11 September 2010

England Vacation Part 13

September 8, 2010

Only 12 days left in our tour, I'm beginning to get tired from all the travel, I know it sounds incredible, but we've logged a lot of miles and seen a lot of rocks. From Roman ruins to cathedrals and castles... and, of course Stonehenge. I'm beginning to see a pattern with this trip. Stones. Luckily, I'm a huge fan of the stones.

Derrick decided to stay back today to give his knee a rest, it's been a lot of walking and we're all starting to feel a bit of fatigue. We set out on our own, with the trusty GPS in hand.

Our first stop, Stratford Upon Avon, the birthplace of commercialism... and William Shakespeare. It was a neat old house, with shopping and souvenirs on either side, well, a whole village built around it actually. To visit Bills birth home was about £80 to do a walk through, so we just peered over the fence at the bards' yard.

There were some neat shops though, one that sold magic wands and potions with a freak show upstairs and a tea room in the back and a shop that sold vintage maps and clippings from old magazines.

From there we went to Warwick Castle... It was a castle at one time, but has been taken over by someone that understands how to make a buck. There were shows for the kids, with the cast of actors playing multiple roles throughout the grounds. The prince from one skit could be found later in a different costume polishing armor and sharpening arrow heads. He was very informative and the kids learned a bunch, all in the medieval setting.

We got to watch and speak to a long bow shooter, a whitesmith and watch an 18m high catapult called a Trebuchet shoot a fire ball across the field. To load the trebuchet required 4 soldiers in hamster wheels... It was quite impressive. Warwick Castle was well worth the price and the drive. Is it an authentic castle? Well, the stone structure is, the rest is a well done experience for kids and I highly recommend it, if you are looking for an authentic castle, I recommend Durnham Castle.

Now, if you rely 100% on your GPS, you may want to find out how often they update their maps. We found a massive intersection of two motorways that were not on the GPS... after three attempts and 9 extra miles we finally hit the right road home.

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