Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wednesday - Bath to Oxford to Stratford

After a restful night we gathered for breakfast at 7:00 and were ready to depart our hotel by 8:00. On the sunny drive to Oxford we enjoyed the film, Mrs. Brown starring Dame Judi Dench as Queen Victoria.

We arrived in Oxford around 10:00 and walked to Christ Church College. This college is one of the most famous colleges of Oxford University. We made our way to the Great Hall. You might recognize this from the Harry Potter movies as the dining room of Hogwarts School. You can imagine exactly where the sorting hat was placed and where Dumbledore and the other teachers sat.

From there we went to the Cathedral. We were lucky to arrive at the Cathedral of the college before it closed for the afternoon. Then a stroll back to the Radcliff Camera, Sheldonian Theatre, and Bodleian Library. Lunch and more shopping until we met back at the coach at 12:30. Each traveler was given £20 from Passports as a token of understanding for the London leg of the trip. A class act.

After lunch we had about an hour's drive through the beautiful English countryside - thatched cottages and flower gardens. In the outskirts we stopped at the home of Anne Hathaway, Shakespeare's wife. Although the house was quite small, we learned that the Hathaways really were fairly well off for their time. The gardens were in full bloom and they afforded a wonderful backdrop for our daily group picture. Michelle was well prepared for the hot and sunny weather - nearly 80 today During the short ten minute drive into Stratford, Ms. Montrois gave a brief explanation of what to look for in the play that we were going to see. She cautioned us about saying Macbeth in the theatre since it could cause the casting of a curse. The exhibition started with introductory films and insights into Shakespeare's life and works.

Dinner was at Bella Italia. Tonight we enjoyed a mixed greens salad, spaghetti cabonara, and a choice of ice cream.

Then it was a short walk to the Royal Shakespeare Company performance of Macbeth. The interpretation of the play was quite different from what we had read in class. The three witches were replaced by children with dolls. Thanks to Alex R., Ms. Thornber, and Mr. Barber and their uttering the word Macbeth, the performance was interrupted by a fire alarm and the subsequent evacuation of the theatre. We guess the curse theory is valid. The play resumed after about a 20 minute investigation into the cause of the alarm. We suspect it had something to do with the firecrackers that were set off in the first act.

It was then to the hotel. Another late night - we are getting used to it.

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