A Travellerspoint blog

Travel day: Birmingham to Stratford-upon-Avon and then…

Getting to Chipping Campden, where the Cotswold Way starts (or finishes, depending on your direction!)

sunny 16 °C
View Cotswold Way, England on Laura Walking's travel map.

Today started out sunny in Birmingham, although quite cool 3*C!
Was busy organizing last night, so that made this morning's packing up quite quick and relatively easy. I have two, yes two and only TWO pieces of luggage. For those of you who know me, and know that I always take too much… being responsible for only two pieces - and therefore having to carry only two pieces - means that some sort of miracle has indeed occurred!

As I walked to the train station in Birmingham this morning, basically across and down the street from the small hotel I stayed in, I looked very much like a pack mule! I had my big pack on my back (before I left Edmonton it weighed in at 22 lbs.!), and my small “carry-on” sized backpack on my front. Although it looks like a cumbersome way to walk any distance like this (and it is!)… the two packs actually balance each other out a bit. Wearing something on the front of you, (with a heavy pack like that on back), is definitely easier than no pack at all on front. Without a front pack, you always feel as though you are being pulled back. Two packs means your posture is relatively straight - which may mean experiencing less back pain later. That’s not to say I recommend wearing two packs… absolutely not! But if you have to… there is that tiny upside!
(Incidentally, I had checked my big backpack all the way through to Birmingham at the Edmonton airport, so I did not have to contend with it in the race to catch that plane yesterday! That would have been impossible.)

I caught a train for Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare, and was there in about an hour. I was looking forward to walking around that quaint little place filled with statues, sculptures, gift stores and coffee and tea shops. There were tours through the Shakespeare Centre, a museum dedicated to his life and works. I didn’t go in. I did, however, visit a gift shop. Overall, I was very surprised at how busy it was in this town - at how many people were there! There were school children being told about Shakespeare at his statue. There were bus tours that had travelled from Wales. All kinds of families walking and looking around! And so, after walking around for what seemed like hours (probably just one!), I sat (and finally took off my backpacks!), and had an English Cream Tea and scones for lunch. Very good!

My goal at the start of the day was to get to Chipping Campden, where the Cotswold Way path starts (or ends!). The very nice fellow I spoke to at the train station yesterday explained that there is no direct train to Chipping Campden, but if I took the train to Stratford, I could then catch a local bus that would take me right there. With many daily buses, I was in no rush to catch a particular one. After I’d seen and done all I wanted to in Stratford, I headed to the bus stop. Unfortunately I had just missed a bus, so there was a bit of a wait. Standing, I find, is much harder with any sort of pack, than actually walking or moving. So the wait really depleted my energy. Finally I was able to sit down on the bus, and a very pleasant 45 minutes later was walking down the street in Chipping Campden. More about this picturesque little town tomorrow, as I’m here for two nights.

I’m writing this in my little room, which is above a pub… it doesn’t seem to matter that it’s a Tuesday! There is the pleasant murmur of happy voices and periodic laughter below me. Nice sounds to lull me to sleep.

Posted by Laura Walking 19:55 Archived in England

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