To Be or Not to Be … in Stratford-upon-Avon and the Cotswolds

For four months, I studied abroad in London, England. These notes are select entries from my experiences in the United Kingdom and Western Europe from that time.

Saturday, September 12 –

I might as well call today a literary tour. The first thing on my mind when I woke up around 7:15 a.m. was Shakespeare. As I showered and grabbed some scones downstairs for breakfast, I thought about my favorite Shakespeare quotes and works. However, that’s when I realized that I didn’t know much about the man himself. Well that would change late today as I would visited William Shakespeare’s home.

Around 8 a.m., my fellow group of students left South Kensington for Stratford-upon-Avon. We boarded a coach outside and travelled up the M40 to Warwickshire, arriving at about 9 a.m. My neighbor and friend Doug told a joke to our group over the PA system about Anne Hathaway (Shakespeare’s wife): apparently Anne hath a way.

Upon arrival, we toured Anne’s house and ate apples from her garden. After we were delayed because someone made our professors mad, we left for the town centre where we visited the Shakespeare museum and house. It was surprisingly very interesting with a lot of information on Shakespeare and his lifetime. His work is so monumental around the globe that he has almost single handedly established Britain’s lasting contribution of quality theatrical productions for the world.

I grabbed some hot chocolate with a free pastry before we left to visit the Cotswolds of Gloucestershire, beautiful and traditional and quintessentially English cottages in the countryside. After arriving at about noon, my fellow students Mariah, Rich, Dusty and I walked a couple of miles by quaint villages, streams and rolling hills until we arrived at the village of Stow-on-the-Wold. There we grabbed some lunch at a fast food chicken place and toured the market square famous for its fairs held since 1330.

We left by coach around 3:30 p.m. on our way back to London. Along the way, we stopped in Oxfordshire to visited the National Trust side of Whitehorse. There perched on a hill, we saw the remains of a fort adorned with chalk-filled trenches in the shape of a horse. Some archaeologists believe it is 3,000 years old and dates back to the Bronze Age. We had to walk through a sheep pasture, dodging the dung and howling winds, but the view was incredible from the top.

We then left for London at about 6 p.m. and arrived back London around 6:30 p.m. The views of London were terrific driving in from the northwest and made me appreciate the vastness of the city and how much of it I have not seen. I decided to attend the Latin American Film Festival and left at 7:30 p.m., but I was disappointed to learn the film that I wanted to see was sold out. I then walked around Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square before returning to our university center around 10 p.m and going to bed around 11 p.m.

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