I hate English class. I love reading—so said my favorite childhood shirt—but analyzing the meaning behind an author’s use of “crimson” instead of “red” is enough to make me turn my back on the liberal arts altogether. So I can’t say I’ve ever felt a huge connection to the works of Shakespeare. Leonardo DiCaprio as Romeo? Love. “Much Ado” at the Globe? Awesome. Reading his works line by line and determining what makes him genius? Pass. I think high school English class ruined it for me.
Nevertheless, last Thursday we went on a whirlwind day-and-a-half trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon and I got a little Shakespeare-obsessed. It doesn’t hurt that Stratford is such an adorable town. Observe:
We stayed in an adorable bread & breakfast with a fantastic proprietor.
We saw Shakespeare’s grave.
We saw Shakespeare's birthplace. Did you know that beds used to have ropes underneath the mattresses to provide support, and so “goodnight, sleep tight” means “goodnight, hope your bed-ropes are tight so you’re comfortable?” True story. (We also saw a few other sites that were sort of maybe kind of connected to Shakespeare.)
We saw “Macbeth” performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company. Mixed reviews, but I thought it was great. The RSC did away with the witches and replaced them with children—super creepy.
We had drinks and tea and bonded.
We saw Anne Hathaway’s cottage and ate deliciously crisp apples from her trees.
On our way back to London, some of us stopped off in Warwick because we were told that the medieval castle is well preserved and something to see. It better be well preserved as it cost £21 to get in! (It was more expensive if you wanted to see the haunted dungeon or the dragon tower.) Obvs, we passed. Instead we climbed the tower at St. Mary’s Church and had great views of the castle and the tiny town.
The English countryside is beautiful, and Stratford is absolutely charming. The town may take the Shakespeare connection a bit far sometimes (the desk his schoolteacher might have stood behind!) but who wouldn’t? Willy, we’re friends now. I’ll definitely come back and visit again. xo