Travelogue: Day 7 - Stratford-Upon-Avon and Hike to Broad Campden
We woke up in time to go to breakfast the next morning at 7:30 (since we booked this place in February, it became a bed and breakfast so we are getting a lower price and breakfast to boot). It was a full English Breakfast with yogurt, fruit, toast, cereal, coffee, tea, and orange juice. It is served by the sweetest little older woman.
After this, we headed to Stratford-Upon-Avon to see all things Shakespeare. We got a bit lost because George plugged in Stratford-Upon-Avon instead of the Bridgeway Multistory Car Park we needed to get to. We go to George's place, and we had no idea where we were and could not reprogram our Google Map due to no Data signal. We asked around, and couple pointed us in the right direction. It required going into the traffic of the middle of town, but it was early enough that it was not too bad. We left it and went straight to Shakespeare's Birthplace. When we got there, one of the guides in the first room said that we were here before the 3000 people who would be there that day. YIKES!
The highlight of the day was getting into the room where Shakespeare was actually born, and this sweet guide said it was the "center of the universe"! When I said I was going to film, he grabbed his mandolin and asked if he could sing a song. I was more than happy to oblige:
After this we walked out to the Anne Hathaway (Shakespeare's wife) Cottage. We walked around the grounds and admired all the wonderful flowers in bloom. Such a lovely spot!
We walked back to Holy Trinity Church to see Shakespeare's Grave, but the church was closed due to a wedding, and there were hoards of people waiting so we went on to Hall's Croft: the home of Shakespeare's daughter and her doctor husband. It was a more upper class home and interesting to see the contrast with the simple farmhouse of Anne Hathaway and Shakespeare's birthplace. His father was a middle class glove maker.
After this we walked up to the doors of Holy Trinity Church. All the people who had been waiting were milling around the park and not waiting in line. As we walked up, it was five more minutes until the doors were to open for only one hour. We were third in line! Then, the first two did not turn toward Shakespeare's Grave so we got the Grave ALL TO OURSELVES without the hundreds of people behind us. It was thrilling. We had some questions about the church, and the helper (not sure if he was a vicar or not) was so enthusiastic to answer our questions! Actually, in every place we went, the people were almost shocked when we asked them questions, and they happily chattered away. I think some people just ignore these great resources standing in the room. For instance, the man at Hall Croft told me I was standing right where Shakespeare would have stood at the fire of his daughter's house. What a thrill to stand where Shakespeare stood!
After this we went to Harvard House. New Place (Shakespeare's home reconstructed) was supposed to be ready by our trip, but the deadline has been pushed back until maybe even Christmas.
At that point, we had a choice to go to Mary Arden's Farm. Mary Arden was Shakespeare's mother and grew up about three miles out of town on a farm. I hear it is a great experience, especially for children; but the way to the farm put us right through the center of a Stratford-Upon-Avon traffic jam! So we opted for the easy left turn (lefts in England are like right turns in the States) straight out of town and away from the traffic. I think it was a smart move. (4.7 miles of walking in here!)
This day was the earliest we had ever settled in our room! We shopped for snacks for our bike ride the following day and went to Bangladeshi-Indian Food right here in the Inn! Seven Bangladeshi guys for Birmingham drive 40 minutes every night to work in this restaurant. They call it Indian but it is really Bangladeshi and was the BEST food! It was much better than Indian in my humble opinion. They brought us all sorts of things on top of what we order, including warm towels to wash our hands at the end of the meal!
After dinner, we went on a hike up to the charming town of Broad Campden and then on The Monarch's Way which is part of a 615 mile path that marks the journey of Charles II fleeing the Battle of Worcester! It brought us up to a beautiful spot overlooking the Cotswold Hills and a beautiful sunset. (1.1 miles to Broad Campden and probably a mile round trip up the hill and back on The Monarch's Way)
Then it was to bed for our big biking day!
6.8 miles total for today.