These are the touring days of our lives

Trip Start Mar 28, 2009
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Trip End Apr 14, 2009


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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Saturday, April 4, 2009

After a late evening at the theater the night before, we had to be up early for the only tour that we had booked for the trip. It was a 10,5 hour tour to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Oxford. This was a select tour which meant that the there was no real tour guide to speak of at the respective locations but there are time limits to each of the locations.We were accompanied by a tour guide called Mel who also conducted a free walking tour of Oxford of approximately 40 minutes to give you an idea of the highlights of the town.

First stop was Windsor Castle, which we were told is the favorite residence of the Queen. To highlight this fact, when we got this magnificent castle, we saw the royal standard flying on the flag post - which means that the Queen was in residence. Believe it or not, she didn't invite me in for tea. Quite disappointing :(

We had two hours to entertain ourselves at Windsor Castle which resulted in a sprint through the place. It is a glorious example of a working castle and it was quite easy to close my eyes and imagine that we were in the era of knights and ladies.We walked through the public areas of the state rooms. These rooms were absolutely magnificent but unfortunately like in practically all historic sights, we were not allowed to take an photographs. This is truly a pity but you are then forced to buy the postcards pf each room that are sold in the shop or you have to try to keep the memory of the rooms. My favorite room was the St.George's hall which is often used for banquets at Windsor. Although the room is not the most opulent - it is beautifully decorated room with the shield of the Knights of the Garter. The entire castle is incredibly opulent and has 1000 year history dating back to William the Conquerer. The other beautiful architectural specimen was St, George's chapel and is many people's opinion the best example of a church from the middle ages in Britain. I have a tendency to agree with them bit then again I think that I have a preference for Gothic architecture.The castle also gives the public the chance to see the ceremonious "Changing of the guards." This is a better place to watch the ceremony than Buckingham palace as the guards are not obstructed by large gates and due to the timing of our travels, no thronging crowds.The two hours definitely was not enough and I will want to go back when next I am here.

From Windsor Castle, we travelled for 1,5 hours to the middle of nowhere to see the most mystical site in Britain - Stonehenge. Stonehenge is a love it or hate it kind of place for most people. I fall into the love it category. It is not the site that intrigues or stirs my interest but just the mystery behind the site that intrigues me the most. Questions filled my mind as I looked at the site. What is the purpose of the henge? How did this civilization get everything to construct the site? Why was it so important to them that they could bring rocks from Wales to this location in the middle of nowhere? Who did they construct such a complicated piece of architecture with their primitive tools?Aren't we a bit full of ourselves when we believe that we have wonders today when they were able to build structures that survived for 5000 years? Well the trip didn't give me any answers to the questions but I have to admit that I did enjoy the site immensely.

Finally, we were off to Oxford to what is the oldest university on its original foundations, Balliol College. There is great rivalry between Oxford and Cambridge and this becomes obvious in the boat race that is held every year.This year Oxford were the winners. We wandered around the campus and saw sights such as Exeter College, Radcliffe college, All Saints College. It was beautiful and there were splendid examples of Georgian architecture. The college is actually the sight of Sir. Christopher Wren's first architectural attempt and it was done while he was a professor of Astronomy at the university. Talk about a career change ;) We got back to London exhausted but pleased with our efforts of the day. We have memories that will be difficult to describe. Ultimately it was a day that was well worth our time and efforts.
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