It’s definitely safe to say that Morgan and I can’t get enough of seeing new places. We spent Sunday and Monday in Wales and booked a trip for Tuesday before we’d even left. We chose Stratford-upon-Avon for our next adventure, a small, picturesque town about three hours by bus northwest of London. It’s the place where Shakespeare was born, which apparently attracts about five million tourists a year. I believe it, and met people from India, Iran, South Africa, and Australia! Aside from museums and preserved homes, the town has dozens of cute shops and cafes. My favorite was an entire shop devoted to Peter Rabbit memorabilia. I miss my bunnies.
We only had seven hours to wander, so we bought tickets for the main, most tourist-y attractions possible: Shakespeare’s birthplace, Anne Hathaway’s family cottage (his wife, not the actress from Les Misérables), and Hall’s Croft (his daughter and son-in-law’s home). We saw the birthplace first, which was the most interesting to me, a mild history geek. There were three actors placed throughout the house who explained the history of the rooms, one of which even reenacted a bit from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Some of the furniture in the home dates back to before Shakespeare was even born, which is actually pretty hard to wrap your head around. “Oh, that dresser is from the 15th century… Neat” doesn’t quite cut it.
Anne Hathaway’s cottage was absolutely beautiful. The cottage itself was so quaint and cozy–exactly what I picture when I think of the English countryside. The backyard was extensive, with orchards, a lavender maze, and even a section of woods with a long path running through it.
We didn’t get to go into Hall’s Croft, which was unfortunate. It closed at 4:00 and we got there around 4:08… of course. We tried to see Shakespeare’s grave, but the church was also closed when we got there. So, we just walked around the cemetery which is actually a pretty weird thing that people do. Creepy as it was, I thought it was really interesting to see the graves of people who lives hundreds of years ago. People who are so dead that even their tombstones are dead. Most of them were completely covered in moss, or cracked, or no longer had engravings on them. Stratford-upon-Avon still has an antique charm to it and is full of history, so I could begin to imagine what life may have been like for these people.
This may have been my favorite day since arriving in London. We saw the bed where Shakespeare was born, learned how to make gloves (finally), befriended a feral cat, and drank hot chocolate while it snowed. Pretty top notch experience.