Two of my literary heroes are Shakespeare and Dickens. I wanted to visit someplace they lived and touched. A few years after adding a trip to England on my “bucket list,” I was able to travel there with my wife. We were not only able to visit Shakespeare’s and Dickens’ homes, but were able to visit Liverpool (home to my musical heroes) and Bono’s home (on a side trip to Ireland) – well…technically I only stood in Bono’s driveway… but nobody yelled at me to move on.
A discovery while at Stratford-upon-Avon: The people must have either been really short (most likely) or they walked around in their homes bent at the waist. I realize that I’m abnormal at 6’7″ tall, but it was really uncomfortable to spend most of my time looking at the floor of Shakespeare’s home. I also learned that Avon is Latin for river, thus, the many Avon’s in England that aren’t attached. The area is absolutely beautiful – please go visit if you can.
While in London, after visiting Dickens’ home (he only lived there for a couple of years, but it is his only standing home), we attended Her Royal Majesty’s Theater (experiencing Phantom of the Opera – a thrill), and found that our seats were right next to Dickens’ box (not really a thrill, but interesting). We also scoured local bookshops for old, British versions of Dickens’ classics and came away with quite a few. We even came around a corner (not far from Drury Lane – really) and literally stumbled into The Old Curiosity Shop.
We were also able to visit Stonehenge – also on my list (as my kids would say, “It Rocked!” – I know, lame). What an incredible, awesome, and unusual place. This ended up being a true highlight for me. No picture will ever do Stonehenge justice – you must see it.
I guess the trip helped me to feel that I was somehow in touch with human ingenuity through the arts and architecture. What a great opportunity!