Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Time waits for no one, especially one who is jetlagged! Fun is on the horizon for the next 12 days as I leap into the adventure of a lifetime-spending 24/7 with three of my five sisters for a little non-cycling tour around Europe.
We wake to a gorgeous multi-colored sunrise and take a leisurely stroll behind the Welcombe Hotel to follow the walking trail over Welcombe Hills and Clopton Nature Preserve.
The trail goes up and over the lush hills with some beautiful splashes of fall colors still lingering on.
We exit the trail onto Maidenhead Rd; a residential neighborhood at the north end of town and cross the canal onto Great William St; this road takes us directly towards Shakespeare’s Birthplace on Henley St.
Henley St has a mixture of old and new; the shops are modern but if you look up from time to time, you will see the old architectural wavy Tudor-styled narrow buildings with its little cut out windows dating back to 1196!
Bridge St and High St are a shopper’s delight; the streets are filled with specialty retail shops and boutiques. Everyone loves a bargain-they even have a Poundland; it’s a discount store that’s equivalent to our 99 Cent and Dollar stores!
At the corner of High St and Chapel St, you will find a little three-storied Tudor styled building which is Nash’s House and New Place. New Place is the site where Shakespeare died.
The Guild Chapel stands at the corner of Chapel Lane and Church St; it’s a medieval church that adjoins the all boys’ Grammar School founded by the Guild of the Holy Cross. The 16th century almshouses next to the school currently provide housing for the seniors in town.
We continue on Old Town pass the red brick houses with the ornate white wooden trimmings along the rooflines to Hall’s Croft; former home of Shakespeare’s daughter Susannah and her husband Dr John Hall.
The Garden of Remembrance off Old Town is a First World War Memorial with a well maintained garden and free public restrooms.
Old Town continues to the entrance of Holy Trinity Church; the site where William Shakespeare was baptized, where he worshipped and where he is buried. An old cemetery surrounds the exterior of the church with hand carved tombstones. The low winter sun creates a sense of peace and calm as the splays of lights cast shadows across the grass.
The interior of the church has beautiful medieval stained glass covering almost every side of the building. Beams of light dances across the nave with every movement of the sun-it’s absolutely gorgeous!
When you pay the fee to see Shakespeare’s grave, take the time to not only see the grave itself but to admire the intricate wooden carvings on the old pull down seats.
We exit the church and continue up Southern Ln; this road runs parallel to River Avon with fantastic views of the surrounding area.
The Black Swan/Dirty Duck is a local pub favored by the actors at the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Waterside leads us to the Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre where we head inside for a quick self-tour.
Our walking tour concludes with a special holiday 3D lightshow projected on Shakespeare’s Birthplace and a candle light tour of his home.
Thanks to sister #10 for leading us on this fantastic walk around Stratford-upon-Avon!