We took the short ride to Stratford on Avon (I think it took us back through Reading again), and arrived there in the afternoon just as all the food carts and such in the square were winding down.
By the time we found our AirBnB (an unassuming black door in the midst of shops) and figured out how to get inside, and headed back out, everything was being packed away. We headed off in search of dinner, and ended up at a little pub, which seemed like a good idea, except they said they had a party coming in and the whole place was reserved, but they’d give us a table if we could eat fast and clear out! We had already wandered up and down the length of the street, and still without phone data to do any research, we went for it, and ate fast (though they were not all that fast getting the food to us, for being in such a hurry).
We retired to the flat to recover from the busy day.
Dave tried to sort out all the different forms of coins he had accumulated in his pocket, and figure out what they were worth.
Look at these ancient looking beams running through the apartment! They look hand-hewn. Otherwise, everything inside was modern. It was a very nice place to stay, and very quiet even though it was on a busy street.
The next morning we bought an umbrella at Boots, since we were getting some of that legendary English weather, and headed for Warwick to see a castle.
To do so, we hopped on a public bus. It was a nice ride, except the windows were fogging up. The countryside (that I could see) was lovely, and the little villages looked so cozy!
When we got to Warwick the bus driver pointed us in the general direction of the castle. Every town, it seems, has a spectacular church at its center.
We took a loop around the church to peek at the ancient gravestones.
We found the castle! It was HUGE, you couldn’t miss it.
Inside were displays of armor in the Great Hall, illustrating the castle’s medieval history.
The rooms around the Great Hall were decorated in Victorian style, and illustrated the lifestyle of the last owner, from the 1920s.
Dave even found a Lord Roberts, must have been an ancestor of his!
We went back out into the courtyard and went to explore the little castle on the hill – which I immediately decided was my favorite part.
Looking back at the main castle from the hill.
The beautiful countryside view from the top.
After we had wandered around the castle in the rain enough for our satisfaction, we headed back into town, and this interesting building(s) caught our eye. It is Lord Leycester Hospital, a charity for ex-servicepeople.
There has been a building there since 1126, but it says this group of buildings was built later, and you can see it says 1571 on the fireplace behind Dave. There is a little cafe there, and we slipped in for lunch. It was actually very nice, and the chef and his assistants were putting out some very nice lunches and fancy pastries.
The tea is growing on me. With a bit of sugar and cream, it’s downright tolerable.
We continued wandering around Warwick, marveling at the old homes, so different than the buildings we had seen in Bath. A person with OCD would never make it in this town, some of these houses didn’t have a straight line on them and leaned this way and that.
We took the bus back to Stratford on Avon, and after a bit of a rest, went out to a Thai place nearby that looked to be well reviewed. I honestly don’t remember much about it except we were seated at a micro-table right next to the cashier, which didn’t make for the most peaceful dinner.
The next morning we got everything cleaned up and checked out, and headed out to find a place for breakfast, duffel bags in hand again. We stopped at one of the few places that was open, hoping to get some hot food. We still were not getting used to the idea of a place to eat with no table service, but we seated ourselves, and looked over the menu, and Dave went up and ordered our food.
We had ordered hot cocoa, and he came back with two mugs, and chocolate on a stick to swirl in the hot milk – it was like a hot cocoa kit! Weird! Then they brought the food, which was sub-par. Weirdest thing was Dave went to use the restroom, and he said it contained the biggest condom machine he had ever seen!
We wandered around a bit more and landed back at a Starbucks near our flat. I used to think when I got to England, I would never go to a Starbucks, because they are everywhere here, but Starbucks started to feel like a welcome bit of home.
I was getting tired of dragging my duffel bag everywhere, and I didn’t want to carry it any further, but it would have been nice to do a little more exploring, so I looked up luggage online, and as soon as the department store across the street opened, we went over and picked up some new suitcases
– with wheels!
Now that we were free to roll our burdens around, we headed up to take a peek at the church where Shakespeare was buried. We could not go inside, but we admired the outside.
We sat by the river and watched carp fishermen setting up their gear, and people rowing up and down the river. There were lots of swans, and we watched the boatmen getting the tourist boats ready for the day ahead.
I took this nice picture of the rowboats tied up at the dock. That will make a nice piece of art.
Then we headed over to the Royal Shakespeare Company theater.
We had tried to see a show there the day before, but were unable to. But this day we got to check our bags and take a little tour and see a bunch of costumes and set design displays.
Finally we rolled by Shakespeare’s birthplace before heading back to the train station for the next leg of our journey. Luckily by now we had figured out the reservation system, so we had seats for the entire trip, and watched a couple episodes of The Crown on the iPad to pass the time.
Although we enjoyed Warwick, we found Stratford on Avon a bit over-rated and touristy for our taste. Next stop: York.
The whole trip:
England – Stratford on Avon and Warwick Castle