So after sadly missing my scheduled trip out to Stonehenge the day prior, I made certain that I woke up in time to catch my scheduled train out to Windsor. Leaving around 7am, I was able to make it to the one and only Paddington Station. I didn’t expect it to be as large as it was. It spanned about 16 stations for trains and reminded me of an airport with everyone watching the train board of arrivals and departures.
I got off at Windsor and sat at the local “Costas” (similar to a small Panera) to grab my bearing with some internet. Luckily I did that because I got to Windsor 30 minutes before Windsor Castle even opened. Windsor Castle is the one of three residencies that the Queen and the Royal family go to for their private weekends. Once I got in, I took my time with the free audio tour since my train tickets to return to London weren’t for a while later. The castle was so grand – especially the center tower on a hill that had a massive garden leading up to it.
I got to walk through the room where the Queen hosts dinners! One long table able to seat 160 guests. When they set the table, all the arrangements of the china is set out and measured with a ruler. Just my kind of specifics 😉
I’m not quite remembering all the specifics, but there was a huge dollhouse I visited in part of the castle made with working electricity and plumbing hosted there too. Weird, but incredible.
At the souvenir shops, I got a nice tumbler glass and an amazing umbrella that I’m super pumped about. It is a nice navy blue color with a wooden handle. When you open it up, the inside fabric is that of a Union Jack!!
Then I got to go into a gothic-style cathedral within Windsor Castle where the audio tour said that “all are welcome to any of the 3 services throughout the day”. When would I ever get this opportunity again? So I went to the communion service at noon. There was this awesome spiral staircase to go up to where the service was held – and it was a part of the building not many get to see unless you’re partaking in service. At the top, it was a small room overlooking the end of the nave. All hand crafted out of stone, it was beautiful.
There were a few people in there already, which I was thankful for. A blue card outlined the Communion Service. It reminded me of a Catholic service with the motions of stand, sit, kneel, call & response, but it felt more like home with the way the…priest?…was leading and praying. Very Anglican, I guess. The bread we took was a cheap little wafer, but the wine was dessert wine. All in all, a fantastic experience and I’m glad I got to worship while I was over there. Then, I headed down a second staircase to make it back to where the quire was.
After, I made good use of my umbrella with the on-and-off cold and blustery weather (it even hailed a bit). I went back to Costas to eat and still had 4 hours until my train. I ate m Ham and Cheese Toastie (definitely would go back for those) and found out that my train ticket was valid all day! So I left Windsor early. I just started feeling like I haven’t stopped to rest and relax while on my vacation. And it is my last night staying in London, so I needed to nap, pack, and prepare for the next places.
When I left my AirBNB for dinner, I locked the flat door behind me and, in the glass of the back door of the lobby, there was the cutest black cat ever! I went out that way to say hi, and then none of the keys let me back in. Luckily the walkway led to the drive and I didn’t have to embarrass myself.
Time to plan for Scotland!