Saturday, August 3, 2013

Day Number 3- Stratford-Upon-Avon!

The third day of our UK adventure was anything but ordinary. After studying plays, hearing famous quotes, and imagining what William Shakespeare was like, we were getting the opportunity to travel to his birth place- Stratford-Upon-Avon.

We woke bright and early to catch the train and many of us were extremely excited for the journey itsself because as Americans, a lot of us had never experienced a train ride. When we arrived at the train station, it was full of the hustle and bustle of traveling people, but we were absolutely captivated by the architecture and the concept of a British train station.
The group walking to the train!
The train ride was full of people from all over the world and one of our students actually sat next to an American family that was from her neighborhood in Miami, Florida. It just goes to show how small the world really is. The English countryside flew past our eyes and the view was absolutely breathtaking. 
The view out of the train window!
While on the train, all of the students had amazing opportunities to engage in conversation with both foreigners and locals, which isn't an experience that one can get every day. One woman that we met on the train was actually going to see the play we were going to see in Stratford, As You Like It, and had a friend in the play so she offered to meet us at the stage door after the play so we could meet the actors. It just goes to show that you never know who you will run into.

Some of the Shakespearean costumes displayed at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. 
                 Sitting at the train station! 

Arriving in Stratford-Upon-Avon was such an exciting experience because we were all used to the city life of London and had never experienced a quaint English town. Immediately upon walking into the town it felt like we had taken a step back in time and were in Shakespeare's age. Here we were, surrounded by the buildings William Shakespeare walked, talked, lived and died in. It was a moment we were all able to share together without having to say a word. 

Some of the beautiful architecture in Stratfrod. 

We arrived a little early to the play, so we were able to explore on our own. The Avon River had a big park around it for people to lay out and sun bathe, feed swans, or enjoy live music. The weather was a beautiful 65 degrees and sunny( so basically winter time in Florida), which created the perfect atmosphere for relaxation and reflection. 


At 1:00 we made our way into the theatre for As You Like It which was a modernized version of Shakespeare. Watching a play by Shakespeare in his home town was quite an experience and is something that many people can't say they did, so as theatre students we were very excited about this opportunity. Afterwards, we went to the sunny park right on the Avon River and had a discussion about what we liked, didn't like or didn't understand about the play. The conversation was very stimulating and I imagine that this park has been used to discuss Shakespearean plays for centuries, which made the experience that much more special. We discussed the play for about an hour, then were able to explore about the city. But first, we had to take a ferry to the other side of the river and one of our students was even able to drive it!

The class relaxing, chatting and enjoying the beautiful weather! 
We again passed Shakespeare's birth place, his grave, and the old town that he lived in many years ago. Many of the restaurants had the dates that they were built engraved in the building, and some of them dated all the way back to the 1400's or 1500's. It's hard to imagine what life would have been like so many years ago. After filling up our bellies with delicious food at a local pub and taking pictures of the scenery, we took the last train home to London where we immediately collapsed on our beds from an amazing but exhausting trip! 
The little pub we ate at!

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