After 2slower days it was time to get back to sightseeing. To start the day: Windsor Castle. I hopped a train, and one connection and quick hour later I was there. I purchased a 3day London Pass, which allowed me "free" entry to a multitude of attractions (for lack of a better word). It also allows fast entry into some of the sights, Windsor being one of them. For this I was pleased because the line went around the block.
Can you imagine living there? Sure, not all of it is residence, but it's ridiculous none the less. Oh... you see that flag in the outer images? It's not the Union Jack, but the Royal Standard, indicating that royalty is in residence. Turns out the Queen was there. Unlike her son, she was cool enough to let the Castle remain open. Ahem, Charles. [To be fair, I'm confident that that is not at all how it works.] I couldn't go into St. George's Chapel because it was Sunday and there were services, but I was able to go everywhere else. As such I was able to see:
- The State Apartments - Old ones. Not the current ones, obviously.
- Queen Mary's doll house - Such detail.
- The Grand Staircase/Vestibule - Ever see a movie where a someone descends a "grand" staircase and everyone stops and stairs? It could happen there.
- The Waterloo Chamber - Large room with large table, with important people on the wall. Looks like important business goes down there.
- And no castle would be complete without displays of armor and weaponry. The sole purpose of one room - seriously - was to just display blades. Floor to ceiling. Wouldn't want to be there during an earthquake.
After leaving the Castle I sought out a tea house my mother had recommended:
Can you guess the name? The Crooked House of Windsor. The "Leaning Tower of Tea Houses," if you will. It's a trip inside. Hah! I didn't even mean to do that... but you may definitely trip given it's general unevenness. That's actually something I saw quite a bit of in Amsterdam.
I took the train back to London and went back to Hyde Park, this time to see Kensington Palace. Unfortunately, it's being renovated so they have some some "Enchanted Palace" nonsense on display. Given that it was covered on my London Pass I figured there was no harm in going in. It was such. a. joke. Sure, if you're 8years old and love princesses it might be enjoyable, but for everyone else? No way. It was 8 or so rooms filled with Christmas lights (to give a mystical, enchanted vibe, I suppose) and each room was dedicated to a (real) princess. But it was a secret princess! You had to figure out who it was by the clues in the room... Or by the princess name plastered everywhere. Not such a challenge. Anyway, I would have been pissed if I actually shelled out £12.50 to go in. So my advice? Just wait until the renovations are done and then check it out.
I then decided to walk the entire length of Hyde Park, though I suppose I started the trek in Kensington Gardens. Anyway, it's... long. Pretty though. Stopped and listened to some live music for a while. There's also this 1.5mile strip called Rotten Row where you can ride horses. While passing by I noticed that a beautiful white horse had gotten free and was determined to stay as such so it could keep eating grass. It was a bit tense, but exciting and it all ended well.
At the end I got to the end down at Hyde Park Corner I went to the Wellington Arch, and with my pass I went to the top. It once served as the world's smallest (I may be making that up) police station. It also used to have a disproportionately large statue of the Duke of Wellington at the top. I think I like Winged Victory better. Also, I have no proof of this, but my theory is that the Brits were trying to combine the Arc de Triomphe and the Brandenburg Gate, both of which were at least started before this one. Just saying.
Got some nice views from the top, but I would be climbing/rising to much higher places in the next 2days.
That night Missy and Franklin arrived from the Czech Republic, so I went over to their hotel in Westminster to meet them. Unfortunately, this was when it started to rain (for the first time since my arrival) (Missy says I can blame her). We chatted about the previous few days of our respective trips and grabbed some dinner. A good night.
All June 5 photos:
Up next: Sightseeing on a schedule.