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Must. Kill. All. Owls.

It was a bummer leaving York in so short a time, we were trying to decide between spending an extra half day in York, or getting an extra half day in Stratford upon Avon. We only had a 2 hour drive or so, and that was going to leave us with extra time somewhere. We figured that traffic would be best in the morning, and eft right after breakfast, opting to take our half day in Stratford.

We were right about the traffic, and got to stratford just after noon. Our room wasn’t even ready yet. We left our things at the hotel, and walked into the town. The town is small, and though full of tourists, very rustic. The timber framed buildings are beautiful, and it looks like there has been a good local effort to preserve them as best possible.

We have been on vacation for two weeks now, and have found that across the UK, every place that we have stopped has been really beautiful, but each in a very different way. I think we have been pretty lucky in our choices of destinations, but you also just have to credit the area for being generally scenic.

The weather, however, is finally starting to turn on us. Sasha is pleased. The heat was getting to her right away, and she is happy to have some rain showers and cooler air. Can you tell she is a Seattle girl? We found a nice tea shoppe to duck into while the rain came down to get lunch. We had a view right across the street of the Shakespeare birthplace. The place is remarkably preserved. We waited for the rain to clear a bit, and checked out the tourist shops.

Despite the huge volume of tourists, it was still really charming. The Tudor architecture is really hard to beat, even with all the development. We went back towards the hotel once our room was ready, and while nothing special, it was nice to be in a full hotel for some part of our trip. We got all set up, then headed back down to the lobby, as we saw a boat tour just next to the hotel.

Apparently, when built originally, it was a Hilton Hotel, (now a Holiday Inn) and the Hiltons wanted to advertise a “Riverfront” hotel. Unfortunately, there was no way in the area to build right on the riverbank, so the hotel was built a ways back, then they dug their own canal to bring the river to the hotel. This made little sense in the long run, but now a small tour company runs out of here, and we could take a 45 minute tour of the Avon for about 5 pounds.

it was a small operation, but they had a good sense of humor, and wine. I was amazed right of by the ability of the captain to maneuver such a narrow, long boat through the narrow channel. There was little room for error, and he made it look pretty easy. You could tell that it was a small, amateur operation as they were not completely organized, but they work working pretty hard to make everything interesting. We got river views of the Marina, Local church where Shakespeare is buried, city center, local homes, and a bit of explanation of life on the Avon river. It was pretty fun.

Then the Americans spoke up.

Some days I think, “Gosh, why do Americans have such a bad rap across the world?” Then I see Arseholes like this. About halfway through the tour, some woman started giving a hard time to the guide, giving him crap about his lame jokes and interrupting to show how much better she was. Apparently trying to impress her children in front of her new boyfriend, who seemed to be pretty horrified at how she acted. Judging by her Tiffany watch and rings, she was the one with the money, and didn’t give a crap about anything else. She was loud and trying to put the crew in their place, whatever place that was supposed to be. Our guide payed it cool and she gave up after a while.

Once we left the cruise, I ran into her again in our hotel, yelling at one of the staff in the lobby. Classy. Yulia commented that it was too bad that I hadn’t had a few more drinks, as then I would started comments back at her, which would have been entertaining. Although some people actually do take offense from being called an obnoxious fat tart, but I can’t imagine why.

We got dinner at The Garrick Inn, which is the oldest continuos Pub in Stratford, operating from the 1500’s It had been gutted by fire at least once, and rebuilt, so it had a mix of original exterior, and original and updated interior. The food was excellent, and reasonable prices, surprising for a tourist town.

“Drink sir, is a great provoker of three things….nose painting, sleep and urine. Lechery, sir, it provokes, and unprovokes; it provokes the desire but takes away the performance.”

Well said sir, Well said.