Monday, June 18, 2012

Windsor adventures!

Friday was WINDSOR!
Only Amanda and Griffin wanted to go with me, which was perfectly fine, so we bought tickets for off-peak times to get them for cheaper (only 10 pounds) and we left Friday morning at about 11 am!

We took the tube to Waterloo to get to the train station, figured out how to print our tickets at the machine, and had some time to kill. We grabbed coffee at Costa and then boarded the train! It was really exciting to do it all ourselves without Rusty doing the work for us.

The train ride was about an hour and it went really quickly even though I was exhausted. Once we got there, we were going off of an awesome day-trips from London guide book that my dad had gotten for me, and we headed towards the information centre. We picked up a few brochures, but it wasn't really that helpful. The castle was obviously the center of Windsor, and it was beautiful and massive! We started out there.

We decided to just pay the entrance fee to get in, even though it was a little more than we would have liked (15 pounds) and I'm so glad we did! We got audio guides and decided not to wait for the formal tour and just explore ourselves, which ended up being a really good idea. We had so much fun taking pictures and exploring and listening to all the audio- I learned a lot of fun info!

It was a massive castle and so pretty! The moat surrounding the main round tower was always a dry moat, and is now the most beautiful garden area!

I really wanted to go inside the chapel, but it was closed for some reason. Here's what the outside looked like though:

We went through the Queen's cool. Queen Victoria used to be obsessed with collecting miniature things, so it was a huge doll house of sorts, full of miniatures of EVERYTHING imaginable, even replicas of real works of art done by the artists who made them, mini books from the authors, etc. It was so impressive! We couldn't take any pictures in that room, or in the gallery of pictures throughout the Queen's life to celebrate the jubilee, or in the state apartments.

The state apartments were RIDICULOUSLY elaborate and gorgeous and overwhelming. We did the audio tour through these as well, and it was massive and it seemed never-ending! Definitely wouldn't want to live in that much luxury all the time, it was too much.

More pictures of the castle:

lovin' those audio guides!

Round Tower

We were getting REALLY hungry (it was almost 3 and we hadn't had lunch...) so we consulted my guide book and went to one of the recommended pubs- The Carpenter's Arms. I got tomato soup and a house good!
After lunch, we set off following the guide again. Stopped at the Parish Church and went in and looked was a small, local church, nothing too impressive, but quaint nonetheless.

We kept walking towards the edge of town towards the Long Walk, which we didn't really know about at all. When we got there, it really was just a SUPER long walk off into the distance surrounded by grass and trees! We had fun frolicking about in all the open space- it was gorgeous weather and we just hung out there for a while and Amanda climbed a tree and we just relaxed, it was great!

After the Long Walk, we went back through town, stopped for me to get some postcards, and then continued on past the castle and towards the train station where we arrived and into Eton. Eton was a cute little main street sort of town, with lots of shops and restaurants, but there wasn't much else there besides Eton College! Everything at the college was closed and private property and we really couldn't see much of it. Apparently it's like a very private boys boarding high school, not really like a college like in the states. We saw the outside and wandered a little bit, but that's about it!

view of the Thames from the cast iron bridge into Eton

Eton College

Chapel at Eton

After Eton, we had a couple of hours to kill and not much else to do based on the tour book, so we ended up just walking along a footpath along the Thames that was gorgeous and so peaceful! It was a nice way to end the day.

an overpass over the train tracks- this train went by and honked at us!

We ended up deciding to eat before we went home, so we found a cheap pub that wasn't too crowded with Euro 2012 viewers, split nachos, and then caught our 7:23 train home! We played card games most of the ride back to pass the time, which was fun.

Such a successful day trip!
The group all got together and decided to go out to Hyde Park at night (not totally a sober decision). We took the tube, went and ran around the park in the pitch black, and came back home. Such a random but fun night. Some of the group made friends with people on the tube which was a little embarrassing...I stayed out of all of that though! Kept to myself and didn't feed into the loud, annoying American stereotype. :)

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