Friday, May 11, 2007

A Midspring Weekend's Holiday

Once again, I'm astounded at my own ability to pun. Get it? Like A Midsummer Night's Dream?? Get it??? Do ya????

For the Bank Holiday weekend, Jason and I took a little trip to Stratford-upon-Avon. Everyone says it's very touristy, what with all the capitalizing on the Shakespeare thing, and well... it is. But it's also quaint and interesting and cute! Here I present my photo essay of the weekend.

Errrm, slight difference in choice of reading material for the 2 hour train ride, eh? I'm classy, he's trashy.

Our hotel was so cute. It's a tudor building and each of the rooms is named after a character in a Shakespeare play. Ours was Ariel, the sprite from The Tempest.

First things first, we got a map and I circled all the sights I wanted to see. Like Shakespeare's Birthplace, Anne Hathaway's Cottage, gardens, etc... Then Jason got ahold of it and put triangles around all the pubs he wanted to go to. See? Something for everyone! But since Jason triangled nearly all the pubs in the town, we decided there was no better place to get started than one of them for lunch.

After pub lunch and pints, we walked around a bit. And saw a statue of someone picking his nose. Sweet.

Well, I'm trying! (Notice the sign...)

This is in the gardens that now comprise the site where Shakespeare's last home stood. This is where he lived out his final years. It was attached to his eldest daughter's home. She was the last of the bloodline.

You may be wondering why his house is gone and replaced by a garden. Well, you're in luck because I happen to know... The man who bought it sometime after his death got so tired of people knocking on the door wanting to see where Shakespeare lived/died, that he eventually knocked the whole thing down. Nice. Way to destroy a national treasure dude.

To be fair, he did try moving out first but the city was still charging him council tax because he owned it. In a big "F you" to the government, he decided that instead of paying taxes on it, he'd demolish it.

We decided the photo theme of this trip would be Glamour Shots. Show me: "C'mere big boy!"

Also in the garden, they have eight sculptures by American Artist Gregg Wyatt. Each sculpture depicts characters, themes, or objects from a different Shakespeare play. It was actually kind of fun to see if we could guess each one. Wow. We really are massive dorks. I never knew how big a nerd I was till I wrote that out... You knew, you say? Oh.

Any guesses from my fellow nerds out there?


This one's easy-peasy.

A Midsummer Night's Dream!

Up next? Better get on with knocking out those pubs. This one is thought to be the oldest pub in Stratford-upon-Avon.

We had to do some halfies if we were going to make it through all of them.

This is where Shakespeare is buried. He paid to be buried underneath the church instead of in the graveyard because he knew if he was outside, graverobbers would try to dig him up and profit off of his remains.

Carved onto the stone marking his grave says "Cursed be he who moves my bones." Yikes.

Ice-cream break!

We went for a walk down the riverside and saw these cute little rowboats named after characters.

On the river cruise...

Up close and personal with the swans. "Stop looking at me swan!" (Big ups to anyone who can name that movie. Takers?)

There are so many things wrong with this picture. First off, ummm... weight limit, anyone? Nearly the whole boat is in the water! Also, look who's sitting back relaxing and who's rowing. Well done, "gentlemen". Good grief.

At The Swan theatre...

Ok. Let me explain. We bought two of these masks for our nieces at the theatre gift shop but they didn't even make it out of the building before I took over the pink one. (We eventually decided that maybe it was best to buy them something else and keep the masks for me.)

Last stop before our pre-dinner nap was The Dirty Duck pub.

Or is it The Black Swan? It's both! The Dirty Duck for the boys and The Black Swan for the girls.

So everyone's happy!

This Shakespeare business is hard work. Little baby's all tuckered out.

'Sup brotha?

One more Glamour Shot at dinner. Show me: "Angelic!"

Day two first stop - Shakespeare's Birthplace.

Another Glamour Shot. Show me: "Serenity in nature!"

I wonder if this bank is old? If only there was some sort of indication... I suppose we'll never know...

The back garden of "Hall's Croft" - Shakespeare's other daughter's house...

The final Glamour Shot. Show me: "I'm too cute for this tree!"

More pubbing....

The Garrick Inn is also thought to possibly be the oldest pub in town. No one knows whether the oldest is really The Windmill or The Garrick. One of life's great mysteries.

Either way, check it off the list!

A slight break from the pubbing for some afternoon tea at Hathaway Tearooms.

And right back to more pubbing... The Queen's Head. Nice sign!

And The Cross Keys.

This was hands down funniest experience of the trip. This is likely one of those stories that's funnier to the people who were there so I'll keep it concise. We took a "ghost tour" of what's said to be the most haunted building in all of England. Right at the last minute this couple walked up to join the tour. The woman was positively WASTED. Could barely stand up. Could barely hold her eyes open. Not to mention she kept telling everyone she had "the sixth sense". Yep. She sees dead people. Before the tour started, the guide told us that spirits often manifest themselves as cold breezes or cold pockets. Therefore, if all the sudden, you felt cold, you were probably standing next to a spirit so you should just step aside. You may see where this is going... Every few minutes, drunkie would pipe up and slur that her "feets are like blockssh of icshe" or that she felt "a cool breezsh" or that she could "feel a preschense". I looked at her several times and she was standing there with her eyes closed swaying about. I was PRAYING she would just topple over at some point.

What do you think happens when Jason and I have 5 minutes to kill to allow time for my hair appliance to cool down before packing it? I don a cat mask and perform scenes from Romeo and Juliet. What else?!?

Here's the link if the video isn't working from here...

And here's the link if the video isn't working again...

Last day - We went to see the last two of the five Shakespeare cottages. This is Anne Hathaway's (his wife). The gardens were so amazing.

And a perfect setting for one last Glamour Shot. Show me: "High school graduation photo!"

This was so cute. There was a little duck family climbing out of the water and went waddling down the trail. All the sudden, we heard this high pitched little chirping/quacking noise and saw that one last baby duck was struggling to get up the bank. The mom came running back and made sure he got out ok. Once he got on land, we could see that one of his feet was all wonky and he couldn't walk very well. So sad!

From wee ducks to huge chickens... Seriously, have you ever in your life seen chickens like this?

Umm, ouch? Mannequins. You all know what this means. And if you don't, see our Bruges trip last August...

I never saw a mannequin I didn't want to immitate.

Mind your head? Mind your HEAD?? How about mind the entire upper half of your body?

Nearly finished with the pubs! "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can..."

Last one! We did it! We did it!!

And it left me with just enough of a beer buzz to put me right to sleep on the train home.

The finished product...


andrea said...

Your Romeo and Juliet was spot on, good job!

And the movie? Billy Madison. What a great, yet awful, movie!

Monique said...

oh shoot Andrea beat me too it I was gonna post
'BILLY MADISON!!!!!!!!!!'
great pictures - looks like it was a great trip!

Beth said...

Ah man, Billy Madison! I can often be heard reminding everyone that shampoo goes on first to clean the hair. Looks like such a great trip!

Beth said...

PS Just awarded you a Thinking Blogger Award because you teach me things like Tea for Two is better than Tea for Three, and don't cut your hand while you are home alone.

A Novelist said...

Stratford is gorgeous! What a precious town. I love all the pictures and your Romeo & Juliet performance - Broadway, here you come! ;)

Thanks for sharing. I'm glad you and Jason had a nice, relaxing weekend! :)

Lawrence Gage said...

Just ran across your blog at random. Great photos... and captions. The clairvoyant drunk story is LOL funny.