brittadotcom (brittadotcom) wrote,

July 8th...Stratford and Llangollen...

By 9:15am, we were wheels rolling for Wales via Stratford upon Avon...we arrived in Stratford at 10am, had a guided tour for an hour, which was excellent, then an hour at Shakespeare's Birthplace, which has been a tourist attraction since the early 1800s. One of the things I most remembered about Shakespeare's Birthplace from my last trip was the graffiti on the windows...I couldn't imagine ever engraving my signature on a tourist attraction, but some famous people have done it, and now that's also part of history! Interesting...they can also tell by the guidebook when Mark Twain and others visited in the past...when I was there last time, the window was still in place, but they have since removed it and put it into a protective display case...

(During our walking tour, Nick fielded a couple calls about the Sac City Chorus's tour which he also organized...a few people from my home church are with that choir, and I tagged along myself when they did the Verdi Requiem in Carnegie Hall back in 1995...)

At noon we were on our own until the bus was on its way at 1:30pm, so I found Jack, Johnathon, Juanita, Robin, Melanie, Ben & Ryan...I tried Welsh Rarebit (pronounced more like "rebbit") which is mustard cheese on toast...pretty tasty actually...Stratford is pretty touristy of course, so we looked in some shops on the way back to the bus...I found a chocolate shop & splurged on a chocolate owl, hedgehog & frog since they were so cute... :) We were stuck in traffic immediately after leaving Stratford, so I got a couple postcards written finally...I'm sure they'll arrive after I do, but c'est la vie...

Around 4:45 we arrived in Llangollen at the Eisteddfod itself first, where we checked in, got our "Overseas Competitor" passes, had some of the provided dinner (not the greatest, but they are trying to feed a veritable multitude), all in the mud & constant drizzle...yes JULY! heh...well, everyone did tell us this has been unseasonable weather, but we began to fear for our long black dresses since as a performing group, we are required to wear our concert attire whenever we're on the Eisteddfod grounds...this is to foster the international flavor of the event, like the Olympic Village, I'm told...

We got back on the bus to follow our Eisteddfod guide in his car to Ellesmere College, a boys boarding school where we'd be staying in the dorms about 15 miles and a 45 minute bus ride away from the competition, back across the English border, actually! :) When we got there, absolute chaos, since the Eisteddfod organizers would not tell Nick anything in advance, so he couldn't check on things ahead of time, and it was quite a mess...but we finally did all get rooms, but then it was really cold and the heat didn't work in most rooms, and the morale was pretty much shot for the evening...Daniel went straight to sleep, Nick went off not to be seen until the morning, but the rest of us congregated in the first floor common room, while some played games, others ironed their concert outfits, etc...To warm myself up, I took a nice shower before bed, since our heater in our room didn't work and the provided blankets were be fair, since the weather is not normal summer weather for here, they probably weren't expecting us to need the heaters...I wasn't as cold as others were, but that's probably because I'm used to keeping my own house cold in the winter...or perhaps I channeled some of my Scandinavian roots...? ;) At midnight my thoughts before going to sleep were "Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day..."

Next: Competition Day!

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