Sunday, June 5, 2011

All the World's a Stage...

Waking up at 6:30 am to get on a bus is hard enough then with tours of castles, farms, cottages, and churches, and a play makes for a very long day. And boy did our bus driver know how to talk. and talk. and talk. But we were excited to head out of the city for a few days and experience Shakespeare first hand in Stratford. Our first stop was Coventry Cathedral. This cathedral was bombed during the blitz so half of the church is in ruins and the other half has been rebuilt.

After a good 45 minutes spent at the cathedral we were back on the bus and headed toward Kenilworth Castle. It belonged to Queen Elizabeth I and that is about all I remember about it.

Next stop was Anne Hathaway's cottage (no not the actress from Princess Diaries) more like she was Shakespeare's wife.

There was a ton of land in her backyard full of woodland and even a maze! Yes, we all made it through the maze...without cheating!

If you can even believe it the day did not end there. We were back on the bus and on our way to Mary Arden's Farm also known as Shakespeare's mother. This was a literal working farm. We saw pigs, horses, sheep, cattle, and even a falcon demonstration.

We finally arrived in Stratford and were dropped off at 3 different bed and breakfast's. Luckily for Meisha and I we somehow got put in the one that was a mile outside of town but it was also the nicest one so we were not complaining. We had about 20 minutes to put our stuff down and then get back on the bus to head back into town grab a bite to eat and head to the theater to see Merchant of Venice.
Girl's of flat 6

When we finally got home from the 3 and a half hour play we could not get into bed fast enough. They weren't letting us catch up on rest either. We had to be downstairs the next morning at 8:00 am for breakfast and then more sight seeing.
If you are thinking that I don't look as perky as usual in the above picture it is because I barely got any sleep the night before. You would think after the day we had I would crash and burn, yeah not the case.

Our first stop was Shakespeare's birthplace. We were able to walk through his childhood home which was much bigger than I was expecting. The girls bedroom alone could fit 2 and a half of our little bedroom in our flat!

Then we were off to see the Nash house and Hall's Croft. To tell you the truth I can't keep much of the things we saw straight. Pretty much after the first house they all seemed to be very much the same and I was running off no energy. But both the houses are relatives of Shakespeare either son-in-laws of granddaughters or something. It was actually a gorgeous day so most of us ended up laying in the grass and soaking up the sun at most of these spots...oops!

After the sight seeing we had the afternoon free so we spent it eating lunch in the park, going on rowboats on the Avon river and seeing Shakespeare's grave followed by going back to the theater to see Macbeth.

Friday we woke up early once again got back on our bus and headed home. We stopped at Blenheim palace where Winston Churchill was born. The Duke and Duchess of Marlbourgh live there now and Meisha and I were able to see the Duke returning home from his morning game of golf. This was my favorite place that we visited. The grounds were massive and went on for miles.

Rose Garden

Secret Garden

Final stop was Oxford where we visited Christchurch. The filming spot for the Great Hall and Quidditch Pitch in Harry Potter and where all the inspiration for Alice in Wonderland came.

Quidditch Pitch

Our great group!

Until next time...

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