[We set off from our home in Bath on 29 April, and followed the Kennet and Avon canal to London and then Dover, camping and staying with friends. From Calais we headed east along the coast to the first alternative Bath, in an unexpected place…]
Bath, Netherlands? Most Dutch shake their heads and deny knowledge of it. After all, the ‘th’ sound does not occur in Dutch.
But Bath exists, just a few kilometres north-east of Antwerp and south-west of the intriguingly named Bergen op Zoom, Holland’s great tribute to 1960s ice lollies.
We got caught in a shower just outside Bath, appropriately. No-one spoke enough English to explain why it should be called Bath, but we did find out something from a couple of Dutch cyclists (the village is on the LF13 Schelde to Rhein long distance cycle route). The village was founded as Fort Bath in 1785, and destroyed in WWII. So at least it does have something in common with the West Country namesake.
A collection of 50 or so houses on a remote estuary bank, the village was decked out with bunting when we arrived. Not for us, sadly, but for the Queen’s birthday. It has no shops or bars and only a handful of short streets, one of which is Arsenaal street. Well, half of the team is Dutch I suppose. But there didn’t seem much we could actually do while visiting our home town’s Holland namesake.
Then it started raining again, so we had lunch, chatted to our Dutch cyclist friends, and zoomed on to Bergen. Good job we weren’t going to Monster, which is near The Hague.