On our first full weekend back in metro London — and with a rental car now in our possession — we decided to depart the area for the day to visit the town Bath, which lies about 2 hours West.

Our first stop upon arriving was the historical site we presumed helped provide the town with its name, the Roman Baths Museum. What we thought would be a quick 1 hour walk-through turned into a delightful and amazing 2.5 hour stay. With the help of an audioguide, we toured the remains of a bigger-than-expected complex containing bath houses, courtyards, and a temple, all while recognizing we were walking where Romans walked nearly 2,000 years ago. We did not, however, bathe where the Romans bathed as the water in the Great Bath was filled with algae – in Roman times, there was an impressive roof over this section of the complex, preventing the algae-nurturing sun from shining on it.

Some interesting tidbits:
- the temple portion of the site was discovered first, and only about 300 years ago. The bath portion was discovered only 130 years ago, and by accident at that. The story is that in 1880 a local resident was having problems with a persistent leak in the basement. The people brought in to fix this investigated, and in the course of their repair work discovered the baths and their treasurers.
- the site sits on the only natural hot spring in England, and is one of the few Roman baths worldwide whose waters are supplied via a hot spring.
- the Great Bath, despite its age, is still water-tight. It is completely lined with about 2 cm of lead, and the seams connecting the lead pieces are still intact.
- the water in the Sacred Spring (the source for the bath complex) is 115 degrees Fahrenheit, and rises at a rate of about 240,000 gallons a day.
- the Romans at the site used "curse tablets." The tablet is nothing more than a small sheet of lead or pewter with a carefully worded inscription on it to the goddess Minerva, asking her to mete out justice to someone who wronged them. They were then rolled up, and thrown into Sacred Spring for her to read. A large portion of the ones found at the site deal with the theft of one's clothes from the changing rooms in the complex.
- We did get to sample the water from spring. Being quite warm and containing 43 minerals, it sure is an acquired taste.

We grabbed some lunch after the tour in the self-proclaimed "small pub in Bath" — and judging by the insides, I can't imagine they're wrong – and then split up... Chloe and Peggy went to the Fashion Museum to see the exhibit on Lady Di's dresses, and I went strolling around the streets, alleys, and parks with my camera.

We reconnected eventually and took a tour of Bath Abbey, a marvelous piece of Gothic architecture in the center of town. A church of some manner has been on the site for the last 12.5 centuries — Edgar, the first King of England, was crowned there in 973 AD — but the current structure was completed only in 1611. Afterward, we walked some more... over Pulteney Bridge, along the River Avon and eventually to the Parade Gardens, where we found some vacant deck chairs and relaxed some in the afternoon sun, listening to the Abbey bells ringing (they went on for an hour!)

A slide show from the day can be found here.


I Can Understand Why Rugby is So Popular Here...

... the people have to deal with the enrollment procedures for public schools, and need a place to direct their frustration.

The "where and when" of Chloe's schooling is still a big mystery. With about 2 weeks to before the 1st day, it seems as if we are no closer to getting the answers to those questions as we were 3 or 4 weeks ago. Peggy dropped off the application in person this morning, and was told that there is quite a backlog, and we may not get an answer until mid- to late-September; meaning about 2 or 3 weeks after schools have started.

Are we the only ones who see a problem with that? Over here, apparently so, for that fact hardly seem to phase the admissions staff.

We might be hoisting the Gadsden flag here soon, folks. Get the muskets ready.


Home. Ahhhhh....

Arrived home around 8:00 pm last night (or 3:00am London time)... tired for sure, but relieved and happy. (Yours truly was up at 2:30 am this morning, so I suspect my motor skills will nosedive around 6:00pm or so today.)

Here's what greeted us as we walked up to our front door...


A Brief Recap Before Rejoining the Colonies

(and before any historical purists get on my case.... yes, I know... Colorado wasn't one of the original 13 colonies.)

Here are some of things we did/saw/went to/etc. since I last posted...
- Peggy had a business trip to Cologne, Germany and was able to take a brief visit to its landmark cathedral. While perhaps not as ornate or colorful as other ones she's seen while over here (e.g. St. Paul's in London, Notre Dame in Paris) its sheer size makes it amazing in its own right.

- Chloe and I had a day out on the town, which included going to see "Toy Story 3 in 3D" and visiting the (famous) Hamleys Toy Store. Speaking to the former, a great movie for both kids and adults, and a great way to wrap up the Toy Story story. As to the latter, a very impressive collection of games, toys, etc. The place has been around for 250 years, so they must be doing something right.

- A another trip Chloe and I took was to the London Zoo. As far as zoos go, this is one is pretty good in that the animal enclosures didn't seem too small for the animal(s) they were holding, and perhaps it was just luck, but we could actually see a lot of the animals they housed (i.e. they weren't hidden, or inside a building, etc.) There was also a noticeable message of conservation throughout. The one minus to the place is the price of admission: about $55 for Chloe and I to enter.

- On Saturday, we moved to the place we'll call "home" for the next 11 months or so. Here's a map of where it's located. The town of Twickenham is home to the national rugby team for England as well as a professional rugby team, so we're hoping to get to a match while we're here. And right across the river from us is the town of Richmond. Peggy had her first commute via bus from the flat on Monday and it was 45 minutes door-to-door, and that includes stopping off at her favorite coffee shop.

That's about it for now. I best wrap this up and get ready.... the car is coming soon to take us to the airport!


To Paraphrase the Beatles "It Was 2 Years Ago Today..."

... that the Schrammels landed in Boulder.

So we want to take this time to say we're thankful for those who, while perhaps privately questioning our decision to make our move out West, were supportive of it. We also want to say how thankful we are for the friends we have in Boulder... what a great group of people and we look forward to sharing Year 4 with you all.

Clearly this blog has taken on a bit of a European flair lately, and that will continue for the next 12 exciting months or so. But I think each of us has things we'll miss about our home -- our friends, Chamberlain, the mountains, the pace of life, the openness, etc. -- and will be secretly counting down the days until July 31, 2011.