Today was a great day in Stratford upon Avon! It started off rainy, but we all had our umbrellas to stay somewhat dry.
Right after getting off the train, the first thing I noticed was how old and beautiful all the buildings were. I didn’t notice any buildings that looked modern which gave this town an authentic feel. Even many of the store fronts had intricate wood work designs.
We had free time the first couple of hours. We started off with going into some thrift stores. I really loved how each of the thrift stores had unique charities they were supporting. We went into shops called Minds Matter (for mental health), the Autism Shop, Cancer Research UK, and Blue Cross Charity shop. It was cool to see these shops supporting current charities in a historical town. After shopping a bit, a group of us went to lunch at “The Boston Tea Party.” The food was so good. I got avocado toast which I was so excited to see on the menu because it is my favorite breakfast to make at home. Also, they had these delicious iced coffees that were made with avocado and maple syrup. It tasted like a coffee milk shake!
After lunch, we met with the group to take a tour of Stratford. The rain stopped and the sun came out just in time! One of the first things the tour guide mentioned was that the World Health Organization used Lady Macbeth’s speech about hand washing to show the importance of washing hands during COVID. It’s cool to see the impact Shakespeare still has today. Also, I found it interesting that none of Shakespeare’s plays were performed in his birthplace during his lifetime.
One of my favorite spots on the tour was the Elizabeth Scott Theater. I thought it was cool that it was designed by a woman who was one of the first prominent female architects. Also, the tour guide pointed out the Garden Theater. This is an area that acted as an outdoor theater for Shakespeare plays to continue during COVID. It’s amazing that they still found a way to perform during COVID, and I think this shows how important Shakespeare really is.
My favorite part of walking around Stratford was how beautiful both the architecture and the nature were. There were gorgeous trees and flowers everywhere! Also, the swans were so pretty, and at one point two of them ran on the water all the way down the river!
After the tour we went into Shakespeare’s birth place. I learned that during this time beds were a sign of wealth and were used to entertain visitors. I found this weird because today when visitors come over to people’s houses the bedrooms are usually the one place guests stay out of. I thought the bedrooms were cool; they were so colorful and had intricately designed wallpaper. I commented on the wallpaper in one room, and the woman working there said it was just a replica and the original wallpaper is in a Pizza Express in Oxford. I thought this was funny.
After walking through Shakespeare’s birthplace we shopped around some more. I was able to go to a chocolate shop and tea shop and get some gifts for my family and friends! In the chocolate shop they were giving out free samples of white chocolate hot chocolate, and it was the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had. After this, we headed to dinner and it was delicious! I got the Brie and goat cheese parcels for an appetizer and shiitake and oyster stroganoff for dinner. It was honestly the best meal I’ve had here so far!
After dinner, we caught the train back to Birmingham! I had a lot of fun today, and it was my favorite day so far! Although, I am exhausted after 20,000 steps. Ready to get some sleep and prepare for another great day tomorrow!