I wanted to go to Stratford-upon-Avon ever since we moved back to England, but had my opportunity only yesterday. It’s the time of summer holidays, and like most of the days, it was one of our days out, so we went. The weather was beautiful in the Land of Cadbury, we packed snacks, checked the route and went.
Stratford is a medieval town in England’s West Midlands, and I heard about it for the first time in my first year of high school, the first time I read Shakespeare. I believe it was Romeo and Juliet, though I may be wrong as it was a long time ago, it was for school, literature class. I didn’t get into it straight away, I liked Romeo and Juliet, but didn’t want to read the rest of his opus at once. I was too busy being a teenager. Reading Shakespeare continued throughout the years in school, then in my own time and that is how I got to like more and more of his plays but also sonnets.
There were no adaptations or Shakespeare for children when I was a kid, at least not where I grew up. A few months ago, I bought The Shakespeare Stories for my children, adapted for children and illustrated, and they love them, especially my daughter. I also have two mugs, one with Shakespeare love quotes and the other with insults, with Shakespeare’s portrait, then there is a mid-size bust of him in my little office corner, so when I asked my kids shall we go and see where little Will was born, they shouted Yeees! They expected to see William in person and probably play with him.
Our first stop was Shakespeare Centre. The Birthplace of the Bard is the museum with the little shelf of published translations of plays and sonnets in different languages, including Serbian. You can see the exhibition of Shakespeare and friends, have an opportunity to take a selfie with Shakespeare, in a cardboard version but still, and then there was a souvenir shop that actually was a bookstore, as expected.
Now, that was something – there were plays singled out and collections, sonnets, books of quotes, colouring books with quotes, manga Shakespeare, activity books for kids, sticker books, you name it. Plus the usual souvenir stuff, keyrings, playing cards, fridge magnets and whatnot. It took all my strength and inhuman effort not to spend a fortune in that bookstore. All that I had and a little more.
We had a coffee and the Best in the World Carrot Cake on the corner of Magic Alley and Henley Street, right in front of the Wizard’s Thatch that has Magical Museum inside.
Just to keep it adventurous enough and play it safe for toddlers, we went to the Stratford Butterfly Farm and experienced beautiful and surreal adventure with butterflies landing on our hands, heads, shoulders and flowers in our hands. It was amazing!
If you happen to be in the neighbourhood, Stratford-upon-Avon is so worth a visit.