Saturday, June 02, 2012

[L.E.P.A.K series: London] Chapter 25: Windsor Castle

June is here! And I have only but a handful of posts left for my L.E.P.A.K series. :( 
I’m bracing myself for the end of this adventure. *sobs*  Now where did I left off from my last L.E.P.A.K post? Oh right! The Changing of Guards Ceremony came to an end and we were once again off to our next location and it is no where within London city. 


 These two girls are barely back in town for less than 24 hours and they're crazy enough 
to head out again? 

Of course not! Don't be silly. 

 We rode the tube back to Westminster Station and from there bought tickets out to... 
to... Windsor & Eton Riverside! That's right. 

 We're heading to Windsor Castle. 

 Speaking of Windsor Castle, Cik Anai and I sort of owe ourselves to the place. Just the name itself was grand and influential enough to 'save' us. Hahaha. Here's what happened. Just the day before when we were supposed to ride the Eurostar back from Brussel to London, we naturally had to go through custom once again. The usual Q&A between the custom officer and us ensued. The difference this time from the one we had at the airport was the fact that we did not have my crazy-ass 32-pages long itinerary with me to do the convincing job. Not to mention we both looked totally worn out from our two days of adventure. Even our appearance was probably very suspicious looking. Hahaha. 

 Oh no! 

 And then it happened! Lady Officer asked me "Where will you be heading to London tomorrow?" in which I went on to answer, "We're going to St Paul's then to catch the Changing of the Guards and probably Windsor Castle but we're not too sure about that one." 


 Why? Because Lady Officer immediately perked up and insisted that we should pay Windsor Castle a visit in which I replied "Really?!" and we went on a little from there. She then looked over to Mr Officer at the next counter who was 'interrogating' Cik Anai and asked "How? Okay?" and we both got our stamp of approval to enter. 


 Because of that, we make sure we visit Windsor Castle no matter what. The reason for the initial uncertainty was that we had planned to catch Wicked (the musical) that evening and was worried we wouldn't be able to make it back on time. We did make it back on time after all yet we did not catch the musical. Big big bummer but more about that later. Right now let's head to Windsor!

Within an hour's train ride and we reached our destination.

It was certainly a beautiful place to step out to. A curve and a stroll later... 
(Just so you know, I'm fighting the urge to post every single photo of every single step we took so as to avoid being longwinded and have to actually have two separate post for this place) *must resist* 

 Therefore, a curve and a stroll later...

...we found ourselves in front of a cross-road. Hahaha. 
Silly pun that amuses no one else but myself. Sorry about that.

I love this shot of myself *shameless* except for the awkward sitting pose. :(

And then it was the start of pure awesomeness.

The Round Tower is one of the signature architectures of the castle which 
you will see in many photos.

Here's one last pretty shot before I turn on my story-telling mode again. I love this shot of Cik Anai. It's certainly nice to visit on a weekday with less crowd around. That is if you don't find wondering around a grand and old castle that bit spooky. 

 Now, the best part about Windsor Castle is what's inside it and unfortunately, just like in St Paul's Cathedral, no photography is allowed. Windsor Castle is actually the Queen's weekend residence. Yes, there is actually the possibility of you walking around castle grounds while the queen is at home. 

 According to the Royal Windsor website, Windor Castle is the largest inhabited castle in the world. It is one of the Queen's three official residences and is often said to be her favourite. To know whether the Queen is at home, check the flag that flies over the Round Tower. The Royal Standard flies when the Queen is in residence and at other times, the Union Jack flies in its place.

Within those walls are the royal apartments and I must say, walking inside it will simply leave you in awe with your jaws hanging, literally. Hahaha. It is so grand, so luxurious and so well-aged. Though of course Her Majesty's private apartments are never open to visitors but one can imagine how life would be in here.

There is one amusing thing in this scene. Look very closely. 
 Can't see it? Wait, Cik Anai will zoom in for you.

Here you go! 
No no, I'm not talking about my weird facial expression. 
Look at what's on my right. 


 Yes, 5! Hahaha. That's the speed limit. 
For cars and bikes I hope, not pedestrian walking speed. Funneh.

At the very last leg of our self-paced walking tour is St George's Chapel. 

 The beauty of St George's Chapel is very much different from St Paul's luxurious appeal nor is it comparable to Notre Dame's classic charm. If I were to find the perfect description for St George's Chapel, I would say 'serene beauty'. It is very haunting and for a lack of a better word, eerie. Not in a bad way but you can't help bowing down and be respectful of the place. Maybe because it is the resting place of many Monarchs.

After a short yet informative tour inside St George's Chapel, we stepped out and were greeted by the royal guards. Unlike the crazy crowd at Buckingham palace, the numbers here were manageable, so we took the opportunity for a one-on-one photoshoot session with a fellow guard-on-duty.

Hahaha. Kacau aje.

We attempted to 'see' the most out of our half-day tour at Windsor by trying out luck at another route back to the train station. Different route, different things to see.

Which led us to the realisation that it was some Apple / Mac launch day! 
No wonder there was no one at the castle. They were all here. Hahaha.

Then we stumbled upon Mr Iduntalkmuch's famous ice-cream place.

Two doors down was Gadget Boy's boutique shop selling clothes for the ladies. Typical of Gadget Boy. Hahaha. Our biggest surprise though, came when we made a turn to the next road. Turns out Daniel ain't merely a boutique shop but a huge departmental store like business. Like HUGE. Hahaha. We joked among ourselves saying "Gadget Boy ho-liao!" 

 An hour's train ride later, we rushed towards Victoria Theatre to attempt to get ourselves tickets to Wicked. Crazy girls thinking of scoring tickets to one of the most on-demand musicals of West End! Na-da! Actually, there were still tickets, except they're priced at a whooping £90 each!! That's like RM450 our money. Cray cray man! Even if I'm crazy enough to splurge, I can't expect Cik Anai who's totally clueless about the show to spend that much. No can do.

We asked if there were no cheaper seats and the lady at the counter said yes, at £19 for a seat with blocked view. She said that the seats were good for those above six feet tall but not for us. Disappointed we left the place with broken hearts. I regretted oh so very much later that I did not grab those £19 seats and just kneel or did something to make myself higher to watch. But what's done is done.

Instead we found ourselves back at Piccadilly Circus with a night crowd as busy as in the day. Knowing how disappointed I was over most our unfortunate incident, Cik Anai proposed we catch some other musical. However, since its over 7.30pm, most shows have already started and we were left with a handful of musical to choose from.

And that's how we ended up with Mamma Mia! Not the biggest production nor the most interesting story. Seen the movie, know the songs. So it was not a musical filled with surprises yet it's still amazing to see how they work the stage and the whole story with one multi-rotatable centre piece.

And for some crazy reason, we rewarded ourselves with some ice cold Haagen Dazs 
on a winter night. Yup. We're definitely getting used to the cold. Hahaha. 

 And that wraps up our last night in London. Boohoohoo! :(

1 comment:

Groucho's Girl said...

You are a terrific writer! Your blogs on London remind me of my two trips there. My favorite place to eat there was in China Town. St. Paul's Cathedral is incredible. Saw Checkov's '' The Three Sisters'' in Picadilly Circus.