All the world's Baths
Have you ever seen those 'Twinned with...' signs and wondered what those twins are like? Or found places in other countries with the same name as your home town?
So did Rob Ainsley, a writer and journalist from Bath. From May 1999 to August 2000 he visited all the 'Baths' in the world: four twins, one sister and one partner city, plus two dozen places of the same name. Most of this was done by bicycle, including all the European and Japanese legs.
It was an eighteen-month journey that included Holland, France, Germany, Hungary, Australia, Japan, Taiwan, New Zealand, America, Canada, Jamaica, Barbados, and St Kitts-Nevis, and Scotland.
Rob also visited places which, like Bath, are World Heritage sites - Venice for example - and some of Bath's counterparts in the Urban Forum for Sustainable Development, such as Delft and Vienna.
With the launch of Bath's Millennium Spa project coming up, which will see Britain's only thermal waters again open to the public, the trip also took in many hot springs around the world which have helped inspire the city's remarkable project: Rotorua in New Zealand, for instance.
The trip, prepared with the help of Bath and North East Somerset Council, will be written up in a book - coming sometime soon. Er, maybe.
Rob's dozen books to date include the humorous guides Bluff Your Way in Japan and Bluff Your Way on the Internet. He has also written for various newspapers (The Independent, The Guardian) and magazines (including Cycling Plus, Total Football, and Classic CD). He also wrote a regular humorous guide to living in England for the UK Japanese newspaper Eikoku News Digest
His previous cycle tours have included Land's
End to John O'Groats (Britain's 'end-to-end'); and London to Athens.