Stratford-Upon Avon and A Swooning Shakespeare Fan

I only have time for a brief write-up about my day since I have to get some sleep; I’m waking up at five to leave for Paris which is a wonderful, but exhaustive prospect.

Stratford-Upon-Avon was amazing. I mean, seriously, breath-takingly amazing. As you should have guessed by now, I’m an enormous Shakespeare fan, so visiting Stratford was definitely one of the best, most perfect days of my life. I’m really not overstating how big of an impression it made on me; it was a perfect day, and it felt so complete I didn’t actually mind leaving!

I was pretty tired, this morning, particularly because of all the lazy, mindless traveling, but I perked right up when we arrived in the early afternoon. Nick took us to the theatre where we’d be seeing the Tempest, and after that let us off to wander and get lunch. My friend and I went to Shakespeare’s birthplace, which I unfortunately did not go inside. It was actually 13 pounds to gain entry, and though I find that more than worth it to visit something so historic, we didn’t have enough time to make it worth the price. Instead, I got four different styles of pressed pennies from the machine outside the entryway and had tea directly across from it. Afterwards, I got to see the Tempest, which had a very different interpretation from how I see it in my head. The whole show was Tim Burton-esque, with an elegant and beautiful eeriness, which really resounded with the piece. Ariel was identical to Prospero, save that he wasn’t wearing shoes, and his movements were weird and disjointed. (I mention this because Ariel is usually more fluid and graceful in his motions, and is, at times, played by a woman.) I think what stuck with me the most out of it, aside from the magnificent Shakespearean lines and amazing metaphors, was Ariel using a violin bow on the edge of a xylophone to make music. That particular bit was beautiful, but unsettling and odd. After that very different interpretation of the Tempest, a few of us wandered over to Holy Trinity Church, where we saw the gorgeous interior of the church as well as Shakespeare’s grave. To be honest, the whole thing was pretty moving for me, and not just because I’m a big Shakespeare fan. The church is gorgeous, the cemetery is as well, and the section with Shakespeare’s grave in it is amazingly beautiful. With that visit, I completed a full cycle of Shakespeare’s life: birth, life, farewell to the stage, and death, which is particularly why I wasn’t sad to leave. Besides, I’m going to go back there someday, and I hope it’s just as beautiful when I return.

After buying a couple souvenirs at the church, we stopped by the gift shop at Shakespeare’s birthplace, bought a few souvenirs (like my new darling Shakesbear), and then ate at the oldest pub in Stratford. It was an adorable place, and if my camera hadn’t died, I would have taken a lot more pictures of it! As it was, we made it out of there just in time to catch the train with a few other people from our class, and it took a good couple hours to get back to the dorms. I have Paris in the morning, which I’ll probably sum up in a short blog, seeing as though it isn’t technically part of my study abroad program. For now, I’m beat. Good night, everyone, and I’ll talk to you in a few days!