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July 9, 2015 / Jim Fenton

Europe Day 2: Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick

Thursday, June 4, 2015

My jet lag woke me very early this morning, about 3:30 am local time. Kenna did considerably better, and Celeste won the sleeping prize. We had a delicious traditional English breakfast in the hotel restaurant; it was wonderful but I mustn’t get used to eating breakfasts this big!

Jester statue in Stratford-upon-Avon

Jester statue in Stratford-upon-Avon

After breakfast we headed for Shakespeare’s home town, Stratford-upon-Avon. While not especially crowded, the town was very touristy and prepared for many more people than today, a Thursday in early June. We didn’t feel we wanted to invest in the pricey ticket that allows one to visit many of the Shakespeare-related buildings, so we walked around and got a feel for the town. After a while, we decided to catch a “hop on, hop off” tour that takes about an hour to complete (without hops off, of course). The tour was excellent; we got a birds-eye view from the top of a double-decker bus and the recorded tour taught us a great deal.

We had noticed the rooftop restaurant at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, but found the meals there to be more than we wanted. So instead we stopped at a pub downtown and had an enjoyable lunch.

Warwick Castle courtyard

Warwick Castle courtyard

After lunch we returned to Warwick, parked the car at the hotel, and set out for Warwick Castle. Kenna and I had been to the Castle in 1998, but Kenna remembered more of it than did I. We still enjoyed Warwick Castle, but it seemed to be quite touristy: almost more of a theme park than a historic site. While not the Downton Abbey estate, many of the rooms reminded us of the lifestyle of the people from the series. We took one 40-minute tour of some of the rooms, and self-guided the rest.

After returning to the hotel for a little downtime, we walked back to the centre of Warwick for dinner, again at a pub. It was a warm evening, so we ate outside, which was pleasant except for the cigarette and e-cigarette users who contributed to the atmosphere, so to speak.

This article is part of a series about our recent vacation in Europe. To see the introductory article in the series, click here.

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