Monday, November 14, 2005

Warwick Castle & Stratford-Upon-Avon

Saturday started out with a bang… well more of a beeping… I woke up at 7, showered, and headed down to Paddington, arriving right on time (8am), but the girls didn’t arrive until 830 or so, and then we discovered we couldn’t leave from Paddington Station anyway, so we headed for Marylebone. Finally on the train we slept if we could, but chatted here and there on the way to Warwick. The castle was beautiful. We were there for hours, Alex and I wandering around and eventually picking Amanda up with us. We saw so much I cannot even describe. I tried to imagine the castle in the 1068 (or whatever) when it was first built, but it was unbelievable to even try and imagine what it would have been like. I went to the top of the tallest tower and it must have been amazing to have lived there hundreds years ago (that tower wasn’t built until the 1600s) and be able to see this view. It would have really been amazing, and without the pollution and fog you could have seen for dozens of miles. The dungeon was creepy; they had a thing where they would hang people until they rotted away, and a hold where they would throw people into a small hole wrapped in blankets and then forget about them, yikes. The great hall was beautiful, the wax figures were so believable, the trebuchet was sadly not in use anytime soon, the mill was to die for, and there was even a guy making chain mail (Steph tried some on)! After wandering the grounds and the gardens we headed back to the train station only to discover we had 90 minutes till the next train. We went back into town stopping to eat at the first place we saw (all being hungry) and watched rugby during the meal and continued after we’d eaten. Then we headed out and got on the train the remaining 30 minutes to Stratford-Upon-Avon. The castle was perhaps one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in England to date, and so much fun, though a little brisk outside, I definitely have a cold…
When we arrived in Stratford-Upon-Avon it was already dark (although it was only 4:30) so we started trying to find where the B&B we were going to stay at was. After a short walk and quick knock we met Sylvia, paid our £20 and had a room for the night. With some advice from Sylvia after we’d hung out for a short bit we left aiming for a pub and some food (as our late lunch was really designed to fill time and just as a snack) and went to the Golden Bee. Stratford was a cute little town with winding streets and 1400s architecture, very nice, if a little confusing to navigate. In the pub the beer was cheap the smoke non-existent (due to a well placed non-smoking area) and the food was excellent. I had fish & chips and a couple of beers and we talked and laughed, followed by an excellent 3-Layer Fudge cake. We headed home, a tad sleepy, but the walk invigorated us and we split of into our rooms to relax before bed. I sat with Alex and we decided to find out what was on TV, Stepmom with Julia Roberts, Ed Harris, and Susan Sarandon… just like home… Amanda joined us and we all shed some tears together, then Amanda went to bed, and I went to my room to read. Shortly Alex joined me and we had kinky sex… just kidding… we chatted till around 2am and then she went back down to sleep. The bed was comfortable, and the pillow was the best one I’ve had since my own that I left behind (tear for my pillow).
The following day we woke up at 830am (though Steph and Kate were already awake) and had a traditional English Breakfast of fried egg, sausage, bacon (like ham), mushrooms, grilled tomato, tea, and toast. It was brilliant, and I even got to see Mr. Sylvia (don’t know his real name) in an apron as he bustled about bringing in the plates. Sylvia was so cute, she kept coming and asking if we, “needed anything,” or commenting if we hadn’t eaten enough that we’d, “waste away,” or we’d “catch cold out there!” She was really great. She allowed us to leave our bags and we left with our cameras and walked aroundSTratford-Upon-Avon. We saw Anne Hathaway’s Cottage (wife of William Shakespeare), the Birthplace (of Willie Shaksie), the house his daughter Susanna lived in with her doctor husband, and his tomb/burial place. It was a Shakespeare filled day. I walked in the room where he was born, where others before me had been as well the likes of: writers like Dickens and Emerson, but also Americans like Jefferson and John Adams who visited also. Incredible really… We sat on a bench in a garden outside of Hathaway’s cottage and walked the floors where W.S. himself probably walked in courting her… inspiring. We took heaps of pictures whenever we could (the historic sites wouldn’t let us do so inside) and after a full day of tourism we went back to the Golden Bee, had a late lunch and caught the 6pm train back to London. It was truly a great weekend. There were lots of little shops and everything selling all sorts of stuff, including magnetic insults written into Shakespeare’s plays… that was my favourite and I almost bought them, but not quite. Lots of gardens too, my mother would have been proud. Back in London we hopped the tube and I went to Steph and Kate’s and watched Egypt, talked to my Mom on the phone for a few and headed home for bed.
Monday was laid back and mostly a shopping day. I spent the whole day looking for a coat, and I might have found one, though it’s too expensive @ £90. I was all over the city Amanda went with for a while, and afterward we went to ICCo for £3 pizza where Shawna and Alex joined us around 9. Afterward, Amanda and Morgan went home and the other two and I headed across the street to a nice little place and had grog. Shawna and I talked about mass media, graduate school, and we all talked about our university experience. I sometimes regret not doing more in Uni. but I really enjoyed my experience and I am sure if I’d done a journal like this the whole time I’d have remembered even more of the crazy times the late nights and the deep conversations and realizations that we all shared. I miss you so much. After the pub I accompanied them back to their flat talked with the Trio (Anna, Alex, and Shawna) and then left around 1145. After such a busy weekend I am ready for a good sleep… but also for a coat. I really love this experience. I wish I could share it better, but this is all I can do… I want to remember more feelings, but they don’t come out very well or easily when I type, I hope I can remember them when I read this back… only time will tell.


Rie said...

Those pictures are amazing! :) I'm so glad you are doing well over there.

Love from the states,

Spanky McMadden said...

Don't listen to her! Rie hates you! >:)