James' Jaunts
 
Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures to share, as I forgot my camera! But it was as beautiful as my first visit four years ago. Some classmates are supposed to send me some pictures to share. I'll post those as soon as possible.

We were unable to visit the Shakespeare Library and Archives this year because of the size of our group. Although a few class members stopped by on their own and were admitted, but I was unaware this was an option, so I did not go by. A few of us did go by the Stratford public library, which is located right next door to the Shakespeare Birthplace. The exterior is the original 17th century building, but the inside has been remodeled. It is a small library, but does offer self-service kiosks and had a number of computer terminals for public use. The children's library was utterly adorable! They had the walls painted bright colors with eye-catching posters and décor, and even had kid-friendly computer terminals available.

The remainder of the afternoon was spent on the hop-on, hop-off tour bus. I was able to go into Trinity Church and get a picture of Shakespeare's grave. I didn't get that opportunity last time. We then just wandered around outside the other stops since we didn't want to pay the extra entrance fees. At Anne Hathaway's cottage we saw some tiny baby ducks just learning to walk. It was so adorable!

That evening we went to see Cardenio at the Swan Theatre. Cardenio is one of Shakespeare's “lost plays” and was pieced together and interpreted by the Royal Shakespeare Company. The theatre was shaped much like the Globe and we were seated on the second gallery. Unlike the Globe, however, the floor seats were the better seats. But it was a wonderful experience to lean over the railing and see the action taking place center stage below. Besides, there were a couple of hairy moments when the actors looked as if they were going to lunge into the middle of the audience! Their sense of timing was impeccable. The actors were incredible...and pretty sexy too! Haha. It was a fantastic performance that played out much like a tragedy, with love betrayed and madness, but actually had a happy ending. It was pleasant surprise. It was definitely the highlight of the day!

Needless to say, I spent entirely too much money in the theatre gift shop. I bought two shirts...one a clever plotting of Shakespeare's characters in the shape of the London Underground map, a couple of funny erasers, a book of Shakespearian insults, and a copy of the play's script. I also bought a tea towel replicating Shakespeare's first folio and the official guide book of Stratford-upon-Avon at the Shakespeare Trust gift shop.

Darn those clever Shakespeare souvenirs!
 


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    London Away:
    British Studies
    Summer 2011

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    I am a professional student.  I have a formal education--both a Bachelor and Master's degree in English, and I am working on a Master's in Library and Information Sciences.  But I believe that life experience is the greatest teacher anyone can have.  So I am hitting the road to have fun and to learn--and no, that's not mutally exclusive!--and live life to the fullest.

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