Blog Day23-into London and unscathed!
Front Gates of Windsor
The slaying of the Dragon, a panel about 8 foot by 20 foot
This is a big day for us, as we are finally going to be heading into downtown London and turning in the rental car. Just the fact that we are not under the obligation of protecting the car means I can sleep with a little ease.
Long time since this moate seen any water or warfare, filled with lanscaping today. Windsor
Just a sample of items in Windsor, items made in Turkey
One of the Armour Halls at Windsor
Up a little earlier than usual and on the road by 8am, my conversation with the wacko from Santa Barbara the night before had left a nasty taste in my mouth which made eating a Blessing. Glad this chick wasn’t riding with me, I would have to drop her in the desert if she was. Hell bent on saving the world, eradicating livestock, hugging all trees and just generally telling everyone she could about how bad America is. That in itself is a surefire way to light my fuse, then to top it off she passed herself off as an artist, what a sham…………hey, lets change topics because I am getting mad all over again.
The gardens of Hampton Court
The roof of the Chapel in Windsor
We hit the Windsor Castle first thing as it opened, this was a real magnificent Castle, and also one of the castles that the Queen visits regularly. It was a no photo tour so what we have is what we have, my best 007 sneak shots possible. For myself, the most impressive rooms are the Chapel and the Tomb Room which houses the sarcophagus of King George. The Tomb room, is just beyond belief, a huge roof housing only the ornately decorated cover of King Georges Coffin, it must have a 30 foot ceiling and is all stone vaulting, lots of Gilding and art. Its really something to see.
Windsor Castle from the rear gate where we climbed over!
That will be the last time I tell him he's a handsome kid..........
HAmpton Court had the coolest patterns of brick work on the chimney's
The Windsor had a reasonable collection of Arms and armour, but it was a no camera tour, and very little of it is shown the booklet which they sold at the front counter. This is a fact that we have learned about these castle, and there curators. It would appear to me that the armour is a visual piece and an interest but not of the same value nor level of importance as the Tapestries and China, or maybe the Fresco’s and the Library etc. I like all these things, but the armour the most…………..darn, I just wish they would see it my way.
Griffons and Gargoyles abound at Hampton
Gardens at Windsor
Next stop is Hampton Court Palace, which is just great. Not real old, built around 1770. It is a Castle that still has a family living in it within one wing while the rest has been turned into a living history type exhibition. It has a fair example of a period Kitchen facility, as well as an great Ale & Wine house. The gardens out behind were the best we had seen for a time, and Hampton Court also houses the Guinness World Record for the largest single Grapevine with no grafting. The vine was planted 1781, it now reaches some 60 feet in length and a height of 30 feet. Today the vine is contained within a special glass house that is climatically controlled, but this only happened some 30 years ago. There is a patch of ground that is kept tended and tilled, the size of approx 1 acre, this is where the actual root draws its nourishment from.
I am not sure just how many chimneys there are on Hampton Court, but suffice it to say a bunch. Every chimney was done in a different pattern, and quite often the chimneys were arranged in groups of four, so it made for a striking effect to be sure.
The entire Chapel at Windsor was just spectacular.
It was time that we made our way to London’s Heathrow Airport and found the rental car return, which was really not very hard to do at all. I have read that this is either the largest or the busiest Airport in the world, but to be honest, I think LA and Atlanta are both and more than Heathrow. Anyways I got one “att’a boy” for my driving as a first time right-hand side driver in the entire UK. I did have to pay for a new left front wheel since I had a deep scuff from hitting a curb…………glad I bought that extra Insurance. We are done with the car…………… now, as we stand/kneel/sit/grunt/yes cuss/and pace, out in the rental car parking lot struggling with packing all of our purchases into the suitcases that we came with it looked like the Hill Billies moving to LA all over again.
We made it to the Rapid Train which will take us closer to London central. Once we get down a little closer, we will then get on a standard subway and go deeper into the city and with any luck we will come up from underground like a darned Gopher and peek out the subway hole and be looking at “Picadilly Circus” which is to be our home for the next 4 days as we explore London in each of her cardinal directions from that Hostel. I’ve been on quite a few subways, and still have no great love for them. I feel a quite a bit like a sardine and it’s always very hot on these rides. Breaking out on top was a good feeling with the cool night air wafting over us, the dank smells of the subway fade behind us as we step out into the busy life of the streets above.
Outside the front gates of Windsor, where the security guard finally let us go!!
The worlds largest single root system Grapevine, Poochy Maggie this was a beast
Its fairly late when we finally made to the Hostel, about 9:30 pm. We got into the room, all together with one other young lady from China who was in London to learn to speak English as return home to work as a translator. It’s a steep walk up to the 4th floor and our room. The elevator was tiny, and after that first night we always walked up rather than wait on that beast. So late, so tired, so hungry as well ! We hit the streets and took in the nightlife around Picadilly area, which is abundant and fast moving. This was sort of a thunderous affair, as there are so many Ferrari’s, Lamborghini’s, Astin Martins, Spykers and TGV’s and Porches which they learn to drive in. They would wind these thunderous beasts up and just rip pavement for a block or so and it would reverberate off the walls of the close by buildings. I am telling you the truth, at any of the numerous traffic circles we passed, you could easily spot up to a dozen of these sorts of cars.
Into the TUBE and hunting for a train to London
Somehow we take a left hand turn down a side street and run into China town. There are ducks and chickens hanging in the windows, and stooped little ladies working the kitchens etc, all of them are small, and all of them just look rather steamy inside…………so we just take a pick and make our way in. We spot one that is setup more like a DimSum Buffet…………….no not quite like a Kings Table Buffet over here with mountains of mashed tatters and roast beef swimming in gravy. It turned out to be very good, just the TIRED worked against us. By the time we ate and got back to the Hostel it was close to 12pm and the next day will be a long one so we best get some rest.
The night life of Picadilly welcomes us as we step out from the Underground
Good Night and God Bless
This is one of those "Thank God for feathers" moments, cause these gals didn't have much but feathers....................I know, I had to wait better than 40 minutes to get this shot just for you