Posted by: musinganorak | July 12, 2010

Bath Time

Yesterday morning saw us setting off early, very early for a Sunday, to Bath. The plan was to be in the city before the inevitable traffic jams built up on the city approaches. We were successfully parked up by 09:00 and ready to go. The reason for visiting Bath was lions, specifically The Lions of Bath 2010 public art exhibition, cleverly subtitled Pride in our City. There are 100 decorated situated throughout Bath and it’s near environs. Although I had a list of them downloaded from the internet I didn’t yet have a map showing their relative locations, so the first mission was to find the Tourist Information office, which, it transpired, didn’t open until 10:00. Oh well, just time for breakfast in The Pump Room!

We found a few lions whilst aimlessly wandering round, but once we had the official map we were able to hatch a plan of attack. One major advantage that Bath has over London is its size. You can comfortably get from one side of the city centre to the other in around 10-15 minutes. Try getting down Oxford Street that quickly!

Although the lions are life sized models they are nowhere near as imposing as either the elephants or rhinos, but then I guess you’d expect a certain degree of understatement in this genteel Georgian city. The other major difference I noticed between the elephants and the lions was that, despite large numbers of tourists in both cities, the lions were being ignored by passers-by on the whole. The smaller size of the lion sculptures also meant that there could be more imaginative placement of them. A large number were in shop windows or on roofs and porches meaning that you had to keep your eyes well and truly peeled to spot them.

The biggest disadvantage of doing this sort of thing on a Sunday is that a number of the premises holding lions were not open. A couple could be seen through shuttered windows and there was no sign at all of some of the others. Also a number of lions that had been positioned have had to be removed for repairs following vandalism. That’s right, vandalism in Bath. A lot of the outdoor lions are mounted on trolleys meaning they can be wheeled inside each evening for safe keeping.

During the day we managed to find and photograph 73 of the 100, a considerably higher percentage return than I ever managed hunting elephants in London. I shall return in early August to see as many of the rest as possible, and will probably head back at the start of October when all 100 will be exhibited for 2 days in front of the the Royal Crescent allowing me to see any I may have missed.

I said it with the elephants and I’ll say it again, these public art exhibitions are a really good excuse to go out and explore different parts of the host city. No matter how often you may have visited in the past you are always taken to parts you never knew existed. Roll on Chester next weekend!

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