One of my fondest memories of that delightful class (other than one of my classmates microwaving a marshmallow Easter peep) were the discussions on who Shakespeare actually was. Was he really the William Shakespeare of Stratford upon Avon, England? Or could he be Edward Devere? Kit Marlowe? Queen Elizabeth?
In any case, Stratford has always been high on my places to visit. This is because I love Shakespeare's plays and I am a nerd. But that works for me, and I can always fall back on my good looks.
My first impression of Stratford? Tourist trap.
I'm sorry, but it is. I still love it, it was still fascinating, but geez, could they exploit the hometown of Shakespeare any more? Don't answer that.
The first place we visited was Shakespeare's birth place.
The museum was fairly interesting, and I REALLY enjoyed seeing one of the old folios.
Old books make me very happy.
The house was designed to look like an Elizabethan's home. It included tiny beds, a cradle in the master bedroom, etc. The outside gardens were very pretty as well.
One of the really neat things was the window pane. People scratched their names and initials on it--we were looking at 600 year old graffiti.
When I walked upstairs, I passed Juliet, looking wistfully out the window.
The actresses were really nice. And I love their dresses!
They then performed a scene from "Two Gentlemen of Verona".
And then we came to the church, where Shakespeare--at least the one that lived in Stratford--was buried with his wife, Anne Hathaway. Now that was something truly neat!
Afterwards, we went to the Dirty Duck, which is where the actors of the Royal Shakespeare Company go after each performance. The walls were covered with autographed pictures of various actors.
And of course, in the evening, we saw them perform a rendition of "Merchant of Venice", which was possibly one of the more bizarre experiences in England. Patrick Stewart was the lead, and it was sooo cool to see him perform up close, but the play as a whole? ...I'll post a review of it tomorrow.
And now, I shall leave you with a picture of a boat which contains a rather sick joke if you know anything about the play "Hamlet".