Last week me and Andy headed to Stratford-upon-Avon to explore Shakespeare’s birth place. It was a magical adventure, but one that left me exhausted. Whilst its a beautiful village/town (I’m really not sure which one it is) and a delight to wander around, it sure has a lot of steps, and most of them are rickety and old. It is not for those in need of hip replacements or in wheelchairs. In fact during the entirety of our two day mini-break I didn’t see one person in a wheelchair, or come to think about it any old people – though I’m sure they exist!!!
I arranged this adventure to coincide with Shakespeare’s 450th birthday (with is also of course St George’s Day – an occasion we Brits frankly couldn’t care less about, weird as it’s an obvious excuse to get drunk!). This meant that we got to see some awesome fireworks, including a burning, I won’t say effigy, but display of the Bard’s face on fire. Amazing. It was freezing but I loved every second, as famous sonnets and sayings from various plays were flashed up on the face of the RSC’s river side theatre. The fireworks were incredible; the sky was so filled with smoke it looked like the whole of Stratford was on fire, and at one point a black piece of ash almost fell in my eye as I craned my neck up towards the sky.
The best thing was…it was free. And because of this basic fact hundreds of people, young and old, turned up. I was over joyed for a Great British bit of freeness, after forking out a small fortune to visit various houses across the hamlet to see where Shakespeare wrote, slept, pooped and ate. It was really a rip off, and I have made it no secret that I think British tax payers should at least get a discount to cultural and historical attractions across the nation….or at least not be charged an entire days salary to enter them, and then be asked to grant them gift aid! What’s that about?
The next day I took Andy to see his first RSC play. We got the tickets for an absolute steal, £10 each, due to it being the understudy only performance. I couldn’t have cared less. The performance of King Henry IV part 1 was breathtaking. It was lovely to see Shakespeare on stage (again) and in a traditional theatre. My one qualm was that I had to sacrifice my bum to enjoy the performance; perched on a very high seat, which was like climbing in and out of a toddler’s high chair every time I wanted to go to the loo etc. Post surgery it was agony, I could hardly walk when I got down to use the loo during the interval. My leg almost gave way, and my scar on my backside felt like I’d been sitting on pins.
We will be returning to Stratford-Upon-Avon soon, mostly to see the other sites we still have valid tickets for, and if its up to me we will be going ever other weekend to get our money’s worth out of our year long tickets. The Romeo and Juliet room in the White Swan hotel was stunning too, with wooden beams and a beautiful bath (which I couldn’t use.). It is a stunning place, I could live there, but I think it would cost the council too much to get rid of all the steps.