Sunday, September 07, 2014

British Isles trip, part 9: Stratford-upon-Avon

Link to photo dump.

We spent two nights at the hotel in Stratford--famous as Shakespeare's home--though, somewhat oddly, nothing in the town itself was formally a tour stop. Instead, we simply used the town as a base from which to visit other sites in the region.

On the second day, we had the evening free. Dad wanted to rest in the hotel room, and the rest of my family was off doing laundry, shopping, looking at the Shakespeare sights, etc. So for the first time in the trip (this was Wednesday, August 20, day 5 of the tour), I had the chance to go off and be by myself for a while. My introverted personality can only handle so much of other people, and it had literally been 24 hours a day of togetherness. I had heard from several people who had been to Stratford before that a stroll along the Avon river would be beautiful, so that's what I decided to do.

The solitude felt great. The weather was perfect. The river was indeed as beautiful as promised. It had enough other people around to feel alive, but few enough that I didn't feel that I was battling a crowd (as was so often the case at the tourist sites), and I could easily exclude them from the pictures I wanted to take.

I didn't have any plan as to where I would walk--and, in fact, I got lost on my way back to the hotel, trying something that I thought would be a shortcut. I think I walked an extra mile because of that shortcut, because it got me turned in a different direction than I thought I was going. But it was that pleasant kind of lostness, where you don't have any schedule to keep, and the geography is such that you can't get too lost. It was, all in all, a glorious, refreshing, utterly delightful evening--one of my fondest memories of the whole trip.

I took a ton of photos. I've tried hard in these posts to be highly selective, showing only the handful of my best shots, with the photo-dump link for the oddball who wants to look at the rest. Here, though, I admit that I had a hard time selecting, because I liked so many of the pictures. I'm sure that a lot of that is just the extremely pleasant sensation of reviving memories of how happy I was feeling that evening, which is something I can't really share with readers.

But I can share with you a little bit of what I saw. The church you see in some shots is Trinity Church, where Shakespeare is buried. The cemetery you'll see surrounds that church. (Shakespeare's tomb is inside. I did not go there.)

Finally, here is one photograph that I took purely as an homage to Nina, who has taught me so much about the art and techniques of photography, both explicitly and by silent example. In fact, this is as purely a Something Beautiful-type image as I know how to make. You might say that Nina likes rust. See, for example, here. Or here. Or here and here. Or here, here, and here. Or here, here, here, and here. Or here, here, here, here, and here. You get the idea. Anyway, if the image below showed up in the gallery of SB, and I hadn't seen it through my own viewfinder, I'd think, "Yep, that's a Nina picture, all right."

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