Hazy, nostalgic days of pre-Corona travelling: Stratford and France
What a difference a month can make! Just think, in my last posts I was impatiently awaiting the Easter holidays and making plans for Summer, and now I’m back home in Surrey, slowly coming to the realisation that this might just be how I am spending the next six months before final year…
At the time of writing this post, the future looks very unclear, with all term 3 teaching and “face-to-face” exams having already been cancelled, and any certainty over what will happen completely out of the window. I have no clue whether I will actually go back to Warwick, and if my plans to spend the summer in Russia will go ahead, which is naturally, very daunting. What’s worse, as of this week, we’ve had the horrible news that Eurovision 2020 will indeed be cancelled, which means nothing more to look forward to until Christmas, and that ABSOLUTE BANGER of a song from Iceland will be wasted. If you’re ever in need of some joy during these dark times, give it a watch:)
But alas, in times like these, we must endeavour to remain positive, and think it could be worse. I certainly am glad I did my Year Abroad a year early, as all my friends have had to cut there’s short by several months. Indeed, as we enter our second week of self-isolation and social distancing (WHICH IF YOU ARE NOT PARTAKING IN, WHY NOT?!?) I wanted to share some recent travelling I have done, which perhaps might inspire those of you to look forward to the joyful possibilities of a post-Corona world. Or it might just make you even more stir-crazy, as you slowly forget what fresh air is….
Distant memories of the French countryside
Anyway, on the weekend of Week 8, my wonderful parents made the trip up to the Midlands to visit me, and we decided to spend it in Stratford-upon-Avon. Only around 30 minutes from Warwick University in car, it is a rather famous and beautiful town, but usually avoided by bored students as it a 90 minute bus journey, and therefore not really worth it… Or is it?
Naturally, the biggest draw for tourists to Stratford is the connection to Shakespeare, and there are 5 different sites with museums for you to explore, spread throughout the town. We started with Anne Hathaway’s house, which, explained through a rather witty guide, proved rather interesting, detailing her family history and how various famous writers such as Dickens have reacted to visiting the site over the centuries.
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage- although, in reality, compared to the typical Tudor cottage, this was more like a stately home…
Whilst we were lucky with the weather with blue skies and no rain, it was still too cold to visit the two farms associated with Shakespeare, and so next up was his old and new house, which are conveniently in the centre of Stratford.
Jumping for joy in the shadow of the Bard
In both museums it is possible to walk through all the different rooms and live your Tudor fantasies, touching and even smelling different objects that would have played roles in Shakespeare’s daily life. There was even fancy dress!
Spine-chilling memories of GCSE English, sitting in an overcrowded sports hall with the deafening fans knocking out any half-decent thoughts you have about the Bard’s wit….
I think most British will have fond/ painful memories of whatever Shakespeare play they studied at GCSE, and will no doubt, find something interesting in this charming town. For me, I studied the Tempest, and then Hamlet at A-Level- something I clearly took for granted given students this year won’t even have exams.
The Royal Shakespeare Company
Sadly, we did not manage to fit in watching a play at the RSC, or a punting trip down the River Avon, but I do think, despite the hideous 90 minute bus journey, Stratford might just be worth a trip during term time. Perhaps in my final year, should we actually have a term 3, when the sun will shine and exams will be a distant memory, an end-of-year/university trip will provide a charming antidote to the likely stresses of the year.
However, following on from this wondrous trip through Warwickshire, my family took advantage of the final days before Corona lock-down, swapping English countryside for the French equivalent. What can I say, my family loves a long car journey, so as soon as term ended, 500 miles later, we found ourselves in the Loire Valley, very near the city of Tours.
There are worse places to be quarantined
Despite fears over whether we would be allowed back into the country, we decided to not cancel our trip, and spend a week social distancing whilst abroad, with the occasional visit to the supermarket to stock up on baguette and cheese- the French dream. Even though within 24 hours of our arrival, France completely closed up shop, meaning we had to carry permits whenever we drove anywhere, and we were confined to the house, with all touristy possibilities firmly closed, we made the best of it for a few days, before braving the Channel Tunnel once more.
We even brought this little man, who had to get a Paws-port in order to get into Europe!!
Even though the idea of escaping the UK and university stress seemed rather ideal at the beginning, with more news of how catastrophic the situation could become worldwide, we decided to come back early. However, not before fitting in…
A couple of books joyfully read in the French sunshine (OMG it got to 22 degrees!!)
Endless hours dog walking through the fields and farms surrounding our house- if only social distancing was this easy at home…
Some hours queuing with the locals outside our Supermarket- it was certainly civilised and made the mad stories we’ve heard from the UK seem rather crazy
And many apples fed to our resident horses, Jasmine and Etoile. Although, they maybe did not enjoy this as much, given my dog, Wilbur, spent his days terrorising them by chasing them around their paddock…
However, having been home for three days now, and having only left the house to run and walk the dog, it seems we are in this for the long haul. To all those out there who don’t have the privilege to be with company whilst quarantining, I’d like to point out the Facebook page created by the Warwick SU Officers, which aims to bring the Warwick community together during this difficult time. As for what will happen, who knows? We will wait and see!