We left Edinburgh after lunch. We got late because we had to see Holyrood House in the morning. We had only one night in York, but it was only a stop over. We were not planning to see things in York. We have booked Holiday Inn hotel, once again in a quiet area just outside the city. Holiday Inn hotels in UK are mainly used by business travellers. They are better than other common chain hotels. Most Holiday Inn hotels have free parking, free breakfast, but you have to pay for Wi-Fi. Breakfast is the same in every hotel. In Ireland we had Full Irish Breakfast, in Scotland and England we were having Full English Breakfast. Mala and I started eating more serials, fruits and yoghurt and reduced the amount of bacon and sausages to avoid extra calories.
We did not have time to see anything in York. The hotel restaurant had a good menu and we had dinner in the hotel restaurant. The next morning we had an early start to drive towards Stratford-Upon-Evon. We had a full schedule for this city. Stratford Upon Evon is the birth town of the great poet Shakespeare. He and his family including children lived there and all those houses have been preserved very well.
The beauty of the small but attractive city is enriched by the Evon river that flows through the town centre. This place is only 150 kilometres from London and has become a major tourist attraction for short visits. You can see tour buses everywhere bringing tourists and school children to see Shakespeare plays.
While in Australia, long before coming to this city, I booked tickets for Shakespeare’s play "As You Like It". In addition to this city, we were also planning to visit the Cotswolds a collection of small villages and an area of outstanding natural beauty. Cotswolds has some pretty little towns where you can find antiques, souvenirs, tea and coffee rooms.
We first visited Shakespeare’s birth place. It is not a palace, but an average house with several bed rooms. He spent his young days with his family in this house. This house is in the city centre. We then visited his tomb or the place where he was buried.
The next place was his son-in-laws house known as Halls Croft.
The next day, we visited Anna Heathaway’s house. Anna was his wife and had her own place before she married Shakespeare. We talked to one of the guides, a very pleasant elderly lady and asked her a few questions about Shakespeare. She was very happy to explain the story of Shakespeare’s family life. Shakespeare came from a good family, but their family businesses did not work out well. He did not have any money. On the other hand Anna Heathaway had collected quite a bit of money. Her mother died when she was eight and her father got married again. Anna at a tender age had the added responsibility of running the house. She grew up to become quite independent and earned her own money. Her father died when she was twenty five and she inherited his fortune. At the age of twenty six , she was still unmarried whn she met Shakespeare. Shakespeare was only eighteen years old at that time. He had no money, but he was full of words. The belief is that he charmed this independent young and rich girl with his poetic words. She was three months pregnant when they had to rush and get married in a hurry.
Shakespeare moved in with his wife to her place and lived there for some time. Then he moved to London to continue his work as a play writer and a producer. He became very famous within a few years. Later he retired to his birth town and died in his fifties. Anna outlived him.
On the second day, we visited Cotswolds. We drove from village to village and spent some time in each village, These villages get very crowded when the tourist season starts . You find all the small restaurants full and sometimes it is difficult to find a paking place. Cotswolds is famous for fruits and in June and July you find street vendors selling fresh fruits. Unfortunately, the fruit season has got late and they ere still not ripe eough to come to the market.
In the night at 7:30PM, we had to attend Shakespeare’s play at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. We parked the car close to the theatre and looked for a place to have early dinner. There is a row of restaurants close to the theatre who have special pre-theatre dinners. They serve your dinner early, on time, to be able to leave and take your seat for the show.
I enjoyed the show, but was not impressed with the acting or production. “As You Like It” is romantic story that has a happy ending. There are four couples and all of them get married at the end of it and they all get their lost fortunes. The first part of the story before the intermission was slow moving and the story was built nicely. In the second part, the story was rushed and the ending very abrupt. The clothes worn by the actors do not fit into that age. They pull our present day drink cans from a box on the stage to quench their thirst. They are wearing modern clothes. They used good theatrics, but in Shakepeare’s time this play would have been presented very differently.
Our hotel in Stratford was a small hotel run by a couple. Both of them were very nice and gave good advice about the places we could visit and the restaurants in the city.
We left Stratford in the morning to go to Richmond. This is our last hotel before leaving England. We will write bout it in our last entry before leaving.