I have always loved reading and getting lost in stories and characters who seemed as real as the people around me. It was this love that led me to study English literature in college and graduate school. I fell in love with Scotland and was not ready to leave that beautiful country, but the idea walking in the steps of my favorite authors and characters in England did lessen the pain.
Stratford-upon-Avon was the first place I visited in England. Walking through the gardens of Anne Hathaway’s cottage and visiting Shakespeare’s childhood home was otherworldly. Hathaway’s gardens were filled with the most vibrant flowers, and there was a small hut made of vines where one could sit and listen to Shakespeare’s sonnets.
In London, my favorite authors and characters were everywhere. I found a £2 coin with the profile of Charles Dickens created completely out of the titles of his novels. In Westminster Abbey, I wandered through Poet’s Corner and had the ironic feeling of pure joy at seeing the tombstones of Edmund Spenser, Charlotte Bronte, C.S. Lewis, and countless more. I was able to visit The Globe Theater, and although it is not the original, I never even thought about that as I saw actors perform Julius Ceasar. In the tube, I completely fangirled when we arrived at the Baker Street station and saw posters for Richard III, starring Watson himself, Martin Freeman!
A quick walk also brought me to the Sherlock Holmes Museum on Baker Street, which was so entertaining. The rooms are furnished to reflect the daily lives of Holmes, Watson, and Mrs. Hudson in the late 1800’s.
But the latest incarnation of Sherlock was not ignored in the museum. On the top floor there was a bulletin board filled with messages from fans from all over the world, some of them writing as their favorite character, Moriarty and other claiming they were “SHERlocked.”
Finally, on the topic of swooning, I visited Bath, the ancient Roman city that is featured prominently in the novels of Jane Austen. And even though he never stepped a foot in Bath in Pride and Prejudice, I completely disregarded this fact as I bought my favorite souvenir of the trip: a porcelain tea mug with a picture of the best Darcy, Colin Firth, and a quote from the character. I’m enjoying my tea even more now in the mornings.
There were so many other reminders, both large and small, of the literature I love. It was a daily gift while I was in England. And there’s a certain character from a beloved children’s book that made my trip completely…magical. However, he deserves his own post. Expecto Patronum!