Today was our first day getting up at a time when we could actually eat breakfast! We set the alarm and got up at 8:30 am, showered, and went down for the hotel breakfast - not many options for us, but we filled up on toast and cereal (we had bought some soy milk yesterday). We left a duffle full of items that didn't make the final cut at the front desk and headed to the Waterloo subway station. Everything went smoothly catching the underground to London Marleybone and then took a pair of trains that got us to Stratford-upon Avon at 1:15 pm.
After checking in to our lodging, it was time to find a much needed laundromat, but not before heading to Subway for some veggie patty hoagies. This tends to be our go-to lunch when we can't find vegan eats. I think it's our 3rd time at Subway since we've been here. We also went to Starbucks today - our 3rd or 4th time at Starbucks too. So we came all the way to England and have been eating the majority of our meals at American restaurants - go figure! I have a feeling it will be the last of these kinds of establishments for a while though - tomorrow we head north into the countryside where we will find more traditional English fare.
After putting in a large load at the laundromat, we made our way to Shakespeare's birthplace. The person who had given us a private tour at the Globe has a good friend who works at Shakespeare's Birthplace Trust named Daisy, who was kind enough to give us a private tour of Shakespeare's childhood home as well as lots of great information! We are so grateful for all of the personalized attention we have been getting!
After drying our clothes, we toured the town some more - a great walking town. We ended up at one of the many eating establishments named for something related to Shakespeare - "Food of Love." None of us were too hungry so we had a light meal and then headed down to the Royal Shakespeare Company and walked around before going in to see Merchant of Venice. Loved that it was an early show (7:15 pm) as it got us out at a reasonable time. Acting was strong - as you'd expect at the RSC - but I wasn't thrilled with the production. Some good performances, including the actor playing Antonio, but it didn't feel grounded. In a bigger sense though, I found it very disturbing. That often is the case when I see this show. The anti-semitism is so overt and there is no resolution for Shylock. That's built in to the show. It's just not something I want to see anymore. I always leave saddened and this time was no different. The kids had the same reaction - but my discomfort might have played a part in that.
We walked home (10-15 minute walk) and are now wrapping up our day with some journal writing and getting bags set for the big trip to St. Bees tomorrow.
Lara's observation of the day: Getting used to walking around in preparation for our hike. Today, as we sped walk through London on the way to the station, a British woman exclaimed as I trailed behind Mark, "Oh goodness, he sets a demonic pace!"
Olivia's observation of the day: Watching Merchant of Venice isn't easy to do because all of the anti-semitism builds up difficult emotions that make me remember the persecuted people on my paternal side.
Jonah's observation of the day: I didn't like Merchant of Venice as much as the other ones I have seen.