Friday, September 18, 2015

Stratford-Upon-Avon

I'm sure we were a sight trying to slurp our blueberry yogurt for breakfast at the airport the next morning before going through security. When you don't remember spoons to eat your yogurt with you just have to do what you can.
It was very breezy as we boarded our flight for Birmingham. Mom had to hold her hat on and the tails of the business men's bespoke suits were all flapping in the wind giving us glimpses of the bright teal and purple silk linings. They were gorgeous. European men dress so well!

We made it to Birmingham without incident and scarfed down our Irish cheese and a bunch of our leftover food from Ireland before walking through customs. After exchanging some money and wandering around lost for a little bit at the airport we were able to find the rental car counter. When we went to rent the car I couldn't find my driver's license anywhere. I practically unpacked my whole suitcase right there in front of the rental counter. No luck. Fortunately I had an international driver's license and that was good enough for Enterprise. We rented a car and a sat nav (or as we call it here in the states GPS--I'm going to start a campaign for everyone to start calling their GPSs "sat nav"s instead. Doesn't it sound less clunky?) and headed for our destination south to Stow-on-the-Wold in the Cotswolds.


Driving on the motorways was a little intimidating at first, but I found that I was more comfortable on them than I had been on the little narrow winding roads of Ireland. I could stay in the left lane; people could pass me and I didn't have to figure out where to turn. The round-abouts were a little daunting at first but my sister helped me figure them out fairly quickly. On the way we stopped at a petrol station and Anne bought us some black currents that a church group was selling so we could have a little snack but they proved to be too sour to eat without sugar.

The Pound, Stow-on-the-Wold
It took us a little over an hour to get to Stow. We checked into our b&b, The Pound, and looked around the village for something to eat. We walked to the end of the road we were on and didn't see anything so we decided to duck into a barbershop that was right there. There were two young guys (the barbers) across the street who saw us go in and came to talk to us. They said "We thought you ladies looked lost," and pointed us towards the town square where they promised we would be able to find "lots of shops with tea and nice cakes." After a "See you lay-uh" we headed to the square but we were looking at the wrong time of day--too late for lunch, too early for dinner. Nothing seemed to be open.


There were lots of cute shops like this one in town but none were open when we were looking for lunch.
After inquiring at several places we did find a cute little tea room that offered delicious food but a less than friendly welcome. When we peeked our heads in the door and asked if they were open for business we got an annoyed, "The sign on the door says 'open', doesn't it?" Apparently someone had her knickers in a twist.

I want this wallpaper in my house.
We ordered sandwiches and fancy drinks (I had Victorian Lemonade and a cranberry, bacon and Brie panini) which were served to us by a friendlier waiter and got a slice of something yummy to share for dessert.

The sugar in England really does come in lumps, not cubes. One lump or two?
By then it was time, to leave to get to Stratford-Upon-Avon since we had tickets to the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Othello. We didn't have a lot of time in Stratford-Upon-Avon before the play started, but we did have a few minutes to walk by the river and see the swans and then peruse the gift shop and find some fun souvenirs: Shakespeare books for kids, cuff links for David that say "Brevity. Soul. Wit." and some other fun things. My favorite? An eraser, which Joel has claimed, that has "Out, damned spot!" printed on it.

The Bard, himself.


The River Avon.
The swans that swim the River Avon have been there since Shakespeare's time.

Othello was phenomenal. It was three hours, but as tired as I was, I was riveted the whole time. The actors were world class. You've probably seen some of them on shows like "The Paradise", "Wolf Hall" and "Game of Thrones". The theater is constructed like the theaters that Shakespeare's plays would have been performed in originally. The stage is in the center and seats surround it on three sides. There was a place in the center of the stage that could raise and lower and there was water underneath it for boat scenes.

The stage. The metal part in the center can raise and lower to create a water area
or a raised platform
A view of the theater from our seats.
We only got a little turned around trying to get out of Stratford-Upon-Avon and the traffic was a lot lighter by that time of night. Driving back to Stow in the dark added another layer of adventure to the driving saga but we made it safely.

To Be Continued. . .

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