day 1: sheffield to coventry to stratford-upon-avon
rise and shine at 6:45am. spend 1 hour completing 40 minute walk to train station and vow never to take a shortcut in england again. pick up tickets and hop on train bound for birmingham. two trains and two hours later, arrive in coventry. train station is unheated. freeze.
set out on foot for ruins of coventry cathedral. detour to medieval spon street. pause to take photos. freeze.
pass by lady godiva statue and half-open-air shopping mall. get excited because malls are always heated, right? wrong. freeze. arrive at ruins of coventry cathedral. run around and take many photos because ruins are awesome and ruined churches are even more awesome and the ruins of coventry cathedral are the most awesome of all.
climb 180 steps to top of st. michael's tower. take a moment to thank god that the CN tower's 1776 steps are not in spiral staircase form.
wander. take photos. guilded hall of st. mary, holy trinity church, new coventry cathedral with most colourful stained glass windows of life. discuss history and terrible acoustics with old lady manning entrance and freeze because the british do not heat their churches. apparently, holy trinity was spared the WWII bombing that gutted the medieval st. michael's cathedral because people sat on the roof all night putting out the fires. a problem with the plumbing meant they couldn't do the same for st. michael's. lunch (cheese sandwich from home) in ruins of old cathedral. the sun is shining and I can almost imagine I'm warm.
wander. take more photos. university, tudor architecture, lady godiva again. check out transportation museum and spend a long time studying the old bicycle exhibit, the WWII displays and the heating system. sun sets; head back to the (still unheated) railway station to catch 4:45 train to stratford. unfortunately, due to a fatality near birmingham, 4:45 train is cancelled. so is 5:30 train and 6:24 bus. 6:18 train arrives at 7:30 and takes me to leamington spa. there is a station at leamington spa, but it closes at nightfall, along with all its sources of heat. freeze, then strike out in search of food. see 8 curry restaurants, 4 pizzerias, and not a single chippy. question if truly still in england. after 30 minutes of walking, finally find a place that sells chips for £1. no fish. whatev. the place is heated. get lost on way back to station, catch train, and 25 minutes later, arrive in stratford-upon-avon. spend over an hour hiking to hostel along a country road with no streetlights. replay in my mind every horror movie and episode of supernatural ever seen, freeze, and abandon all hope of survival. 3 minutes later, arrival at hostel. use up 80% of their hot water and crash at midnight.
day 1: complete.