As some of you know, last weekend I went with Celine and Hannah to Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon. It was a beautiful, historic town, and I’m so thrilled to have walked in the steps of Shakespeare himself. We had a wonderful trip, and were in fact very well educated!
Before I describe Stratford, I wanted to share the lovely experience I had walking with my friends Emma and Jolie in the (flooded) park. Apparently, flood levels are higher in England than they have for about 16 years, but they make for some great pictures. Especially on a sunny day.
And…. we’re moving forward.
We left in the morning, and travelled to Stratford by train! Mind you, this was my first European train ride, so I may have been more excited about it than I ought to be. We had to change trains twice, but it was worth it!
When we arrived in Stratford, we hadn’t a clue what to do. We just walked towards the center of town, and came across Shakespeare’s birthplace (the house), as well as these things:
We had a lot of fun checking out the city itself. At Shakespeare’s birthplace we purchased tickets to visit said birthplace, his grave, Nash’s House, Hall’s Croft, and Anne Hathaway’s cottage (NOT the actor). I will describe these sites briefly here, but for a more detailed description of each, you can visit my Journal Entries page (to be posted shortly).
We visited Shakespeare’s birthplace first, which still contained some of the original stone flooring! I literally stepped where Shakespeare stepped, as well as countless other historical figures.
Next we went to Nash’s House, the site where Shakespeare’s final house was said to be. This house had a beautiful garden in the back.
We asked one of the tour guides about good tea houses in Stratford, and she pointed us to a place called Four Teas. It was set with a 1940’s theme (get it… forties… Four Teas?). The interior was filled with old posters and forties-style furniture, and even the waiters dressed in character! We ordered the Lunch Special, complete with scones, mini sandwiches, cakes, and of course, tea. It was absolutely worth it!
After lunch, we headed to Shakespeare’s grave, my favorite part of the trip. His grave is housed in a beautiful church, Holy Trinity Church. Here is a view from across the river:
And from the outside:
And of the altar by which Shakespeare is buried:
And of Shakespeare’s grave:
After Shakespeare’s grave we toured Hall’s Croft and Anne Hathaway’s cottage. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t hold up, and I wasn’t able to snap any nice pictures. Anne Hathaway’s cottage was also being restored, and a large scaffold covered much of the house. However, we did come upon a very cute and friendly cat inside the cottage. She made me realize how much I’ve missed my doggies. 😦
For dinner we went to the Garrick Inn, the oldest pub in Stratford-upon-Avon. The food was a bit expensive, and the service was slow, but we thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere!
And that’s that. We headed back to the train, and back to Oxford.
Monday night, I went with Kate and Emma to see Swan Lake at the New Theater! It was a beautiful ballet. We sat in the very back row of the balcony, and still had a good view of the stage. Yet, many of the other audience members were rude – someone even took a picture with flash photography! Still, I enjoyed the performance, and my love for ballet has been rekindled.
During the week I spent my time reading and writing papers. We finished our discussion of The Lord of the Rings in my Inklings Seminar, and now we have moved on to the poetry of Charles Williams. I also finished my analysis of Eliot’s “The Wasteland” (thank goodness), and have moved on to Philip Larkin’s The Whitsun Weddings.
Valentine’s Day was unfortunately uneventful. I did, however, receive a card and CD from Eddie, which was very uplifting (and romantic). He better be enjoying the cheap English candy from Tesco that I sent him. 😛
On Saturday Celine and I went to Summertown to go thrift shopping! Mind you, this was the first time I stepped foot in a clothing store since I began the semester in January. I believe that is an accomplishment.
Saturday night, we had a “Lonely Hearts’ Club” dinner in the JCR. People made spaghetti, and I did the eating. 😉
Other than that, I have been busy with reading and writing for my seminars and tutorials. To conclude, here are some more miscellaneous pictures from my week:
Hoping everyone back home is well. I know I said I would be going to London this weekend (yesterday), but the trip got pushed back to the next. It will be my first time in London! Hooray!
‘Til the next, cheers!