This morning I woke up at 7 to go to Stratford-Upon-Avon with a CIS group. This is our second and last tour provided by CIS. After stumbling around Ghislaine and Tony (who were sleeping on my floor) and stumbling around generally, I got on the bus and fell asleep immediately. It was a 2 hour bus ride, which I am thankful for.

First we went to Warwick Castle, which is a really old castle but was pretty cheesy in the way they had it set up. It was similar to an amusement park, like Busch Gardens, but no rides, just people in semi-accurate costumes.

Lauren pointed out that the woman and the maid are wearing conflicting outfits – the woman’s is from the 18th century and the maid’s is from the 19th century. This is all in a medieval castle.

there were peacocks wandering around the outside of the castle. This one opened his feathers for us.

this is the view from atop the wall. climbing the stairs up to the turrets was awful; cramped, spiraly, and dark… I don’t know how knights did it. 

can you see the tiny little sheep in the fields?

After Warwick Castle, we drove over to Stratford-Upon-Avon, where Shakespeare was born! It was the cutest little town, my second favorite after Bath!

This house is the house Shakespeare was born in (apparently). No one is 100% sure but this is the house his father owned. First they owned half of it, and then when he became wealthy, bought the other half. After we saw this, we walked over to the church where he was baptized and is now buried. It was a beautiful walk through the town along the river; I took some photos: 

Royal Shakespeare Company

Mallards in the Avon River

I like the circley one in the middle. 

This brown building is where they think Shakespeare went to grammar school. There are no records but because his father was wealthy and a town figure (he worked in the Church) he would have sent his sons to school.

Shakespeare bought this house for his wife & himself to retire in, but never actually lived in it because he died before then. 

Note the name of the restaurant. Everything there had some sort of bard reference, including Iago Jewelers and Much Ado about Toys. Our tour guide joked that someone has yet to open “Out! Out! Damn Spot!” dry cleaners.

Pretty Woodwork

 After Stratford, we took a 10 minute drive to Shottery, where we took a tour through Anne Hathaway’s (Shakespeare’s Wife) childhood cottage. It was GORGEOUS. It reminded me a little of Belle’s cottage in beauty & the beast. 


We weren’t allowed to take pictures of the inside, but our tour guide (who looked just like my optometrist) told us some general facts about the house. Mr. Hathaway was well off because he was in wool trading. The rooms on the right end of the house were the original, and the others were added on later. He told us some interesting idiom origins including: “bedboard”, which comes from a table made where the top board can be lifted off to be placed on the floor to accomodate a guest. These are also why you don’t put your elbows on the table, because the tabletop will literally flip over; “sleep tight”, which refers to ropes tied between the bed frames used to hold up the mattress. Every night the ropes would be pulled as tight as possible for the most comfortable sleep; and “cold shoulder”, which actually refers to bacon. When a guest came, if they were very important, their bacon would be served hot. If the host didn’t think you were notable enough to have the bacon heated up, you would be given the “cold shoulder”.