Friday, January 6, 1989

Birthplace of The Bard ...

Only a couple of days left before we have to return to the reality of college life in Hull!

J.P. and I ate breakfast at about 8.30 a.m. (very good and filling), then packed our things, left the pub, and explored Stratford-Upon-Avon.

First, we went to visit Shakespeare's Birthplace. (Picture #1: Me at Shakespeare's abode). It was a very well preserved old home. We walked around the house, admired the historic furniture and costumes, and especially the original manuscripts and books on display. We even got into an interesting conversation with one of the tour guides for quite awhile.

I got some keen photographs of the home, then we walked through the gift shop (which we learned was not an original feature of Shakespeare's home when he lived there!). I bought a Shakespeare poster for Viv. (Picture #2: My ticket stub from the tour. Yes, it may seem like I saved everything!)

Next we walked along the Avon River (the "Upon Avon" part of Stratford), marveling at the hundreds of ducks and swans that congregated along the banks of the river. It was quite amazing. (Picture #3: The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, and a congregation of ducks and swans in the Avon River.)

We walked into the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and looked around a bit. Decided not to get tickets to see a show today. (I did get to see one, "Julius Caesar," when I was here for my class trip in '87. That was a bit of a mistake, though. A group of tired high school travelers taken to see a heavy 5 act, no breaks, play. However, I'll never forget when my friend Justin, who had fallen asleep, was startled awake by the actor's scream of "Brutus!")

From there we visited the Church of the Holy Trinity, where Shakespeare is buried (and was baptised). We continued to scour the town, and I found a book store where I bought two more James Bond paperbacks for 25p each. We ate a good meal at a little restaurant that had a luncheon deal for £3.50. It was well worth it!

Well our next destination was Plymouth, which required a bit of a train ride. So after lunch it was time to bid farewell to Stratford and head back to the train station. We wrote a few postcards until the train to Birmingham arrived. I finished writing mine on the train ride while J.P. slept.

When we finally got to the train station, we had a long wait because the train to Plymouth was delayed 78 minutes due to a freight train that had caught fire and forced other trains to re-route.

Soon, we boarded the Inner City 125 and were on our way to Plymouth. We sat next to a very annoying kid who liked to use the word "turd" a lot, but it was an otherwise pleasant journey.

We were overwhelmed by our first impressions of Plymouth, which were even more pleasant. The weather was warm, and it was enjoyable walking around at 9 p.m. We found a very nice Bed & Breakfast to stay in (Picture #4, the business card for Westwinds, where we stayed), for only £9.50 each, then went for a walk and grabbed some dinner.

The waterfront was incredible, and the scenery along with the unbelievably warm weather almost immediately made this trip to Plymouth worthwhile. (Picture #5, the scenic Plymouth Hoe Waterfront, featuring the landmark Smeaton's Tower.) We continued to walk around and found a nice little restaurant that was still serving dinner. We both ordered the lasagna and salad. After dinner we explored the waterfront a bit more, the site where the Pilgrims departed for America back in 1620. Then we returned to the room, where after a little reading, I went to sleep.

I don't think I can express enough how pleasant this place is.

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