One great thing about visiting England is ease of travel. We took the train to Stratford Upon Avon, to see the place of Shakespeare’s birth and death (1564-1616). It is amazing to travel back in time and wander the streets he walked on, and see the houses he lived in. It is a beautiful village, full of history and culture. The homes, shops and churches are set amongst the countryside, and along the banks of the river Avon.

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It was fascinating to walk in this village among many original houses from Shakespeare’s time, including his own.

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The homes were furnished from the period, and a tour of Shakespeare’s homes left me feeling grateful for modern conveniences, especially when I saw the kitchen.

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The staircases were steeper than I expected, and I remember many uneven floors. His father had a shop inside the home, and tanned hides, most likely selling them through the window to customers on the street.

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Have you heard of, “Sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite?” Children’s beds were framed with wood and instead of a spring mattress, braided horse hair (manes & tails) was used. Farm animals can carry bugs, and so sleep tight, meant tighten your bed braid and check for bugs before climbing in.

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My big bed decision is should I get a Sleep Number or a Tempurpedic – certainly NOT falling through or bugs! BTW: PLEASE feel free to weigh in and share your thoughts on this subject if you have either. I’ve not yet decided which bed to get.

I also enjoyed visiting his final home. His newer home structure had significantly changed. Centuries ago, one of the owners was getting annoyed from the amount of visitors to his home. Unfortunately, instead of selling the home, he tore it down before he left. I’m an outdoorsy gal, and my favorite part was his extensive garden

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and the trellis covered by apple trees.

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Shakespeare was baptized, worshipped and buried in the Holy Trinity Church.

20130919-173944.jpg They still have services and the chapel and grounds are breathtakingly beautiful.

20130919-174520.jpg It sits along the banks of the river Avon.

While I was in England, I read that Random House commissioned (or had a contest?) for some of Shakespeare’s plays to be rewritten: The Taming of the Shrew, The Merchant of Venice, and The Winter’s Tale – but so far nobody has signed up to rewrite the tragedies. Possibly because the purist feels doing so is a tragedy. I realize Romeo and Juliet was reworked as West Side Story, but this feels different. Maybe it’s just a good publishing gimmicky I celebrate the 400 anniversary of his death. I dunno.

Lastly, if you are a true Shakespeare fan, and want to celebrate his birthday in style, in 2014, they are celebrating the 450th anniversary of his birth.

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