Wednesday, July 8
We took the underground to the train station and a train to Windsor Castle. Pretty easy? Think of the Toronto Subway system and multiply it about seven times. Selecting the proper line, figuring how many zones you wish to travel and operating the vending machine requires a masters degree in city engineering. You must feed your ticket into the turnstile when entering the system and when exiting. The want to know where you are at all times. Then, you climb back above ground to the train station. Now you must sort out the routes and times for this. It’s a good thing this is all in English because I’m not sure a non-English speaking person could get around.
We just missed the straight through train and had to ride the train that stops in ten or twelve small stops on the route. Not a bad ride if the stops were picturesque, but they are not. However, as you come into the station in Windsor, the castle is right there. So is Lego Land. Off the train and across a street and you are almost at the castle gate. Windsor Castle is HUGE! We went to the ticket sellers, put our bags through the airport x-ray scanners and were in the castle. If you look straight up upon entering, you will see the round tower and the flag was flying that announced that the Queen was in. Strange. We were at Buckingham Palace yesterday and she was there. Now we were at Windsor Castle and she is here. Perhaps she had been on the same train with us? Is she following us?
The tour of the castle is self-guided and you are provided with a wand like contraption and something that looks like a touch-tone phone. You punch in the number of the room you are in and hold the wand to your ear for a commentary on the history and contents of the room. This is fabulous because the tour has access to the State apartments. You are in the reception rooms and the halls and guards chambers and glorious rooms that are fully used today. You see the official portraits of former monarchs, huge displays of weapons, Henry VIII’s suit of amour (yes, he was a BIG man), and all sorts of furnishings.
After leaving the interior, we entered St. George’s chapel. What a treat. This is a place anyone who has watched TV coverage of royal events during their life will immediately recognize. Choir stalls, seating for the knights, side alters with incredible marble figures, towering stained glass. There was a little desk off to the side where you could write the name of a person you wish to have remembered in prayer the next day. I wrote Marthe Horgan.
We left the Castle and walked a bit of the town of Oxford. We stopped into a tavern and had a very nice meal. Linda had the shepherd’s pie while I ordered a chicken and mushroom pie. Of course we both enjoyed a pint with our meal. All that was left of the day was to backtrack our way home.