Saturday, March 26, 2011

Stratford-Upon-Avon & Broadway, Cotswold - Day 9

Today was our first day off and running, well driving.  We started the morning with a nice latte at Marks & Spencer's, I know you only think they have clothing.  But, they have a lovely cafe with pastries, yogurts, hot food and latte's.  After this we had to do a little car switching for K&A, and well I purchased myself a new English car, it's lovely and I think I look fabulous in it, it's made for me and the open road.  Apparently, I think the steering wheel is on the left side of the car.  Oh well, one can dream.  Seriously the car transaction process, not mine, but K&A's, which in the States, is oh so painful, seemed to be really quickly done, not sure if K&A worked this out before we got there, but if purchasing a car is this easy, sign me up.
I just love spring time and the sense of sight and delight in the range of colors.  March was definitely a nice time to come, especially as we only got 2 days of rain while here. I call these images white wonder delight, pink cotton candy and dripping mustard way.

Here's a little perspective on where we were on this trip.  See map below. Birmingham is right in the middle of England, Tamworth just above that, Stratford-on-Avon below that and Broadway just above Cheltenham.  I am just now looking the map of everywhere we went, I had no idea how close we were to places. I remember last time I came to England I took the trains everywhere, and while I didn't have to worry about what side of the car or road I drove on, or who gets the right away on a round-about, I did find train hopping exhausting especially as getting to some of these more out of the way places you have to transfer to several trains.  Just ask my friend G about our trip from Edinburgh, Scotland to Lacock, Wiltshire, England (Eight hours on a 3 trains, a walk thru Bath to the bus station, a bus ride to CHIPPENHAM, no # on the bus G, and a wait in the rain for a "challenged" taxi driver to our accommodations, oh boy did we enjoy the pub after that day.)

We made our way to Stratford-on-Avon, birthplace of one William Shakespeare.  The Avon was teaming with Swans, apparently protected by the Queen.  It was so picturesque and such a warm day, with only a sweater needed.  We stopped at a local pub, The Red Lion and had some lunch before walking thru the city center and to Sir William Shakespeare's house.

Every town or village has a few things, a church, a town clock and a pub.  Stratford even had an open air market, we always have time to stop and smell the roses.

Here's the poets house from the front and the back.  

The next stop for the day was a village in the Cotswold, called Broadway.  I've heard this place can get crowded with tourists and on Bank Holidays, but today it was easy to get to and easy to park.  It's in the county of Worcestershire.  Some refer to it as the "Jewel of the Cotswolds" and the "Show Village of England."  We got there in the late afternoon and the sunlight was perfect for the ancient honey-coloured limestone buildings, many of them date back to the 16th century.   We got up close to a thatched roof here and were fascinated by it.  

Horse traffic in town.
We all agreed that if the above house were to come up for sale, we'd have to gather all our funds and purchase it.  The limestone just glows at sunset.

We decided to stay and eat locally at The Swan, this pub was so inviting.  We grabbed a pint and a G&T for Anne and myself.  I love the tonic water they serve you in the bottle with the gin.

Food was good, service was "interesting."  SB was on the hunt for some nice pint glasses as I broke his favorite just the week before we left, and we'd had it for 7 years.  It was perfect that we were going to England.  So here he tried to ask the waitress if he could buy the pint glass that he was drinking out of.  Which everyone was sure she'd agree, because why wouldn't she.  The local breweries give them pint glasses for free with the beer labels on them, and after all we were going to pay for them.  Her reply to SB was, "Nooo, if I gave everyone a pint glass I wouldn't have any to serve the beer in."  Seriously.  K&A were shocked and apologized for her, no need, she was, well a bit witchy, but I found it all very intriguing, and her a tad eccentric.  Her comments all night were ridiculous, as we waited for food and she told us that she had "others to attend to."  Hello, aren't we others?  Who knows, I don't let stuff like that spoil my time.  I still liked the food, company and atmosphere, which she was a part of.  Maybe had she had a pint she might be nicer, who knows.

I had mushroom potpie and lemon fluffiness for desert.  I can't remember what it was made of, it was a light lemon mouse.  Lemon flavored clouds maybe.

Gotta love the locals dressed in their finest and everyone brought in there dogs, which made me feel like home, well work, as we're allowed to bring our dogs to the office.  I little dog fight broke out, everyone kept talking, eating and drinking pints, no big deal.

Places visited:
Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire
Broadway, Cotswold

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