Instructions on how to stay free from disease in the Elizabethan Era.
01.07.2011 - 01.07.2011 67 °F
"Erh, erh, erh," and the feeling of dread was what we experienced when we awoke this morning. We longed for just a few more hours of sleep...well, until we realized where we were and what awaited us this day. Our morning began with a wonderful, better yet-interesting continental breakfast where Trisha and I, clad in pajamas and bedhead, ambled downstairs only to be greeted by black and white suited businessmen and women. Needless to say, our accents aren't what made us stand out. Q Hotels served up an interesting breakfast complete with baked beans, tomatoes, sausage, mushrooms, pastrami, and unidentifiable fried eggs. Trisha and I decided to play it safe and enjoyed muffins and cereal.
Finally we were ready to embark on our Shakespeare-packed-day, and we headed to the first of the five houses on the Shakespeare tour, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage. As we explored the historic site, we came across a wonderful guide who imparted her knowledge of Shakespeare and his wife's history at the cottage in a most humorous fashion. She not only shared basic facts about their lives there, but also the origins of many commonly used phrases today. Such as: "left on the shelf," which at one time referred to the sleeping arrangements required to keep women safe from interested farmers who might be sharing the same room for the night. Single women would place their mattresses upon a ceiling-height-shelf out-of-reach from any mischievous/daring men. If past the normal marrying age of 28, a woman was considered to be "left on the shelf." I must say, she was the most intriguing part of our day.
We then travelled to Mary Arden's Garden where we pet horses and goats, oinked like pigs, wrote our names using the Tudor alphabet, and squatted to fit under three-and-a-half foot doorways. Our next visit brought us to Shakespeare's birthplace. The house lay amongst the busy shops of downtown Stratford. Though the bones of the home remained original, we discovered that the house was restored to what it was thought to look like in Shakespeare's time by the one and only Charles Dickens. Unfortunately, Charles got it wrong. The house was made to reflect more of the Victorian than the Elizabethan era.
The final two places we visited where Nash's and Newplace and Hall's Croft. These two houses held many interesting facts from Shakespeare’s life. In fact, at Nash's and Newplace, they are still performing archeological digs and finding more artifacts from Shakespeare's time.
Though not part of the tour, Trisha and I walked to Holy Trinity Church where Shakespeare was baptized, married, and buried. The church was breathtaking.
We ended the day with a meal at the oldest hotel in Stratford-Upon-Avon, The Swan Inn, a trip to two Tescos, and the discovery of Coventry Cathedral-Thank you Grams!
All-in-all...A Great Day!