If you’ve been out and about in the centre of Bath, have come across cheeses randomly scattered around, and have wondered what’s going on, this might help to clear things up.
It runs from July 10th until July 16th and will see 74 cheeses, kindly donated by Alkmaar cheesemongers, being scattered around Bath in the windows of Bath’s independent shops and in other ‘prominent’ places (the organisers have made it clear that some cheeses will be hard to find and that not everyone will find them all). The idea is that each cheese will have a fascinating fact about the history of the twinning attached to it, and also a link to a numbered quiz question on the entry form that’s been created for The Big Bath Cheese Trail.
The Trail is free to enter and the winner gets a giant cheese. Of course. (The entry forms with the most correct answers will be placed in a draw and the winner will be drawn at random.)
So, what is the story behind the twinning of Bath and Alkmaar?
Despite the fact that Bath was still reeling from the awful Baedeker bombing raids which devastated the city in 1942, the citizens of Bath raised the equivalent of £250,000 in today’s money for the children of Alkmaar – the city was in the grips of the terrible Hunger Winter of 1946/47 and families were being torn apart by famine and freezing conditions.
As well as sending money, clothing and food, families in Bath played host to a large group of the children who were most in need – giving them a Christmas to remember! Later on Alkmaar returned the gesture by organising a holiday for 50 Bath children. For many of them this was their first trip abroad and their first holiday for many many years.
The first official visit to Bath by dignitaries from Alkmaar took place in 1946, with the cities being twinned in 1947. Although the cities weren’t formally confirmed twinned until May 1990.
To this day the two cities still have regular sporting and cultural exchanges, and so to honour the 70-year anniversary of the cities long friendship, they’ve launched The Big Bath Cheese Trail and Bath Comedy will also be presenting an evening of contemporary cutting-edge Dutch comedy at Widcombe Social Club on July 11th. Besides this we’ve seen that there will be other events in coming months to mark the landmark year, but we’ll save those for a future blog.
In the meantime, if you’d like to enter The Big Bath Cheese Trail then you can download a free entry form here. (After all, it’s a good excuse to go and explore all over Bath, and who wouldn’t want a giant cheese!)