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21 april 2001

One of the kind hostel folks lent me this pen since I have somehow lost my original.  Yesterday I arrived in Stratford-upon-avon on a bus from Oxford.  The trip was nice, it took about an hour and a half to get out here.  When I arrived I had a pretty easy time locating the hostel.  It was just up the street from where the bus had let us off.  When I got here I did a little walking around town, checked my e-mail and exchanged some cash.  I also took a shower in the dorm and did some more walking around town.  Oh, I also shopped for some food.  Stratford-upon-avon has a Safeway up the street from the hostel.  I bought some bread, peanut butter, jam, soup, yogurt and spaghetti. I t was all under £6!  I also booked my trip from Stratford-upon-avon out to Bangor.  I'm not certain if the Bangor hostel has any rooms available yet so I will likely call them tomorrow if they haven't returned my e-mail.  The Internet access here is a little more expensive at £3 per hour.

Definitely the highlight of the evening was heading out to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre!  Last night I saw Twelfth Night, the Shakespearean comedy about a brother and sister separated during their ship's wreck.  It was a great production.  I sat in the balcony on the side of the theatre, looking down on the action as it unfolded.  I could see most of the stage from where I was, except what was going on right below me.  The play lasted three hours.  I walked back from the theatre and got back to the hostel at about 11:00pm.  I then hung out in the hostel common room and chatted with Peter, a hostel employee, about the different types of rugby.  After midnight I was getting tired so I headed to bed.

There was a Korean couple in the dorm when I arrived upstairs.  The Korean lady was very friendly, her boyfriend didn't talk to me.  She had been all over Scotland but not Glasgow.  I talked to here for a few minutes and then crashed.

I thought I was going to get up early and head to Warwick castle, but that was only a dream last night.  I woke up at about 7:00am but really didn't feel like getting out of bed so I snoozed until 11:00am or so, shaved my head and came down and ate some breakfast.  This morning I had a couple of cans of beans and a can of spaghetti.  I also decided to help the hostel out and clean the dishes and silverware in the sink.  It only took an hour or so, I wasn't in much of a hurry to get out to Warwick.

After messing around a little longer I headed to the bus stop and hopped a bus to Warwick.  A round trip was only £3.05.  A very nice older lady helped me get off on the right spot and also made sure I knew where to pick up the return bus.  The bus stopped across the street from Warwick castle and I paid £10.25 to get into the castle.

The castle is in great shape.  I walked around the castle when I first got there and caught a falconer's exhibition in the courtyard.  The falconer had owls, a bald eagle and vulture.  The show was pretty cool, especially getting to see the bald eagle take a bath afterwards.  I then walked around the interior of the castle and on the ramparts.  The rampart walk had 530 steps and provided a spectacular view of the historical town of Warwick from the top of one of the turrets.  I also caught most of the fencing show out on the east lawn.  It was pretty cool.  One of the reasons I went to Warwick was to actually catch the longbowsman show, but the fencing show turned out to be better.  The fencing show was much more intimate and entertaining with some cool demonstrations of the basic fencing moves.  The longbowman's show was also pretty cool, but it was basically the castle's master longbowman, whom is an expert shot, and then some flunkies practicing.  I have a great picture of the student's attempting to hit the target.  After hanging out and watching the longbowman's farce I headed over to the castle dungeon where I was the last person admitted before the castle closed.

The dungeon is a dark room split by a shallow trough in the middle of the floor.  You can feel the anguish of the room as you stand there in the dim light.  There is a very small hole in the side of the dungeon where the truly unfortunate were sent and then forgotten.  After visiting the dungeon I left Warwick castle to head back to Stratford.

The bus driver that took me back to Stratford was a race car driver.  He was hauling ass all the way back from Warwick, around corners especially!  Anyway, I made it back to the hostel to discover three new people in the dorm from Colorado.  They were heading out to catch Twelfth Night so I quickly relayed my experiences at the RST and wished them well.

I've been hanging out here in the common room ever since, drinking my water and writing.  Every once in a while one of the Australians will come in and grab a beer and I'll chat with him for a few minutes before he disappears into the TV room next door.  I'm going to head down the street to pick up a pen to replace the original I had.  I also just noticed a few people writing out some postcards.  I've been thinking about writing some postcards, so maybe that's what I'll do tomorrow.

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