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STRATFORD-UPON-AVON VISIT IN PICS

Regular visitors to this space will remember that Cathey and I recently visited Stratford-upon-Avon to take in a Royal Shakespeare Company production of Twelfth Night. As someone who appreciates language and writes for both a living and for pleasure, that pilgrimage checks off an item on my bucket list. Hardly on a par with climbing Kilimanjaro when all it took to get there were an easyJet flight and short train and car rides. But important to me on a gut level just the same.

Had Shakespeare been an American author and had Stratford been a small town along the Hudson River an hour or two north of New York City, the place would have been transformed into a tourist trap. An avalanche of gaudy advertising and cheap trinkets would have overtaken any bit of remaining history.

Stratford seems to have managed to avoid that trap. To be fair, we arrived in February, not the height of the season. The groups of school children and camera-laden tourists that we encountered
were to be expected although I can imagine the difficulty navigating the sidewalks in July and August. We did sight one brazenly opportunistic little souvenir store and every one of the historically preserved sites like the Shakespeare Birth House had its gift shop at the exit. But on the whole, I felt no more hassled by huckterism in Stratford than in Bath or Winchester or anyplace else that we've visited in England. Yes, Shakespeare's visage does seem to pop up now and again. But on the whole, we found Stratford to be a pleasant little village.

Check out the pics. You'll see previews of a restaurant review or two to come. Enjoy!

Cathey with our friends/guides Jeremy and Claire.
The Avon upon which Stratford is...upon.
Restaurant boats...
Swans upon the Avon that Stratford is upon.
The garden at the Big House that no longer exists. Be careful to whom you sell. Look it up.
Also at the Big House, for some undetermined reason.
The Birth House...
...is for short people.
An actor leads kids in an 'impromptu' play complete with sword fight.
Cheese shop. There was cheese. We didn't have to guess which. They were on display and labeled.
Every tourist town has a Christmas shop.
Dinner here. Review in time.
Garrick Inn
Garrick Inn dinner
Hathaway House. Check your history. How old were William and Anne when they married?
According to our guide, taxes were calculated using the footprint of the house. Thus, second floor overhang.
There it is. Souvenirs.
Specifically for our niece. Magpie.
Our hotel. We stayed in a newer wing. Nice and close to town.
For dressing British fast food. All American. Who knew?
This is February. Imagine July.
I don't remember anything about this except that I liked the way that the construction detail was shown.
Built before Columbus sailed...but after the Vikings...and there were people already there...
The Theater. The reason for the trip.


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