Friday, July 7, 2017

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle is one of the places that Chopper specifically requested that we include on our trip when we were planning.  Its about 30 minutes away by train and wasn't hard to get to.  This is a lived in castle.  In fact, while we were there, one of the guides told us that the Queen had left early to open Parliament but that they heard her helicopter come back so she was there at the same time we were.  Obviously we didn't see any personal apartments but there are times that even the state apartments are closed because of functions that are held at Windsor.  It would have cut down on what we were able to see if that was the case, so we waited to visit when the state apartments were open.  No pictures.  We also saw the infamous Queen Mary's dollhouse which is quite amazing (it has running water and electricity) and we did buy the book that tells all about it.  My favorite part was that in creating the library, they applied to authors who wrote stories specifically for the dollhouse so it contains unpublished works by some noted people.  On the grounds of Windsor castle is also St. George's Chapel which was also very pretty.

This is the outside of the chapel -- don't know who the guy is.

We missed the changing of the guard or whatever they do at Windsor but as we were about to walk in and purchase tickets, one of the employees said that if we waited we would see the parade out of the castle grounds.  There was a band and then a group of soldiers marching off somewhere -- maybe a barracks or something where they change when they're off duty.  But it was fun to see.

William has been on a kick about NOT being in pictures.  But when we spotted the John Deere tractors and I offered to take a picture of him in front of those, he was super excited!!  

When we left the castle we ate a local pub and started wandering around the shopping area but it was so hot that we weren't up for aimless walking so we got on the train and sent back to London.  The train was not air-conditioned and we just melted.
 The pub we ate in
By the way, if you ask for lemonade in the U.K. you get Sprite.  After this happened several times, Chopper took it upon himself to explain lemonade to one of our servers and they were pretty baffled.

When we practically puddled off the train at Paddington we saw this sign and Chopper couldn't resist taking a picture.  It was so so bad.

We hopped on a bus and went back to the British Library -- right across the street from our hotel.  They have a permanent exhibition room of their treasures and it includes a Jane Austen manuscript as well as other original writings and music from famous authors and composers.  There was a fantastic letter written by some guy who was delusional and includes in his letter a description of how Shakespeare's plays were all about him and designed to make him look bad to the world.  It was written about Shakespeare's actual time and was hilarious.  They had quite a few gorgeous illuminated manuscripts of several different faiths as well.

 The British Library is fairly new and not attractive at all.  When we first saw it we were a little baffled because we expected something grander.  But I suppose being a modern building made it easier to build it so that these things could be preserved but it could also be a working library, rather than refurbishing something else.  In the middle of the library is a glass room that is lined with all the books from the library of King Henry the something.  He donated them at some point and you can see all the amazing old books he had.  I think you can access them with special permission as well.  And because they are preserving books, it was amazingly cool inside -- definitely a welcome stop!
And that was it for us and London!  I think that we saw most of what we wanted to see.  I don't think that I want to go back again anytime soon, especially with kids.  I enjoyed what we saw but it is a large city and it was crazy pretty much all the time.  I prefer the countryside I think.

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