30 October 2008

Ye Merry Olde England

I am not thrilled with the British keyboard. I keep typing the wrong thing and just now I somehow erased everything I had written for the last 15 minutes. So, I will now paraphrase and continue: flight was fine. I got almost no sleep. arrived in London just fine, because of wind in Chicago (ha!) I was booked on an American flight to London and wasn't checked into my flight to Manchester. I skipped that flight and went to the Marylebone station in London to catch a train to Stratford-upon-avon. Ok. now we're up to...

Tuesday 1600 (GMT): I am on the train eating my digestives (part of the story in the text I lost) and I am terribly sleep-deprived. There are two girls sitting in front of me and they are quite rude to me after discovering I was American. nice. The train ride was interesting, the terrain is not like any I've seen in England before. Lots of farm land, sheep, cows, etc. In the open fields I see hundreds of pheasant! They look just like American pheasant with slightly different coloring. I couldn't believe how many there were! I also catch sight of a few magpie... and then it started snowing...

Tuesday 1720: I arrive in Stratford-u-avon in a snow storm. Huge glops of snow dropping on my head and accumulating on the trees and grass. The sidewalks are just wet. I button up and head towards town on foot. I have no idea where I'm going. The only map of Stratford I have is in my memory and it's snowing! The first telephone I come across I phone Vicks to let her know I'm wandering around in a snow storm (storm is a slightly strong word for it, but it was really coming down). I wander up and down the streets -- all the shops are closed. I duck into The Garrett which is the oldest pub in Stratford. I have a nice ale and a bit of conversation with the folks there. After walking around a bit more, I get in a taxi to get to the youth hostel (it's over 2 miles outside of town and no one can tell me which bus I need to take).

Tuesday 2000: Have a very pleasant conversation with my roommate in the hostel. We talk politics, economics and personal relations (she was having trouble at work). She asked my advice. I end up in bed before 9pm. Hardly got any sleep.

Wednesday 1000: Leave my bag at the hotel and go shopping in an antique mall nearby. Bump into Vicki in the street (it's really a tiny town) and we head off to have tea. Today we visit Shakespere's home, Nash's house, Halls Croft and the church where the bard (and his family) are buried. We ZOOM through these places! Vicks is worried we won't get to all of them so we don't dawdle. at all! Until we get to the church which is remarkably old and very awesome! I wish I had time to go into it all... Shakespeare's homes

Wednesday 2130: We're back at the hotel. Each room is named after a play by Shakespere. Ours is Two Gentlemen of Verona. This room quickly is nicknamed, the two smelly gentlemen of verona as some sewage smell is spilling into the room. We get ourselves moved to two single rooms. The manager who moves us keeps saying, 'if you hear any noises, don't worry it's just the night porter.' So, we figure we're in a haunted part of the hotel and we both have to sleep in our rooms alone! yikes. a bit freaked out, I turn on the telly for noise. If you can't hear the ghosts they don't exist.

Wednesday 2200: The BBC is just announcing that David Tennant has quit Dr Who!! I rush to vicks room and we know now that the likely-hood of us getting near DT is slim as the stage door will be packed with press. This is front-page news here! Annoyed, we consider heading to the theatre tonight, but decide against it -- it's raining and our fandom will only go so far.

Thursday 0900: Vicki makes me get up a 7 am and drags me downstairs to have breakfast. I am now finally waking up. Today we will buy tickets to a ghost tour for Halloween and do a bit of shopping before we go to the Courtyard to see Hamlet. We will still try to see David Tennant, but stay-tuned to see if we actually do. here's a link to the RSC

Stratford impressions: very old. VERY old. very small. lots of shopping and a few sites, that's about it. The architecture is mostly 16-17th century with a few modern bits here and there. The people are lovely, although there are a lot of tourists. I'm guessing the gardens are absolutely georgous in the spring and summer. The food is fantastic and I must have a pudding before I leave here.

I must go now. When I do write again it will be when I am in Manchester. until then...