Thursday, August 12, 2010

Travel Reviews: Windsor Castle %

I woke up this morning to one of my favorite things: a thunderstorm. It made me want to pull my duvet up around me & snuggle in for a bit more sleep. But the doggies had other ideas. Layla came in & rested her head on the bed beside me, just close enough that her nose was touching my face. And Lucius, who is such a midnight wanderer that I have to put him in his kennel for bed so that he doesn't fall down the stairs {yes, it's happened}, was crying for me to come let him out. So we got up. I made a big cup of some of my favorite green tea, gave the dogs their breakfast, & started some laundry.  It's going to be a cozy day here today, I think!

Now, for more on London.  { You can see my other posts on this travel topic by clicking right here. }  My dear, I have more pictures than I know what to do with!  It's a daunting task to go through them all & pick out a few to share here with you all, but I will do it!  I promised to!  And now, I have the time :)

Day Three in London:  My brother & I booked a country bus tour to take us to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, & Oxford.  We were really excited to get out of the city & see more of the true England.  { As I started this post, I intended to cover all of day three, but I'm realizing Windsor Castle will take up a lot of space!  I hope you enjoy these reviews, because it's going to be a while before I'm finished! }

The beautiful Windsor Castle.  { Photo from here }
Windsor Castle was our first stop, & we've both decided that this was one of our very favorite places of the entire trip.  This is the largest castle in the world that is still inhabited & it is at least as old as the ages of William the Conqueror.  The castle's floor covered about 480,000 square feet & I'm sure that we saw only a snippet of that!  Oh, & I must say that the Queen was there at Windsor while we were touring the grounds!  Yes, indeed!  The flag was flying high to let us know!

The Queen is in!
We had only two hours at the Castle {which our guide agreed was ridiculously short!}, so we booked it from one place to another.  First, through security.  Yes, full security with metal detectors & all.  Must keep the Queen safe!  Then, we walked the grounds & got our bearings.  We overheard that The Changing of the Guard was soon to take place, so off we went to watch!  My brother took so many photos that I teased him we could make a flip book :)  Here's just one!

As we'd waited for the Changing of the Guard to begin, we ducked into St. George's Chapel, which has become one of my very favorite that I've ever seen.  { You can visit their official site here & even explore 360 degree virtual tours here as well as listen to the Chapel Choir & the Bells of St. George's!  Or perhaps you'd like to see St. George's Chapel at Christmas.  Please take a peak; it's lovely. }  We did take pictures of the Chapel, but none of them really do it justice.  So here is a photo from

Beautiful, isn't it?
After watching the Changing of the Guard, off we went to see Queen Mary's Doll House.  This doll house, built in the 1920's, is complete with working plumbing & electricity.  In its beautiful little rooms you can find miniatures everything a real house would hold: working toilets & ceiling lights, carpets & musical instruments, even little wine & liqueur bottles filled appropriately!  The books on the bookshelves are miniature versions of real books made by the authors themselves, just like the famous works of art on the walls.  It was amazing!  And huge!  Here are some good photos for you!  I didn't take any of these--we weren't allowed to snap any photos!  So these are from Getty Images, Royal-Windsor & TravelBlog.

You may remember my mentioning the movie The Young Victoria in a previous London Travel post.  I watched this movie a few weeks before visiting London, but knowing more about Queen Victoria & Prince Albert really made the visit more enjoyable.  Victoria became Queen of England at the age of 18 & she was married to Prince Albert a mere three years later.  Together, they had nine children.  Albert passed away from typhoid while at Windsor Castle.  He was only 42 years old.  Queen Victoria wore black for the rest of her life, had Albert's clothes set out every morning, & always kept a setting for him at the table.  They are buried together near Windsor Castle at the Frogmore Royal Mausoleum.

The story of Victoria & Albert has really stuck with me.  Their love, their dedication to one another, & their strength  to do the right for the country that they loved.  True love & true loyalty.  There can be nothing more noble, I believe.  Do watch The Young Victoria.  Their story will stick with you too.  I got a bit teary just watching the trailer.  You will love it.

Windsor Castle is a beautiful place filled with beautiful rooms & beautiful stories.  I would love to go back someday & spend much longer walking the grounds & learning more of its past.  How wonderful it is to visit such places; how strange to think that I may never be back again.  But to see them once is far greater than to never see them at all!  It's important to always make the most of your time, no matter where you are!
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