Another Day in Stratford

Some of my friends were a little bit envious of my last trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon, so we decided to take advantage again of the 4-for-2 deal of train tickets and I got to spend another Saturday in Shakespeare’s hometown. Once more, I didn’t get to do everything there is to do, but it was still a very enjoyable day spent with wonderful friends!

We arrived around noon, so we went to the river to have a picnic for lunch. It was another beautiful, sunny day, though a little bit colder than last week (I think it was about 50 degrees for most of the day). The river was still gorgeous and full of swans, geese, ducks, and sea gulls. We sat in the grass near a musician playing Beatles music. (It seems to be a common theme among any street performer here, regardless of the instrument—violin, guitar, accordion, drums—they always have a full repertoire of Beatles songs!)

We then went to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre to see a musical. The only show that was on yesterday was Marat/Sade, which wasn’t a Shakespeare play, but it was still very interesting and I’ll talk about it in a different post later this week. I’ve realized that I’ve never actually seen a Shakespeare play: I’ve seen dozens of film adaptations and I’ve even been in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but I haven’t actually seen a staged Shakespeare performance—add that to the bucket list!

Afterward, we went to Trinity Church, which was where Shakespeare was baptized and buried. I can’t begin to describe what I felt when I saw his grave inside the church. I was hit by such a morbid finality that I honestly couldn’t hold back tears. I know his legacy lives on in his work and in his monumental contributions to the English language, but I just felt like the importance of his entire life hit me all at once; I was standing in the place where Shakespeare’s life began and ended. At the same time, it was inspiring for me as a writer: the English language is almost a religion for me, and Shakespeare had a huge part in making English what it is today. I do think that maybe, just maybe, if I have even a fraction of the creative energy that Shakespeare had, I can someday make a difference as a writer.

By this time, all of the Shakespeare sights were closed, so we just wandered through the town for a little bit and stopped at a really cute tea shop. I had a proper scone—fresh out of the oven and slathered with strawberry jam and clotted cream. On our way back to the train station, we walked by Shakespeare’s house of birth and also explored a little magic shop (it was called the “Creaky Cauldron,” as a spoof of the “Leaky Cauldron” from Harry Potter!) where we found wands, love potions, and spells.

Stratford-Upon-Avon is a gorgeous town, and I’m actually glad that I still didn’t get to go inside any of the Shakespeare sights, because it gives me a reason to go back there!

Within the next few days, I’ll be posting more pictures from this weekend and also a review of the play we saw.

In the meantime, stay beautiful, everyone!

Love, Elizabeth