WORKING TOURIST : STRATFORD UPON AVON, UK
Just before Christmas I had the privilege of joining a beautiful couple for their wedding, in a beautiful town. I have to admit, the UK is not a place I've visited much. In fact, I embarrassingly realized while I was there that I'd only been once on a drunken lads weekend in London. That didn't really count, I was told.
I arrived with a day to spare. Originally the plan was my wife would join me but through some unfortunate scheduling, I was on this trip solo.
My father, who passed away a good number of years ago, had a huge respect for history. He was always educating me with facts of local (Eastern Canadian) history. He always said the victorious wrote the history books. Seemingly the victors in our area where not always factual. In any case, history in eastern Canada doesn't span back that far. This brings me to the present, in historical terms anyway.
Stratford-Upon-Avon, has history. Shakespeare was born there, spent most of his life there, wrote most of his plays there, evidently had (and still has) a huge influence on the town and eventually died there. There is a strange feeling walking around knowing that 400 years ago this man was going about his business, unaware of the true scale of his works or how they would be studied and held by so many as ultimate examples of the English written word.
I thought of my father a good bit on this trip, and tried to look at things and appreciate them as much as he would have. He'd have marveled at the mad wood beam architecture that still somehow managed to keep the town standing. At the birthplace, and resting place of Shakespeare, of the numerous plaques around the town describing historical happenings, amongst many many other things he would have seen, that I missed. I really enjoyed it, and know he would have too.