Tuesday, October 2, 2012

UK Day 5 - Warwick and Stratford

Monday was a day of sightseeing and friends in the UK.  I stayed with Sagar and Quartney, and as soon as we were dressed Quartney and I headed to Stratford.  The folks in the US may better recognize Stratford by its longer name, Stratford-upon-Avon.  As I'm sure you're straining your brains to remember, this is the town of Shakespeare.

Stratford is not terribly far from Warwick ("Warrick"), so we took the bus over.  I got to ride on the top half of a double-decker bus!  It's slightly terrifying at first, but then you get used to it.  The British bus drivers should really be commended on their skill in maneuvering around corners, by cars, and through low-hanging branches.

Quartney is turning into an unofficial tour guide for Stratford.  Being so close to her apartment, she's been there many times with friends. Thus, she was able to quickly locate Shakespeare's grave and birthplace for me.  I got to see the famous words from Shakespeare's epitaph in person:

Good frend for Jesus sake forbeare
To digg the dvst encloased heare
Blese be ey man ty spares thes stones
and cvrst be he ty moves my bones

Stratford reminds me, in some ways, of Hannibal, Missouri in the US.  It's kind of a small town, and although they have other things there, people really only seem to go for one reason.  In Stratford's case, that reason is Shakespeare.  For Hannibal, it's Mark Twain.  Everything in those two towns is built up around their respective authors. It was a delightful visit, but the three or so hours allocated to it were sufficient for me.  Here are some other photos from the journey:

I should also mention that through all of this, Quartney is walking around like a mixture of John Wayne, C3PO, and the tin man.  She's a bit stiff from her marathon the previous day, so little things like, say, going up to the second floor of a tea room for lunch are much more challenging than they should be.  OK, truth be told, getting up there isn't the hard part; getting down is the hard part.

I then got to see Quartney's university work in Coventry.  (The university of Warwick is not actually in Warwick.  I don't understand British logic.)  She has some cool engineering stuff that I'm not really well-equipped to describe, but I did get to see a racecar in the shop from an overlook!  The school looked a lot like an American university, with the major difference being that I almost got hit by a bus while walking on the left side of the street, instead of the right side of the street.

That evening, we went to quiz night at the pub.  After about 1.5 rounds (of 5) it became obvious that I needed to completely forget about this quiz thing and just enjoy being in a British pub.  Although I'm a little rocky at sports, TV, and movie questions in the US, I'm incredibly bad at them when they all surround British culture.  For example, the first task was to identify up to 20 British Prime Ministers by their pictures.  I think I got three.  Questions on British TV shows went about as well as one would expect.  Through the evening, I got one question right by skill and one by spinning a coin (lucky guess).


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