Stratford Upon Avon

Saturday 29th October 2016

Yesterday we decided we would visit Stratford Upon Avon but before we left we had to go the Canal Trust Shop as we had paid for Wi Fi but it failed, and as we didn’t have TV, we needed Wi Fi to be able to get Strictly come Dancing on our computer as well as Qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix.  Eventually we were all sorted, Wi Fi working and we were off.

Google Maps gave us the route to the station but it was quite a tortious route so asked someone who directed us down a leafy lane, across a park, through a pedestrian tunnel under the railway and we arrived around 1100hrs.  Obviously Google Maps didn’t have the paths we used in its database!!!!  We bought our tickets and had to wait ‘till 1135hrs for the train.  We were sitting in the waiting room doing “our thing” when a train pulled in to the station which didn’t register with us until we suddenly realised it was our train; we ran like stink to catch it, especially as this train service only runs every 2 hours.

Thirty minutes later we pulled into Stratford Station, alighted and wandered down into the town.  It’s been many years since we both had been to Stratford so it was like a journey of discovery and where better to start this journey from, why “Patisserie Valerie” (the coffee shop) of course.  Fortified, we headed up and down most streets, admiring many of the Elizabethan Buildings including Shakespeare’s home and down to the Avon, past the canal basin (of course) along to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and then returned back into hubbub of the main streets.

We didn’t attempt to visit Ann Hathaway’s cottage as it was out of town and time was a little on the short side.

We decided we fancied fish and chips for lunch so looked at a fish and chip shop but it didn’t really appeal, besides it didn’t serve alcohol, so we continued, looking for a pub.  The first pub we went into had no tables, the second pub was small, dingy and full as well then we came across the Garrick Inn, the oldest pub in Stratford Upon Avon (allegedly), went in, greeted an shown to a table, the only one they had, the pub was heaving.  This table was in a corridor, very small, minimal space and hemmed in but fortunately, just as we sat down the people behind us left so we moved onto their table.  This table was better but still tucked away a bit but luck came our way again and another table became vacant, this one was much better and we settled down.

We chose a sharing starter and then fish and chips and waited whilst enjoying a drink.  The starter arrived and we ate it but I certainly wouldn’t recommend this sharing platter to anyone, I suspect everything on the platter came frozen from Iceland, certainly not what we expected, still we had the fish and chips to look forward to.  When they arrived, the first thing Christine said was “look at all that batter” I stuck my fork into mine and couldn’t find any fish and when I did find the fish it was as dry as a bone, Christine’s was much the same.  We complained to the waitress and she just laughed. We asked for the bill and when I went to the till to pay I complained again and this person just shrugged her shoulders; by this time I was fuming and there was no management to be found so the sensible thing to do was leave and take it up later.  We have never had such bad fish and chips, sorry batter and chips.

We decided to mosey up towards the station as our train was 1641 and if we missed it we would have to wait 2 hours but with plenty didn’t rush and ambled around a fund raising, or as Christine put it, a flea market.  Just leaving the towns square there was a very old looking, thatched roof, timbered, Elizabeth pub, “The Old Thatched Tavern” so had a pint then onto the station.

The ticket office told us the train would go from Platform 2, so over the bridge we went to wait.  After about 10 minutes it dawned on us that the trains arriving on the platform 2 were travelling in the wrong direction so rather than ask the ticket office again we tried the automatic enquiry system.  We pressed the bell, a voice come on and asked us what we needed to know and then told us the train went from Platforem1.  Back over the bridge again and an empty train arrived which turned out to be our train, apparently this train just runs between Stratford and Leamington, Warwick being in the middle, still it was our train but it didn’t leave for about 20 minutes!!!  It’s a good job we didn’t stay on the other platform, thank you ticket office man for your dis-information.

We were back at Warwick station ¾ of an hour later with enough time to get to the boat before it was dark and more importantly for Christine, in time for Strictly Come Dancing.

Tomorrow we are off early after filling up the fresh water tank and emptying the black water tank, then we will be ready for the next stage in our Canal Journey.

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