was pretty quiet, and as usual, the tapas were excellent – the menu has been extended and so has the wine list – some very acceptable chilled Fino Sherry got us off to a good start, follwed by an Amontillado recommended to accompany cheese, (and very nicely it did) and then the progression onto the best Cava I have ever tasted, and I have tasted quite a few over the years!  Sadly, it’s not available in retail apparently, but La Sangier was for me the very best quality with a depth and flavour so close to Champagne that one would be hard pressed to match it with a lot of the real stuff.  Check it out if you possibly can.

Sadly, we didn’t get to do any more things.  The tapas and sparkly were just so good that we decided to carry on at home and that pretty much saw off the rest of the day……………………….in a very pleasant fashion.  Poor old Deb was on a 5.35am coach to the airport this morning and I had the pleasure of dropping her at the bus station – so early risers all round.  I had planned to do all my laundry and get in to work early, but my bed was calling a siren song and I have to confess I returned to it!!!!  Still, 97 things to go on the next trip.  It could take some time!!!!!

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