Kennelworth Castle and Gardens
I have been trying to decide exactly what I should do for this blog, if I should keep it or just leave it to float out in bloggers universe where all un- updated blogs stay as a memory of my trip. I feel like I did short change it to some degree because my last two weeks were filled with a trip to Stratford upon Avon, studying for finals, a research project, and Mom's lovely visit. Not conducive to blog posting, as you might imagine. Anyway, so I was thinking about going back to chronicle several things (well quite a few actually) that didn't ever get mentioned.
Our Trip to Stratford seemed as good a place as any to start.
We had to be out to the bus by 6:45AM in order for us to reach the first destination on time. The bus ride was fairly uneventful except that I almost thought I had lost my camera (I found it in my bag stuffed into a far corner) and we reached Coventry Cathedral. This is the sad exterior of a beautiful cathedral that was bombed out during the war. It is now a sort of monument to the nation. Our next stop was Kennelworth Castle. This was also a big ruinous, but not from bombing. It was built by Sir Robert Dudley, the most famous of all of Queen Elizabeth I's suitors and is just in ruins from age. Anyway, this was pretty neat to go see. It is kind of in the middle of nowhere, but at least it is a lovely nowhere. Lots of fields and pretty little cottage type houses. It really is situated quite nicely. The last stop we made before Stratford was Warwick Castle. At this point I just have to take a moment to laugh. Warwick castle is this big historic castle that has been dressed up to be a theme park. And the shoe doesn't fit. It is such a beautiful castle, and they have a ridiculous disney type map showing all the attractions. They had archery, birds of prey, a horrific castle dungeon (where you have to pay extra. Why would anyone pay extra to see some people's toes get cut off and tongues cut out...? I have no idea), a sword in the stone among other things. Overall it is a little overdone. We went out to watch the catapult and the narrator was SO ridiculous. He was incredibly melodramatic and made every moment of the loading and 'firing' so overdone it was laughable. To add to that excitement, we also got attacked by some peacocks on the lawn. Anyway, the inside of Warwick castle was very Victorian, although certain sections had medieval armor and stuff in them, but compared to the outside of the castle, the inside didn't fit at all. It was very strange. Anyway, we spent about 4 hours there, and I could have reasonably done it in two. Then we trooped off to Stratford. Stratford is a positively charming town where pubs are 400 years old, and very little of the town has changed to accommodate the droves of people that come up every year to see the Royal Shakespearean company perform. There are quite a number of shops and lots of B&B's but overall, much of the town is still pretty sleepy with melting houses, and darling narrow streets. We went to see two productions at the RSC, and both were excellently done. I must give them credit for not sticking to 'traditional Shakespeare' just because they are the RSC. Their performances were magnificent with no expense spared. There is this fantastic part in one of the productions that we have seen, where two book cases collapse into each other and hundreds of books spill all over the floor, and a few moments later, a massive paper bear emerges from between the collapsed book cases to eat a man. It was pretty awesome! Outside of these productions, some of us rented little boats and rowed them down the river. It was a great place to visit and I will always have charming memories of it. On our way back to London two days later, we stopped in Oxford. I didn't know too much about the city, unfortunately, but what I did see was great. Among other things, I went to Christ's Church where parts of Harry Potter were filmed. It was really neat to see the college itself and places where actual footage had been shot! Anyway, a long trip back to the city, and we spent a night in the comfort of our flat finishing up research projects and such.