Hello from Stratford-Upon-Avon, England (Excepts from an email sent October 1, 2004)

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Well, here I am. Stratford upon Avon, home of none other than Wild Bill Shakespeare!
The locals just LOVE it when I call him that.

The church where Will Shakespeare and his family are buried. They are buried INSIDE the church, the tombstones part of the concrete floor

Let me tell you, if my mission
yesterday was to miss trains, I accomplished it.  I started late
in the morning and walked to the train station with my two huge
backpacks, one in front, and one behind. If I fell down carrying those
things, I would need assistance to get up, no doubt. The first missed
train of the day was at Bathingstoke, which was ok because there was
another on the same route every half an hour. No big loss.

THEN, at Reading (yes, I took a ride on the Reading, did not pass go or
collect £200 unfortunately) I was on the wrong platform taking silly
pictures of a train and the Reading (pronounced Red-ing) railroad sign,
and watched and listened dumbly as my train’s arrival was announced and
the train departed.

Yep, me on the wrong platform taking a picture of the train I'm supposed to be on

Usually trains come every half hour on the same route. I’m guessing
that since Stratford is a less visited place in the afternoon, the next
train out there was 2 hours later. To compound this, the train was not
only 10 minutes late arriving, but 20 minutes late when I finally got off.

After checking in at my B&B, (which cost only £25),
I felt a little better. The very friendly owner (whose name was also Peter) gave me a thorough
tour, a map of Stratford, and pointed out all the tourist traps and
good restaurants.

A view from the bed and breakfast I stayed in in the morning, as I ate breakfast

I had supper at the recommended top restaurant to find the food good,
but the prices somewhat pricey. I’m guessing the B&B owner and
restaurant owner had a deal going. Anyways, I had a bottle of Stella
Artois (which is the imported cheap beer of choice of England, I
gather) and a pasta with pieces of duck meat (which again is very
commonly available here as there are duck farms everywhere out here),
enjoyed, begrudgingly paid the £12 tab and planned for the next day.

The clock tower in Town Center, Stratford-Upon-Avon. Built in the 1400s I believe.

Stratford-Upon-Avon receives the second most tourist visitors of any
site in England.(second only to London) And boy, do they ever eat it up.

Tourist Attraction Much?

Tourist Attraction Much?

Tourist Attraction Much?

I have just finished a tour this morning to Anne Hathaway’s cottage, which was Shakespeare’s wife

Anne Hathaway's Cottage. Notice the thatched roof?

and a tour of Shakespeare’s birthplace.

Shakespeares Home as a Child

I now have to head
back to the B&B to pick up my bags and figure out if I can stow
them somewhere at the rail station so I can take some pictures of the
River Avon passing through Stratford.

I don't think this Snow Goose is falling for the empty hand pretending to hold food trick

I am hoping to get on the trains late again now for Edinburgh, Scotland, which is a fair hike.
Ok, I’m off to miss some more trains!