“If music be the food of love, play on”

29 Apr

It is this famous Shakespeare quote that is written on the magnet Matt and I bought to remind us of our day trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon in the UK. There are many other famous quotes from the man himself, which the five of us – Geri, Kristy, Jo, Matt and I – cited (quite dramatically as well) as we drove into town on a sunny Saturday morning in early April. We were there to explore the town where Shakespeare was born, where he died and is now buried.

The town itself is really quite pretty – situated along the river Avon with a lot of green space with a typical old English village feel to it. We followed our own walking tour Jo found on the official tourist website. It lead us to Shakespeare’s birthplace, the house where his daughter grew up, the house he died in at the ripe old age of 52, the Grammar School where Shakespeare is believed to have gone to school (which is still the Boys Grammar School today), and the Holy Trinity Church, where the big S now rests, along with his wife Anne, daughter and son-in-law. At the Holy Trinity Church, a nice old man came up to us and started telling us a story about Shakespeare’s life, the town of Stratford-Upon-Avon and he pointed out the birth and death registries where Shakespeare’s name is recorded. He was such a charming chap, full of life and he told the story in such a dramatic way, it was almost like he was the official narrator of Shakespeare’s life.

It was also during our very own walking tour that we came across a Barclay’s Bank (could it have been the bank where Shakespeare kept all his money?);  a ‘Bright Ideas’ shop (perhaps where Shakespeare came up with all his plays?); the ‘One Stop’ shop (he may have bought his groceries here… you never know!); and we think, that just mayybbee, we saw (although it could have been a fragment of our imaginations), Shakespeare himself, sitting on a bench, just taking in life in his town. Of course, we’re making this up, but we had fun strolling around the town, coming up with elaborate stories of where Shakespeare spent his time and how he lived his life. Don’t worry, we know we are fools. What fools these mortals be! I believe that is an official Shakespeare quote!

After having a good laugh about all the stories we came up with, we had lunch in a lovely pub with two names – The Black Swan and The Dirty Duck, depending on which way you approach it. Walk from the Holy Trinity Church and the sign says The Black Swan. Walk from the town, and it’s called the other. No sense to it, but it’s kind of Shakespearian, don’t you think?! We also made a visit to Anne Hathaway’s cottage – not the actor, but Shakespeare’s wife. It’s a beautiful, thatched roof cottage just outside of the town with a beautiful garden. We didn’t make it inside, but we did sneak some photos through the bushes.

On the way home, all four girls slept, while Matt, our trusty driver, drove us back to London. Don’t worry, he really misses driving and never passes up an opportunity to be the designated driver on our road trips. We stopped off at Warwick for a quick look at the castle there before heading down the highway, back to the hustle and bustle of London town.

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