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Day Eight - Stratford-upon-Avon

The small, charming market town of Stratford-upon-Avon is, of course, the birthplace of William Shakespeare. As a consequence, it is also the home of the Royal Shakespeare Theater, one of Britain's most important cultural venues, which sits along the river Avon. The popular tourist town greets over 3 million visitors a year.

William Shakespeare Monument
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William Shakespeare Statue
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River Avon and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre
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I walked along the river Avon, visiting the many monuments dedicated to Shakespeare, as well as some of his main characters. The river is full of large white geese, which add a great deal to its appeal. Further down I entered the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, which offers daily tours, a great view from its tower, and a very nice rooftop restaurant. Unfortuantely, rain began to fall heavily and I wasn't able to photograph views from the tower.

The town itself is very picturesaque taste of Olde England with a wealth of black and white timber framed buildings and old fashioned shops. I enjoyed a pint at the Garrick Inn, the oldest pub in town, which was built in the 1400's. It had a great atmosphere and was wildly popular and crowded.

William Shakespeare's Birthplace
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Garrick Inn
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Warwick Castle
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Shakespeare was born in 1564 in a house on Henley street, where he spent his childhood, and also the first five years of married life with his new wife, Anne Hathaway. The house is now a museum, owned and managed by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

Further down the river in the nearby town of Warwick lies the Warwick Castle. Built by William the Conqueror in 1068, it was originally a wood-framed structure, eventually being refurbished in 1220 with a stone base. It was used as a fortification until the early 17th century, when Sir Fulke Greville converted it to a country house. It was owned by the Greville family, who became earls of Warwick in 1759, until 1978. The castle today offers a wide range of attractions and activities from magic shows, to bird shows, a wax museum, and ghost tours, among other things. It's a nice family destination with many attractions for children and adults.

It had been a full day and it was getting late. I drove a couple more hours to a hotel very close to the airport, then found a nearby pub for a few last pints before waking a few hours later and returning to the US. It had been a fantastic trip, with incredibly beautiful scnenery, a great football experience, and many wonderful people along the way. As well as a good pint or two.



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