Day 8, Saturday January 12th: Stratford upon Avon
Our plan today was to travel by train to Stratford upon Avon to meet a friend of mine from three jobs ago who I had talked with on email ever since, but never met in person. He lives in Manchester, and so Stratford seemed a logical half-way point. We agreed to meet at the train station at 11:40, when our train came in. We got up no problem, had breakfast in the hotel (less mess on the floor this time, halleluiah!) and took a cab to Paddington Station. I really like these London cabs. The way they are configured you can roll a stroller right into them. Genevieve likes them a lot too. We bought our tickets for the train and boarded without problems, amazing how that’s possible when you don’t have any luggage! They were doing work on the tracks so we had to get off of the train at Leamington Spa and take a bus from there. Kinda lame, but I guess they have to get the work done sometime. We got to the train station on time, but no Marcus. We waited until 12:30, but because it was cold outside and we’d traveled all that way, we thought we’d better at least see the town (Shakespeare’s birthplace) while we were there. So I left a note with the station master and put one on the city map as well, on the off chance that Marcus would check there.
Disappointed, we headed off to see some of the town. It is very very touristy. Kinda cheesy, almost. First off we stopped at the Shakespeare museum and one of his houses. This was cool because the house was built in the 1300’s. Gosh, their houses were cramped and dark! I kept my eyes open for Marcus but no luck. We had lunch at a pretty good Italian restaurant, and I made Mark watch out of the window, but still no Marcus. Then we walked around some more, and saw more really old buildings (still no Marcus). By now was time to head back to the train station for the bus connection. We stopped by the flea market and I got Genevieve a fleece with sheep appliquéd on it. Then about a block from the station, we saw them! Marcus and Susie! They had been late to meet us due to an unfortunate overindulgence on Marcus’ part the night before, and when they checked with the station master, he didn’t mention anything about the note. Lame! But all was not lost. We went to an Inn and had a drink and chatted. Both Mark and I really liked them, it is a shame they don’t live a little bit closer because they’re definitely people we’d like to hang out with. They drove us to Leamington Spa to catch the train as we had missed the bus. What a nice day it turned out to be!
The train ride back was uneventful. We were sitting next to some Oxford students so it was fun to eavesdrop on their conversation. We got food for dinner at the Sainsbury Local in Paddington Station (oh, the high life we lead) and took a cab back to the hotel.