Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Last Stop on September's Road Trip: Shakespeare's Home Town

As promised, I'm finally posting the last of the pictures from the road trip Lee and I took in September.  I sure took my sweet time with these but hey, I have been posting other stuff so it's not like I forgot that I have a blog.  Anyway, Stratford-upon-Avon is fairly close to Warwick so we decided to swing through there before we hit the road to go home.  It's a really cute little English town and I would not at all mind going back a second time since we were only there for a few hours.

One of the first things we saw was a set of statues; in the center is Shakespeare and he's surrounded by statues of four of his famous characters.  I think this is Falstaff; I've only read a few of Shakespeare's plays so I'm not quite as literate as I could be in this regard.

This one I think is Prince Hal crowning himself king as Henry V.

This one I know for sure is Lady Macbeth, trying to wash the blood off her hands.  "Out, out, damned spot!  Out I say!"  I confess, I've quoted that line to my dad's spotted dog Ginger when she goes in the kitchen, only usually I say "darned".

And here's Hamlet, having his philosophical heart-to-skull with Yorick.  Oddly, I don't seem to have taken a picture of Shakespeare's statue in the middle.

Here is the birthplace of William Shakespeare; we got to town early enough in the morning that there weren't a ton of people out and about when I got this picture.  An hour later there's no way I could have gotten this without a dozen people in it.  You can tour the house, but we didn't because it was like over 10 pounds a person and we thought that was kinda steep for a small building.

This is the jester Touchstone from the play As You Like It, and no I wouldn't have known that without my trusty friend Google.  I would actually love to read Shakespeare's entire catalog and I'm interested to see the film Anonymous, which is based on the premise that all these enduring works were not actually written my Shakespeare and that he took credit for someone else's work.  I'm intrigued.

Just 'cause I thought it was fun to see the architecture around the town.  Down the street from Shakespeare's birthplace, Lee and I had lunch at this place that was really good, I'm sad I don't remember the name of it but I'm sure I'd know it if we went back.  We had sandwiches and scones and cream tea and how do I love scones and cream tea.  Yummmm.

This is the bank that's around the corner from Shakespeare's birthplace.  Other sites in town include Anne Hathaway's cottage (no, not Princess Diaries Anne Hathaway, I mean Shakespeare's wife Anne Hathaway) but we didn't have time to go see that.

Here's the river Avon, which also flows past Warwick Castle.  There are some riverboat tours, but again, we hadn't the time to check them out.

Hey look, it leans to the left!  I think this was a combination restaurant/hotel that I just thought looked neat.  It was across the street from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

Which is here.  We did go inside, although we didn't go into the theatre itself if that makes any sense...we stayed out in the atrium area.  Lee and I were thinking it would be cool to go and see a play here sometime, so we'll have to check their schedule and see what they're doing.  Anyone have any suggestions as to what play, Shakespearean or otherwise, we should try to see?  I'm kind of interested in The Tempest but that might be because one of my stitching projects is Miranda.

Anyway, we walked along the river for a ways and then went into the Holy Trinity Church, which is Shakespeare's burial place.  We did the suggested donation of two pounds each to go inside and the nice older gentleman who took our money encouraged us to take pictures when he saw the camera.

This is up on the wall to the left of the graves of Shakespeare, his wife Anne, and their elder daughter Susanna.

The stained glass above the graves.  With the low light it was really hard to get a good picture, this one isn't all that good and it's far and away the best I got.

And here is the final resting place of William Shakespeare and his wife Anne Hathaway.  Wonder why we still call her Anne Hathaway rather than Anne Shakespeare...

This was hanging up in the other end of the church and I just liked the looks of it.

And this kind of gives you an idea of what the whole church looks like.  As I said before, I'd like to go back to Stratford again and maybe go ahead and pay the exorbitant entry fee to see Shakespeare's birthplace and go see some of the other sites too.  They have a number of souvenir shops up and down the street where his birthplace is; I got myself a couple of magnets with Shakespeare quotes on them just because I liked them.  One says, "Better a witty fool than a foolish wit" (Twelfth Night) and the other says "This above all--to thine own self be true" (Hamlet).  They had copies of the Oxford edition of the complete works of Shakespeare, and while it would be cool to own that and say "Why yes, I bought that in Stratford-upon-Avon", I'd rather have one with footnotes.  I think I need the footnotes.

When I was in high school, we of course read Romeo & Juliet (I still remember my freshman English teacher going over several of the scenes..."but soft!  What light from yon window breaks?  It is the east, and Juliet is the sun"), Twelfth Night, Macbeth, and Hamlet.  We also watched the Elizabeth Taylor version of Taming of the Shrew along with the Moonlighting episode where Cybil Shepard and Bruce Willis did that play (kinda wish I could get just that one episode on DVD...); Much Ado about Nothing (Michael Keaton is *hilarious*!), and I think the Mel Gibson Hamlet (this was before he went crazy).  My brother and his best friend Devlin did a thing for their Speech & Debate class where they performed The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) and there was a lightsaber fight involved.  Talk about hilarity...


CCsMom said...

How cool is that? Now this is how I picture England. Very interesting. You definitely will have to go back there.

Hey, it's Adam's 30th birthday today! When you first met him, you tried to shove your sucker in his mouth. Well, you were SHARING, now, weren't you? Hee hee! Cannot believe it's been 30 whole years. Wow.

You have a wonderful day -- I'm out the door to work -- only 7 more days of work, which is what I'm counting down. Love you!!!

Giffysk8s said...

Okay, Miss Christy, I absolutely MUST see this and tour his home! Of course, as an English major for my first degree, I read tons and tons and tons of Shakespeare. When I was 8 or so, my daddy played King Claudius in a college production of Hamlet. This is definitely on my bucket list! And I simply must get the Oxford edition of his complete works while I am there!

I have seen Taming of the Shrew on Broadway and loved it.

Off I go to email you. :)