Sunday, January 19, 2003

[I wrote the first paragraph during my trip, and then rest just now]

I am writing this on the train, so it might be a little incoherent. Today I am heading to the Windsor Castle, where the queen lives quite frequently. I have decided to flip my schedule around because the chapel at Windsor does not allow visitors on Sundays. Anyway the journal so far has been pretty astonishing! The secenary outside the city is quite breathtaking. It is truly a postcard moment. Too bad I couldn't capture it on my camera because the train is moving so fast. I saw sheep! LOTS of sheep! Although it is in the middle of winter, there is still so much to see outside the window.

The castle was amazing. It was so unbelievabe. One word - HUGE! It took me literally three hours to walk around everything in the castle and all the exhibits. Luckily, the state apartment re-opened today so I got to see all the rooms that the queen uses during her stay. What is this, the King's drawing room, the Queen's drawing room, the Queen's ballroom, the Queen's presence room, the Queen's reception room, the State ballroom, the Windsor room (it's more like a hall, where they have huge state dinners), and many other rooms. Honestly, there is ONE queen and ONE king AT MOST. How many rooms do they need. Oh the king is a room for his closet, and a room for his changing. Of course he also has his bed chamber and all. Not to mention this is only one part of the castle, of course. There are many other places that were closed off to visitors.

I also got to see Queen Mary's Doll House. It was a 1/12 replica of the entire castle, built from the original drawings of the castle. They also opened the semi-state rooms which were created by George IV in the 1820s. They include the Green Drawing Room, the Crimson Drawing Room, the State Dining Room, and the Octagon Dining Room. The castle was first built by William the Conqueror, and it was originally built out of wood. Slowly different soverigns add to it and rebuilt it out of stone, adding their own personal taste to it. They also have built in a lot of defensive mechanisms to defend the castle. Under one archway there are three holes, called Murder Holes. Basically you wait until the attacker walks under it, and then you launch stuff at them from the top, like hot liquid or arrows or heavy objects. It's quite funny really. :)

Of course the castle had a fire in 1992, destorying many towers and the restoration project could not bring back some of the artwork that was presented. Funny though, this lady walked in today and proclaimed that her great-great-grandfather painted the painting that was too big to move during the fire that it was destroyed. The funny part, is that the guide said "There was a piece of artwork here that was too heavy to carry during the fire, and it was destoryed. No big loss, it wasn't really that spectacular anyway." So the women spoke up and told him that she is related to the artist. The guide proceeded to say "Well that was a great loss to the castle, it was still a very important piece of artwork from the 1800s." HAHAHA. :)

After which I attempted to visit Eton College - where Prince William received his education. Unfortunately the school was closed to visitors until late March. I did manage to take some pictures outside, but too bad I didn't get to see how nice these expensive royal family high schools look like. Disappointed, I had a quick dinner, and then took the train back to London.

Tomorrow shall be another exciting outing :)

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