I can’t continue writing “London, Day X” since we aren’t in London for a few days!
The place we stayed at last night was a nice one. The guys were all in a flat in the backyard—it was probably a guest house when the building was residential. We managed to lock ourselves out. Fortunately, the manager was able to let us back in, even though we had left the key in the keyhole. Last time the key was left in, he said, a small child had to crawl through the window to open it. There were no windows open yet!
Today, though—super busy! In the morning, we toured a Roman bathhouse museum after a wonderful breakfast. Full service!
The bathhouse museum had a ton of neat artifacts and remains from the bathhouses. It even had the original bath, still in working order! I spent way too much time going through the museum part though, and had to rush through the bathhouse part. Oops! Here too, was an audio guide, narrated by the same individual who narrated the Stonehenge one.
After the bath, we were instructed to meet back at the bus station (after having eaten, of course). I managed to walk in the opposite direction and was completely turned around. Fortunately, I ran into a few others that knew the way back. So much for wanting to get books before we left Bath!
The bus ride to Stratford-upon-Avon was magnificent. I took at least 500 pictures between Bath and Stratford. They were all taken through the bus window, so I’ll have to see what they look like on a bigger screen than my phone.
When we arrived in Stratford, we were led on a tour of the city. Stratford is known as the city of Shakespeare, so much of what we covered were things about him. We saw his gravesite, the house he grew up in, and his school. We also learned about the Tudor architecture style and about how, like London, most of the wooden buildings were burned down in fires. Stratford is also the hometown of Thomas Crapper, the inventor of the modern toilet. Just thought I’d throw that out there.
We also toured the Holy Trinity Church. I feel like we should have toured all the churches in reverse order, so that they would be getting bigger and more magnificent, instead of smaller and more lack-luster. Compared to Westminster and Notre-Dame, this wasn’t much to see. There was, however, a window inscribed “The Gift of America to Shakespeare’s Church.” This was given to them by the American ambassador in 1896.
After we checked into our hotel, a number of us went to have dinner. Most of the guys wanted to have the “Shakesbeer” that one pub was advertising, so we went there to eat. I was expecting it to be super touristy, but it seemed like an authentic pub for locals, so I was pleasantly surprised.
After the meal, we decided we wanted to get ice cream, so we wandered around the city for about fifteen minutes. Its incredible how when you aren’t looking for something, it seems to be everywhere and when you are, they all disappear. In Bath, there was at least 4 ice-cream shops on each block. Here, nothing. Eventually, we end up walking past the pub we ate at. Lo and behold, if we had turned the other direction in search, we would have seen a gelato shop right next to the pub…
Then, we saw The Jew of Malta at The Swan Theater of the Royal Shakespeare Company. This was the most comfortable theater we’ve been in yet. I had plenty of leg room (when I was sitting back in my seat, my feet didn’t touch the floor—fantastic)! There was a bar to lean forward on to see over the balcony. Because of my height, I could see the stage perfectly from my seat. The play itself was entertaining too. I think I’m the only member of our group that thought this was better than The Merchant of Venice, though.