Friday – Windsor Castle
Windsor is a tourist town. Restaurants and souvenir shops line the narrow streets. The castle is spectacular. Built on a hill for good defense, Windsor castle is the summer and weekend home for the royal family.
We left the train and trudged up the winding road, looking up until our necks hurt. About half way we stopped for a snack of cheese, crackers and water. Tourists flowed by in groups. May 31st and the tourist season appeared to be in full swing.
We passed a long queue of people waiting to buy their entry ticket. Once again our prepurchase on line meant we could almost walk right in. The ever present security check queue took only fifteen minutes. Times have changed.
The castle grounds are beautifully kept. The cobblestone roadway, although a little rough to walk on, added to the ancient atmosphere. I felt as if I were walking into a history book. Centuries of kings and queens have resided here, entertained here, made diplomatic decisions and treaties here. We toured what was called the queen’s apartments. The elaborate halls and smaller rooms are used today for formal meetings of state etc. but are not part of the Queen’s actual home. We did see the room where her official 90th birthday party was held. We did see what had been the actual formal bedroom of king Charles II . His going to bed and rising was a formal affair attended by close and important people.
The rooms were elaborate.
We followed a self-guided audio tour which meant we could move along at our own pace. There were a number of stairs so we had special guides for the handicapped take us up and down in the tiniest of old elevators. There was just room for Tom and I inside. Needless to say, I said a prayer before I entered.
When the tour was over we enjoyed a very late lunch in one of the local pubs. We returned to the castle chapel for a 5:00 p.m. prayer service. This time there was no security check. We had access through one castle gate that led right to the chapel. This service was freely open to local residents and any tourists that were interested. Once again we sat in the “Quire”. The chapel was a small version of Westminister Abbey. There was no choir present, no hymns sung and no pomp and circumstance. We could hear but not see the priest who led us through a twenty minute service of prayers and scripture.
The service over we followed the smallish crowd back out through the castle gate and joined those who were shopping. We wandered up and down the streets checking out some of the stores. We had already bought our souvenir tour book in the castle shop so were only looking. At this point we were tired. It is amazing how exhausting being a tourist can be.
We walked back down the hill to the train. On the trip home, I napped a bit and enjoyed the few minutes of country scenery. By the time we had returned to our Air B&B in the docklands it was after nine. We had a great visit with our hostess Sara and crawled wearily into bed.
Just two more days and our holiday would end. Where were the angels today. Well certainly the two women who cheerfully stuffed us into the tiny elevator had been very helpful and friendly. Mostly Tom and I had been our own angels for each other. This was definitely a day for us together. At times it felt like we were alone in our own little world in the midst of a crowd. We enjoy each other and walking in history so we had a grand day.