Saturday, January 1, 2011

Windsor England

Stature of Queen Victoria outside Windsor Castle
Off to England over the holidays with Anne visiting relatives. Zoe stayed behind at the "Hunde Hotel" in Munich where she was shacked up with a male Cocker Spaniel mix and appears to be missing him now that we're back in Munich. Saw quite a bit of the country on this trip-mostly West of London-starting here in Windsor. Learned that Elton John maintains a large estate here although I didn't see it. Windsor Castle hovers over the whole town and is, as you can imagine, quite grand, even with the austerity plans taking effect.

Changing of the Guards

In a scene pulled directly from the Wizard of Oz, or maybe vise versa, a large brass band leads the way through the village streets and past us Munchkins to the Castle playing a Christmas carol no less. Was unable to take the tour due to time constraints and it would take at least 3 days to see it all I'm sure. One nice feature to remember is, despite the outrageously high priced ticket to get in, you can get it stamped for free repeat visits on following days.
Security is very tight

These are found everywhere we go-airports especially. I found myself humming an old tune by Nick Lowe called "So It Goes" from his "Pure Pop For Now People"album-called "Jesus of Cool" in England-"Where it's going, no one knows." Thanks Nick.

Here are some of the Queen's swans on the Thames in Windsor. She and two other chaps hold claim to every swan in England. The story is there are only three people in England allowed to shoot and eat the swans. The Queen and two others unnamed-Dukes perhaps? Apparently, the illegal shooting and eating of swans has been a problem with immigrants coming into the country and not knowing the rules. You can feed a large family with just one swan I suppose. Swan goslings are caught once a year in the Spring by the Royal Swan Warden and their bills are notched-the Queen's of course have no notch, Duke one gets one notch etc. In that way, when a poached swan turns up, they can identify whom it was stolen from. "So it goes..."

A perfectly preserved original Mini Cooper on a back street. Eltons??
 Just beyond the Castle gates.
 Medieval street scene. Some of the city streets appeared to have their original cobble stones.
Old Stables below the castle

The South wing.

View from the South wing. It looks like a good two miles straight ending at a very large statue of some noble on horseback.
I'm not sure what Elton thinks, but one very noticeable feature of Windsor is the very low flying 747's coming in for a landing at Heathrow. They may have been trying to get caught up from the recent snow closures but, on this day, they were running about one every thirty seconds. Very loud and sometimes even breaking the sound barrier just to rattle the Queen's china. My guess is they fly different routes when the Queen ( and Elton?) are in town.

The picture doesn't do it justice-they felt a lot closer than this appears.
The Royal hay.

I think this is the West wing. The whole Castle is enormous and must have thousands of rooms. It would take half a day just to walk the perimeter. There is also the St. George Chapel which is linked here along with the whole Castle and history:

I was the only one chained to the fence protesting the war on this cold winter's day.

Yes, it's really crooked and amazing it is still standing.
As we leave Windsor, Queen Victoria's train is on display-it's a beauty.

No comments:

Post a Comment