Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Day Five: Windsor Castle

Wow, I am really stretching out this London tea trip review! It's just that I don't often have the free time put together a trip post, so I sprinkle them in as I find minutes here and there. So, here's another....Windsor Castle.

Steph at the entrance to Windsor Castle, my favorite photo of the trip.

Windsor Castle and moat garden

I was surprised that there is a whole community around Windsor Castle. I guess I imagined it would be remote, up on a hill, majestic. It is on a hill and majestic, but it's surrounded by a cute little town and Eton college. According to Wikipedia, Windsor Castle is the largest inhabited castle in the world, and it is big! I was pleased with how much of it we were allowed to tour.

We started with a tour of Queen Mary's Dollhouse. It's a HUGE dollhouse - but not really meant for play. The artwork inside is done by real artists. It's like a miniature museum.

Next I toured the interior. I kept thinking, "Could children actually live here? Could I?" Everything was beautiful and ornate and rare and expensive! Dripping in gold. Lots of original artwork from masters. Of course, we didn't see the private apartments of the Royal family. Maybe the kids have a playroom somewhere with a playhouse that's meant to be used? I enjoyed the tour, and if I sound a bit cynical it's just that everything seemed so surreal in the castle. I can't help but be concerned about the collection of wealth in the hands of a few. (We have our own problems with that in the US!) At least these rooms and artwork are open for public viewing.

Crimson Drawing Room,
photo courtesy of the Royal Residences website

Here's a fuzzy-topped guard at Windsor Castle. The guards look right through a person. They don't respond even if you wave a hand in front of them. (I witnessed some kids trying this.)

My favorite part of the Windsor Castle trip was taking a stroll along the Long Walk. It's 3 miles from the castle to its end point. I didn't go the entire way, but did walk for about 40 minutes and loved it!

The long walk, facing Windsor Castle

Apparently, the Queen (81 years young) still frequently rides horses along the greenery here.

I had lunch at the Drury House Inn and Tea Room. I felt adventurous and had the cottage pie. This consisted of some potatoes drowned in gravy with ground beef, served with a side of more potatoes and peas. It was tasty, but I could only eat a very little of it. Obviously, I gave up being a vegetarian for this trip. (I'm happily back to that now! I really do think I feel better with a diet light on meat and heavy on veggies/fruits.)
Up next: Fish and chips and mushy peas!

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