Monday, February 13, 2017

To Be Or Not To Be......The Birthplace Of Shakespeare

Like it or not, most of us were at one time forced to delve into the works of William Shakespeare. We all remember those dreaded school days of trying to figure out the strange language in which he wrote. With fond memories, or not, of our high school English teachers who tried to keep us awake long enough for some of it to seep into our empty minds, we all managed to get through it. While clever types like myself with the ability to write could flip through a condensed version of most books to get just enough information to formulate a report, when it came to Shakespeare even I needed some help. I do think in the long run I really did enjoy his works but surely could not have figured it out without help.

Back in the day I'm sure I learned that that William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-Upon-Avon, England which I had about as much chance of ever visiting as Mars. Little did I know back then that someday I'd be visiting his birthplace walking on the same floors where he did.

Since we finally saw the sunshine after a week of rain, mist, fog and snow with us both having colds, today was a good day to venture out. A little over an hours drive from where we are staying is the popular tourist destination.

Stratford-Upon-Avon, England

Notice Tree Growing Up The Building

Stratford-Upon-Avon, a medieval market town in the West Midlands of England is the 16th-century birthplace of William Shakespeare.  Five beautifully preserved homes all associated with Shakespeare are open to the public. We bought our tickets to three of the five homes and made our way on foot through the town. The picturesque town with the Avon River running through it is lined with Tudor styled buildings, shops, and just dripping in Shakespearean charm.

Avon River

Narrow Boats On The Avon

As we rounded one corner it felt as if we walked through a tunnel that transported us back to the days of Shakespeare. We were almost stampeded by a parade of children and adults all dressed in medieval garb.  Perhaps a group of school children there on a field trip? I wonder if children here appreciate the works of Shakespeare more than those of us that grew up across the sea?

Time Warp?

We began our visit at the house where William Shakespeare was born, grew up, ate his meals, did his homework, played and even spent the first five years of his married life. Nicely preserved we saw the bed where he was born, the room where he played and walked on the same floors where he took his first steps.

Home Of William Shakespeare

Back View

From there we visited the home of Anne Hathaway who later became his wife.  This 500-year old thatched-roof cottage is where William courted Anne. Although little is known about Anne Hathaway we do know that she married William when he was just 18 and she was 25.  Thought to be a shot gun wedding by some, Anne was three months pregnant at the time they wed.

Anne Hathaway's Cottage

The third home we choose to visit was that of his daughter Susanna and her husband Dr. John Hall. Named "Hall's Croft" this beautifully furnished Jacobean home featured an herb garden where the doctor would grow herbs and grind them into medications. Given to Susanna by her father this is where they raised their only daughter and lived for many years.

The Daughters Home

Herb Grinding And Medicine Making

Next we visited Holy Trinity Church where Shakespeare was baptized, worshipped, possibly married there, and later buried. The graves of Shakespeare, Anne Hathaway and the rest of the family are on display still today.

Graves Of Shakespeare And Anne Hathaway

The other two homes open for visits include Mary Arden's Farm that is closed for the winter and Shakespeare's New Place.  The New Place was Shakespeare's home from 1597 until he died in the house is 1616. The house was demolished in 1759 and turned into a garden and remembrance of the times he spent there writing his best works.

Perhaps our stroll around Stratford was a romantic preview to Valentine's Day which just so happens to also be our wedding anniversary? The romance of Shakespeare, the love story of him and Anne Hathaway and the ambiance of a river-front, medieval market town......along the gringo trail.

Terry and Clyde are able to "Travel The World House Sitting"  and so can you!  We have created a website to help people who want to learn about house sitting.    Information for both the prospective house sitter and for someone who needs a house sitter.

the New Website                          -->  CLICK HERE

How to Get Your First House Sit -->  CLICK HERE

How to find a house sitter          ---->  CLICK HERE

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