The Choir Trip to England
A Choir Trip to England: Wednesday, July 15
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By Bonnie and Larry Arnold

The route to Stratford went through Birmingham, an old industrial town that reminded me of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, revitalized and cleaned up in recent years in looks and industry.

Shakespeare's Home

Birthplace of the Bard We made a short visit to Stratford-Upon-Avon, including Shakespeare's home. I kept trying to remember my Shakespeare education as we went through his birthplace and marveled that anyone could even read the spidery 1600's handwriting. A group of English schoolchildren also was in the house on a tour and being quizzed by their teacher or guide. I was relieved and a little amused to hear we Americans are not the only ones who can't remember kings and queens in the right order in history. One day was not enough in Stratford. The Wedgewood porcelain shop was an enticing place to look. We skipped the Teddy Bear Museum there and with more time could have ridden the local sightseeing bus or a boat on the river.

Even typical streets in England are a riot of flowers After a good pub lunch at the Beefeater, we warmed up the Visa card in one of the Edinburgh Woolen Mill shops. (We had looked in one at Windsor the first morning through jet-lagged eyes, and resisted the urge to open our wallets that soon. But, oh, the temptation!) By Stratford, Larry was enthusiastic about the wool sweaters from Scotland, and I didn't need any added encouragement, only help choosing.

On the River Avon (Why do the English say the River Avon and River Cam and River Thames instead of the Avon River, etc.?) and on canals we saw on the way to Chester, they have more of those "narrow boats" you can hire for dinner or a cruise.

Something we didn't get to do very often; sit down Back on the coach, on the way to Chester, we saw flax growing in fields. The fields looked pale blue instead of green because of the tiny flowers. We lucked into another first floor room. (One flight up.)

We had a group dinner in the hotel that night, and it was nice to mingle more with the people on bus two. Groups of enterprising people who love either golf or shopping announced side trips the next day to the British Open or the Spode china factory.

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© 1996 Larry and Bonnie Arnold, updated September 26, 1998