Inevitably, the breakfast conversation eventually turned to the main attraction in Bath: The Roman Baths. Specifically, whether or not we got to see them the day before.
To a shocked audience, we described our failed attempts to collect our “welcome packets” from Bath tourism, all due to my not wanting to print out every multi-page confirmation email for every reservation on our 14 night trip (god forbid you try to do something right for the environment). Our hostess was most shocked– apparently she wasn’t even aware that Bath Tourism was offering such incentives to book through their website (although for us, it was less an incentive and more an unexpected bonus– Bath Tourism was simply the only website that books rooms at Abbey Rise), and was appalled that we should be turned away so easily. We’d already resigned ourselves to the idea that we would likely as not fail in our mission to see the Baths, but we’d give it one more try before heading onward later in the day. Our hostess, insisted she would have printed our requisite confirmation emails herself, had her printer been working, but instead took Abbey Rise stationery and wrote a note to Bath Tourism, indicating we were, in fact, guests, and asking them to provide us with the welcome pack as promised. This was truly above and beyond any expectation, and an auspicious start to our string of B&Bs throughout the country.
Our tablemates had other ideas– one party suggested we “play the race card”. Neither Joe nor I had any idea what that meant– last I checked, “American” wasn’t a race and although Joe is Filipino, it’s hardly anything you’d invoke to get special privileges. It was a confusing moment.
After breakfast, we showered, repacked our belongings and hauled them back to the car. In the narrow hallways, even our few bags made it seem like we were carrying everything but the kitchen sink. (Joe had a large wheeled camping backpack and a messenger bag; I had a small wheeled duffel [carry-on sized], a backpack and a purse. Hardly heavy for a trip lasting a fortnight.)
Armed with our note, we locked up the car with most of our luggage, braved the spiders, and proceeded directly to the tourism office as before.
Unfortunately, the note was a bust. They told us that they really needed the confirmation email because they needed to stamp it. Why they couldn’t just stamp the note, or the page in my book with the confirmation information, is beyond me, but they needed the confirmation email to stamp. This tourism officer, however, was much more helpful than the one the day before. She suggested, I forward the confirmation email to their email and then they could print it for us, stamp it, and send us on our merry way. Free wi-fi in the office made this even easier. (Of course, why they couldn’t just pull up the confirmation email they sent me in the first place is beyond me, and still…)
Easy though it may have been, it was another 20 minutes before it was all said and done– I had to set up my email on Joe’s phone, find the appropriate email and send it to their email, wait for their email to receive it— as luck would have it, I sent a later email which didn’t contain all of the confirmation information, and had to send another one… eight single-sided pages of email later (huge waste of paper), we were good to go– printed, stamped, and welcomed, we had our “Fast Track” to the Baths in hand and were ready to skip the line…
Of three people.
Apparently 11am Sunday isn’t the most popular time to visit the Baths. Really glad we spent 20 minutes trying to get that bloody stamp.