England 2006

July 18, 2006 – Day 5a

Shakespeare Country

Here are all of today’s photos

Day 5a: Shakespeare Country

The River Avon
The Midlands area is often called “The Heart of England”. This is for good reason… in addition to being some of the most beautiful and “typically English” countryside, it is home to perhaps one of the greatest authors of all time — William Shakespeare.

Stratford swanStratford-upon-Avon is one of the most popular destinations in England, after London. It is recognized as Shakespeare’s hometown, with the Royal Shakespeare Theatre located here. On previous trips, Kathy and I have attended performances here, and there’s no better place to experience Shakespeare, than on his turf.

The River Avon runs through Stratford, and is almost always filled with graceful swans, the “official mascot of Stratford”:

River Avon lock systemThe River Avon, and other waterways/canals throughout the Midlands have an intricate series of locks that allow the river to flow predictably across the rolling countryside.

LongboatsAs such, the lock dimensions define the length and width of the “longboats” that navigate the waterways.

On our last trip, Kathy and I had a great tour up and down the Avon on a boat that also served great food and lots of drinks!

Unfortunately, we didn’t have the opportunity to partake this time around!

Mind the gap!Oh… and “Mind the Gap” is in full play here, too!

Royal Shakespeare TheatreThe Royal Shakespeare Theatre is right alongside the Avon:

Patrick Stewart stars in The TempestHey look, Marge… it’s that Gene Luck Picnic guy!!

Given the beautiful weather, and the fact that Stratford always puts her best face forward to visitors, it’s not surprising that there are amazingly colorful flowers in bloom everywhere:

Stratford flowersStratford flowers

Stratford flowers

Guild ChurchThe next stop is the “Guild Church”, Shakespeare’s church when he lived in Stratford.

Guild Church muralInside is a mural that is one of the oldest in all of England:

Some of the stained glass that line the sides and the front:
Guild Church stained glassGuild Church stained glass

Guild Church interior

Melanie prays in the Guild Church
Melanie decides to get a good word in:

A Shakespearean's HutEven the Pizza Huts in Stratford look “old world” (and *no*… we didn’t stop there for lunch)…

The ChemistChemist… pharmacist… druggist… whatever:

Stratford clock towerNear the center of town is the American Fountain, the gift of George Childs of Philadelphia, to Stratford, in Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee Year.

Melanie makes a new friendMel gets a cool English chick hat… and gets her picture taken with *another* huge bear!

Shakespeare's BirthplaceNext up is Shakespeare’s Birthplace, a beautiful example of a timber and mortar structure that is now the centerpiece of the Shakespeare Museum in Stratford.

The Best Nachos in BritainWe stop for lunch at Cox’s Yard, back at the River Avon… it’s yummy! But… somehow, this claim (below) is like being the “Best Ballerina in Buda”… it’s all relative:

This wall's unsafeAt least the signs are polite:

Unsafe wall
… because yes, it is:

Anne Hathaway's cottageAfter touring Warwick Castle (next journal!), we stop to see Anne Hathaway’s Cottage — she was Shakespeare’s wife:

Upton SnodsburyWe stopped at a pub for some “refreshments” on the way home… this village name just made me laugh: