To sleep, perchance to dream. Aye, there’s the rub.
The thought that can run through your head at midnight as you finish the day’s blog post and are only half way through. I know there are a few Shakespeare buffs reading this, so forgive me if I misinterpreted the quote out of context. But it said sleep.
Yes, on Friday we went to the home town of The Bard himself. The day was pretty relaxed course wise. we started off at Holy Trinity discussing the different era’s that can be extracted from the walls, and then a quick tour of some other noteworthy buildings in Stratford.
Touring Stratford, the Shakespeare connection is unavoidable, so to follow will be less a lesson on architecture, but more a tour of Shakespeare.
We start off the day backwards at the grave of Shakespeare located at Holy Trinity Church. The church begins as an Early English Gothic building, and then is changed over the different periods of Gothic. One interesting point about this church is the floor plan. It is called a weeping church because the transepts and chancel are at an angle to the nave to symbolize the tilted head of Jesus on the cross.
Inside the chancel is where this can be found.
The grave of Shakespeare. Both a notable place, and a place where if you don’t know what you’re looking at you won’t know what it is. From here you can walk through a very well preserved 16th C. town down a road that takes you past two other important buildings. One is the Grammar school where a young Shakespeare learned about his love of writing and storytelling.
The next building that you we visited was what you can make out in the background. That is the Chapel which has remnants of a medieval painting. It is pretty faded now, but it gives a sense of what the painting was like in medieval times.
The next stop for us in the reverse chronology of Shakespeare is his birthplace. It is your average timber frame house. Shakespeare’s father was the mayor of Stratford at the time and this is why Shakespeare had the opportunity to go to school and accomplish what he did.
After this we had the afternoon to ourselves. The rest of my day followed a pretty relaxed pace. Some of us went for some milkshakes and then wandered to the lawn beside the RSC to have lunch by the river Avon. After lunch we walked around, looked at some other buildings, did some shopping, and had a beer. But one thing rather fun we did was four of us rented a row boat and went for a trip down the mighty Avon. It was about what you could expect from four early 20-something guys in a boat. I was rowing because I was the only one who knew how and had any sense of not tipping. But the two that were steering the boat had attention spans rivaling a goldfish, so half the time was spent laughing, the other half was all of us yelling out directions. It didn’t help that one of the navigators was attempting to read some Shakespeare sonnets. That was quickly taken away and given to the one not doing anything. Once we made it back we toured for a bit more (on land) then made our way back to the bus. It was an enjoyable Friday, but I found it lacking one thing. I know my dad would have loved to be here too. Walking around and looking at everything Shakespeare, seeing the special places I went to and to others that time didn’t allow. Then having a nice family picnic on the banks of the river and taking in a play in the evening. But I guess that is what next summer is for.