Thursday, June 30, 2011

Stratford Part 1, Oxford, Blenheim Palace, and Hidcote Garden

Alright, so I'm not a huge fan of Shakespeare. I like a few of his plays, like the Taming of the Shrew and Much Ado About Nothing, and maybe Macbeth, but the rest of it is just- meh. Because of my lifelong indifference to Shakespeare, I wasn't nearly as excited to visit Stratford-Upon-Avon (Shakespeare's primary home) as the rest of the Brit Lit Pilgrims. But, oh my goodness, it was AMAZING! It is an adorable and beautiful town. We also stayed in the best place in the entire universe:

I officially love B&B's. This one was run by this really awesome Tunisian man named Imed. The house was beautiful, the food was delicious, and our room was absolutely beautiful! The bast part of it was that  I was in the same room with the three girls I was close with on the tour- Kaity, Becca, and Emily. Even better than that- we were the only people in our group staying in the Hollies. It was like a vacation from our vacation. Being with 47 other people all the time was getting a little tiresome. I'm pretty sure that Brother Waddell has us spend so much time in Stratford to help all of us get a little jump start. 

The food really was amazing. I wish I would have gotten a picture of some of it. The only meals we ate here was breakfast. YUM. Every morning we were served a Full English Breakfast- a fried egg, english sausage, english bacon (more like ham that bacon, but it tastes 10 times better than normal ham), baked beans, a broiled tomato (a magical creation that single-handedly cured my hatred for tomatoes), and LOTS of toast. I know it sounds a little unconventional, but it's very traditional in England. Imed also got us a few surprises some mornings- like grapes and bananas and prune yogurt, which is way more delicious than it sounds. We ate our dinner every night at a neighboring B&B, and the food was just as incredible. We had spaghetti and meatballs, quiche, yummy chicken, etc. They also gave us the most incredible desserts of my life, including trifle. YUM. Peaches, some sort of cake, and cream. Soooooo good.

Our beautiful room at the Hollies. You know those moments in movies where  some underprivileged person goes into  this fancy suite that they'll be staying in and get all excited and hyper and happy? We totally had this moment. The pictures don't do it justice. We felt like Victorian nobility. :)

Our first night in Stratford, we got to see our first production by the Royal Shakespeare Company! Huzzah! The play we went to, the city Madam, was very interesting and a little uncomfortable in places, but it was really really funny!

These two were the best part of the whole show. They had hilarious expressions. The old guy was like the Jack Sparrow of RSC.

 The next morning, we went on a little field trip away from Stratford. Maybe "little" is the wrong word. This day was super cram-packed. It was kinda crazy and a pretty overwhelming. Our first stop of the day was in Oxford. We only had an hour there. An HOUR to see OXFORD. I was so excited for this and we kind of just blew over it. The problem with Oxford is that it doesn't have a campus. There are different colleges of the university all over the city. So basically, we had time to see the center courtyard of the library and the outer gate of the gardens. It was definitely cool to be there, but I felt pretty gipped. I didn't even have time to get an Oxford sweatshirt. :(

As you can see, the architecture in Oxford is absolutely beautiful.  I'd love to tell you more about it but that's all I had time to see. I don't know if you can tell yet, but this was my token bad attitude day. Pretty much the only time I had a bad attitude the entire time. It was a lot of other people's bad day too, so that didn't help anything. Especially after we went to Blenheim Palace... EEEEEEEEEEVVVVVVVVVVIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIILLLLLLLLLLLLLL! I hated this place. At first glance, it's really beautiful. The grounds are really beautiful. There are gardens everywhere with a train connecting them. We had about 3 hours here to give us time to see both the palace and the grounds. Unfortunately, about 2 1/2 of those hours were spent on a forced tour of the house with a tour guide that had the softest voice ever and so many rules that pretty much ensured that if we breathed wrong we'd be kicked out. I think this palace had the most oppressive and controlling atmosphere of any place that I have ever been. By the time we got out of that wretched tour (which Kaity and I managed to do a little earlier than we were supposed to >:), it was too late to see any of the awesome grounds. We still had to prepare and eat lunch, which took up the remainder of our alloted time at Blenheim Palace.

This little guy was the best part of Blenheim. He hung out with us while we ate our sandwiches we fed him. :) He liked to jump up at our hands for bites. It was cute, in a creepy sort of way.
Hidcote Manor was our last stop of the day, and it was by far the best. It was kind of like the gardens at Thanksgiving Point, except more English, and older, and better. :) The problem was that we only got 45 minutes here. We barely got in before they closed. It was so beautiful though.

This moment was the happiest I felt all day. It's amazing what a good hug from a tree will do for me! :) You can ask anyone who was on this trip- I love the English countryside and it's AMAZING gardens. It's definitely where I enjoyed myself the most in England.

That's all for now! Coming up next, The Many Adventures at Warwick Castle and Our Stay at Stratford, Part II.


Tiffany said...

So is that how you spell "gipped" I really don't know!
That random bird that was cute and creepy was a pheasant. Bryan hunts and kills those. :)
Those gardens are pretty amazing. I have always wanted to stay at a B&B - more than a little jealous. How fun! The food sounds AMAZING! I might have to broil a tomato just to see. Can't wait for more!

Taralyn said...

Ha ha Tiffy cracks me up...Bryan hunts and kills those. The gardens do look awesome, and the B&B looks fun! I really need to take you to see my friend Linnea's house the next time you're in'd love it! Ha ha Lili likes maters. :)