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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Hanging with the Bard

We spent a magical overnight in Stratford-Upon-Avon on the last night of our anniversary weekend back in May. Some close friends, whose anniversary happens to be the day after ours, decided to take a train up and join us in Stratford and then wind our way home together on Saturday in our rental car. The weather continued to be on our side and the beauty of Shakespeare's birthplace shown through.
Evidence of the Bard's presence is everywhere. The Royal Shakespeare Company performs his plays in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and adjacent Swan Theatre on the banks of the River Avon. Unfortunately, there wasn't time to see a play. The complex looked impressive.
The river Avon is lovely and we enjoyed an evening cruise through the area. The town itself is a typical holiday town with cute shops, great pubs, adorable walking streets and a general atmosphere of merriment! Outside of Shakespeare's birthplace there are several opportunities to mimic the bard himself.
At the center of town sits a beautiful statue of Shakespeare surrounded by some of his most memorable characters. It is really a nice presentation of these literary characters. 
The boys found many places to sit and chat whilst the girls checked out the sights. We had a blast with these amazing friends who we will really miss being with on a regular basis. They have moved back to the US as well, to North Carolina, so hopefully we'll be able to cross paths now and again. 
Once back in London, I took one of my final afternoons to visit the Globe theater in London. Located near the original site of Shakespeare's playhouse on the Thames, rebuilt to reflect the style of the times, the tour was really great. I tried to get a groundling ticket, £5 tickets that allow you to stand in the pit for the duration of a Shakespeare play, but the popularity of A Midsummer's Night Dream meant that all tickets were sold out. Even so, it was great to see the theater and soak in the atmosphere. Our guide was hilarious, adding the appropriate amount of humor to historical facts of interest. 
Many phrases that dot our common vernacular have their origins in Shakespeare's plays as this display indicated. It really is amazing to ponder his prolific ability to write. I do enjoy Shakespeare quite a bit and of course, having studied him a bit certainly helps to broaden my understanding of his plays. A clear highlight of our year in London was getting to see Hamlet performed with Benedict Cumberbatch playing the lead. I am very glad that my final weeks in London included digging into Shakespeare a bit more.