Stratford-upon-Avon

Originally posted on Blogger on 18 March 2015

Ever since I was in middle school, I have been a fan of Shakespeare. I have not only grown to love the plays, but I’ve gotten the opportunity to be in six different ones. In each of them there is a different distinct flavour that adds to the play. As well as becoming more knowledgeable about Shakespeare’s plays over the years, I’ve also become interested in the time when Shakespeare was writing and the events that were happening in England that he was aware of as he wrote his plays. I have become tremendously passionate and knowledgeable about both things, but I don’t consider myself a Shakespeare scholar by any stretch. At the moment, it’s only a passion, and interest of mine, and if it turns into something like me writing a book that takes place in that time period at some point in my life, great, and if it stays a passion that people know about, then that’s fine as well.

When I came to England for the first time in June 2011, I decided I didn’t want to go to Stratford-upon-Avon, so I ended up going to Stonehenge, Bath and Brighton, all of which were amazing places. I came back, and for the last three years, I haven’t come to a decision about why I decided not to go to Stratford-upon-Avon the first time. I was about to go into my senior year of high school. I already had my passion for Shakespeare. I’d seen several Shakespeare productions and had been in five of the six Shakespeare plays I mentioned.

This time, since I knew I’d be living in London for the semester, I came over with the idea of doing a day trip to Stratford-upon-Avon. I ended up going on Tuesday, 11 March. I woke up early because I was nearly done with The Borgia: The Hidden History by G. J. Meyer and wanted to finish it. (It was fantastic, by the way.) I ended up leaving Regent’s University London at about 09:45 and headed to Baker Street Tube station. From there I caught a Hammersmith & City line train to Euston Square. From Euston Square, I found the London Euston National Rail Station and bought a ticket to Stratford-upon-Avon from a very helpful ticket sales agent who also printed out a copy of my route since I would have to change trains twice on my way.

I easily found my first train and read King Hereafter by Dorothy Dunnett most of the way to my first stop, Birmingham International.

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Out the window of the train

I got off, went to the ticket hall, found the next train, and got on. I’m not sure how long I sat on that train, but a while later, someone made an announcement over the PA system, saying the train was delayed because of an accident on the tracks or something. A while later – all totaled I think I sat on that train for about an hour – the person came back on the PA and told us the train was cancelled, but it would be combining with the next service to Aberystwyth, Wales, the train’s final destination. At this point, I decided to get off and find another way to Stratford-upon-Avon. I disembarked, went back to the ticket hall, and asked a sales agent how I would get to Stratford-upon-Avon from Birmingham International. Once I got those directions, I continued on, going from Birmingham International to Birmingham Moor Street. From there I was able to get a direct train to Stratford-upon-Avon.

Getting there was more of an ordeal than I expected it to be, but once I got there, it was so worth it.

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Monument on the way to the main walking street
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So much Tudor-style architecture

 

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The main walking street
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Shakespeare’s crest. “Non Sans Droict” meaning “Not Without Right”

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Then I went inside Shakespeare’s birthplace and didn’t take any pictures because I got distracted by a place I’d spent a lot of time reading about.

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Lunch spot

Stopped in the branch of Waterstones and did a bit of shopping. Couldn’t resist.

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Saw this on my way back to the train station. “Arden” was Shakespeare’s mother’s maiden name

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