Monday, September 27, 2010

Trip to England Part 7: Stratford upon Avon

Royal Shakespeare Theatre, from across the River Avon
The Birthplace of the great William Shakespeare.
An early start, partly to have a full day and partly so no one would see me driving, was needed for the 2 hours drive to Shakespeare's birthplace, Stratford upon Avon. It was a very pleasane drive (actually, the whole manual driving thingy is coming back to me) through Newbury, across the Chiltern Hills, skirting Oxford and then on to Stratford. Not a lot had changed along the way and the journey was uneventful, though the speed of driving was a bit worying in places, especially the M40, where I was cut up by a transit van (nothing new happening there then).
The top of historic Sheep Street with the Town Hall at the far end.

Straford upon Avon is a beautiful old town brought to fame as the birthplace of the great bard William Shakespeare. As a result, theatre is the main trade of Stratford. There are a number of theatres around the town as well as references to famous actots. There are also links to historical figures around the town and surrounding countryside. Today I took a drive to nearby Edgehill, the scene of the first battle in the English Civil War of the 1640's.
The Garrick Inn. Shakespeare is not the only famous name remembered in Stratford.

The town itself is packed with historical buildings as well as modern architecture. Today I was lucky enough to be around at the same time as the food festival which closed many of the streets around Stratford. I was also lucky to see a group of people I hadn't seen in over 5 years. And yet again, like with my family, we just took things up as if it had been a few days. Friendship is something that doesn't need constant work, it transverses time and distance, and I am very lucky to have known so many great people over the years.

 Is your town library as beautiful as this?
 The Dirty Duck/Black Swan. Possibly the most famous pub in Stratford and within sight of the RST.
 The natural wonders are also a hit with tourists and locals, like this mute swan.

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