Windsor Castle is an authentic castle snuggled next to a quaint village where you can stop for a drink and shop. Yay!
I loved the turrets. All the castle needed was a moat, but I didn’t see one. Wait. Is that a moat?
I loved the grounds. I was searching for any jousting, but there was only one tent.
I was excited to see the inside.
The rooms were as large and ornate as Buckingham Palace. The one that stuck in my memory was the enormous dining room. I couldn’t find my picture, so I found one online that shows the over-the-top furnishings.
Look at the colorful village nestled outside the castle walls, with seats. I could spend my day watching people instead of trudging through the old rooms.
A spot of tea for anyone? I had coffee since I’m too American.
Thank you for following along on my European vacation. I’ve visited one city in one country and hope to see many more.
A trip to England isn’t complete without a visit to Buckingham Palace. The train stop was on the opposite side of a vast park we had to cross to reach the palace. The path took us through a lot of greenery and many tourists taking pictures. Finally, we reached the palace gates.
The inside was magnificent, each room ornately furnished. The tour guide handed us headphones for the walking tour, and we put them on. Once we heard Prince Charles’ monotonous voice, I roamed the rooms with my daughter, leaving my husband and the headphones behind.
Most rooms were gloomy, and we were eager to see the grounds.
We followed the others from one overfurnished room to the next. Roped off and behind the glass were memorabilia of the monarchy.
Endless objects and clothing from the past. I’d never make a good historian.
Then we were allowed on the grounds the royal family used when they were in residence. The grass was roped off, and we were confined to the path; no wandering around for us.
Kensington Palace had better grounds to roam. However, I wasn’t impressed with the building’s small dark rooms. The Palace I liked the best was Windsor Castle, and we’ll visit it in my next article.
Kensington’s grounds were much more cheerful than the inside.
There was a maze outside, but we (or I) were too tired.
I’ve read travel brochures, but none tell you if a place is boring or worth the trouble. Since I’m adept at complaining wherever I go, I wonder if there’s a need for a ‘Is It Worth the Effort’ brochure? I would place Kensington Palace in the not worth it category.
Since I had so much fun at London Tower (do I detect a drop of sarcasm?), I thought I’d continue my London adventure. A trip to Harrods, London’s famous department store, is worthwhile. We took the Underground. If anyone mistakenly believes New York subways have the most aggressive people, I’m sorry to say London’s Underground passengers will push you over and stomp on you. With my swollen legs, I prayed each time to reach my destination in one piece. I did much better on the buses.
My daughter is the happiest while shopping.
We had a great day shopping.
Our next fun shopping trip was to Covent Garden.
I love quaint places and shopping. With two daughters, the highlight of our trips always centered around shopping. Life wasn’t complete until I bought a handbag on a trip, and I scored a Burberry bag in London.
We adored the crafts market and even found a kosher falafel place. Kosher food was harder to find in London than I expected. One neighborhood had a variety of places, but there were few kosher restaurants outside this area. To locate the kosher takeout in the food court of a department store, we asked many employees who had never heard of it. Finally, one store employee heard of the vendor and told us where to find it. We almost didn’t have food for the Sabbath.
We found the cutest pastry shop in Covent Garden, hidden behind a door, where everything was small, like in Alice in Wonderland.
I lost weight on this vacation with all the walking we were doing and the lack of kosher food. Now I know why some friends stick kosher salamis and peanut butter into their checked luggage. I didn’t want to walk around London smelling like salami and peanut butter. Next time, I will plan better for a vacation abroad. My husband suggested Venice, but after researching the food options, I knew I needed more time to prepare for that trip since even the milk and bread in Venice have lard and must be kosher. Packing a bag and going anywhere without worrying about food would be nice.
Today I’ll continue with my European vacation to London, England. Since we booked in a hurry, I realized afterward that we missed great sites in London and the surrounding suburbs. I hope there will be a next time.
I’ll begin with London Tower, which I found to be a creepy place.
I had an eerie feeling stepping inside, and it wasn’t because of the long lines.
We step inside; it’s dark and gloomy.
We are welcomed by statues wearing armor; even the horses have armor.
If I wanted to leave, would they come alive and stop me? I told myself it was my claustrophobia rearing its ugly head.
Did I hear a neigh from that horse? It was looking straight at me. I turn around and almost bump into this big guy.
Is that a face beneath the helmet?
The guide for London Tower (of hell, I added that) takes us to a staircase, which we climb, and then to a much narrower staircase. I have a bad feeling. We climb a bunch of steps, and I have trouble breathing. This isn’t Israel again. Once the tour guide tells us the passageway will get narrower, I respond I’m leaving. He gives me a strange look and says I must climb them to see the tower. I’m already pushing the annoyed tourists. I hear my husband grumbling behind me. My daughter doesn’t care since she also hates tight spaces.
Once we leave the hole in the wall passageway and reach the light, which is the semi-darkness of the main area, a special guide escorts us since we are not allowed to walk around by ourselves. We wait for the rest of our group and join them to see the monkey statues outside. I’m not a monkey fan, but I hate those monkeys. They remind me of the flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz that still gives me nightmares.
Afterward, we were allowed to leave London Tower. I was never so happy to leave a tourist site, and this place is not on my recommended sites to see.
One of my favorite vacations was with my daughter, Ashley, and my husband in London, England. It was June years back, and my husband said let’s go to London in August. I feared it wasn’t enough time to make plans and book hotels and flights, but we had promised Ashley a European vacation instead of a Bat Mitzvah, and I wanted to take her before she graduated college, so I agreed. I yearned to see Paris, but my husband was leery because of the unfriendliness American tourists encountered there. Thinking back, I regret not visiting Paris since it was only a boat ride away.
This is our hotel according to their brochure: “Situated in the heart of London on the bank of the River Thames, Plaza on the River provides 90 generously sized suites with exquisite views of the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. A short walk from Vauxhall Station, our South Bank hotel puts guests within easy reach of the famous West End, the financial district, Westminster Abbey, the London Eye, Tate Britain, and other beloved attractions.”
In reality, to reach Westminster Abbey and the other sites, there is a long walk to a bridge and then more of a walk once you cross it. It would have been much easier if we had stayed on the other side. Since we didn’t book a tour, we spent time on buses and trains.
Ashley was with me, so it was worth the swollen legs and feet. Lymphedema and walking don’t go hand in hand.
To see London’s sights, we walked across this small bridge. We were on the same side as the London Eye but never made it there.
Ashley at Westminster Abbey on our walk. Behind her, there’s a statue of a man riding a horse.
Wherever we went, there were statues. Some elaborate and a few strange ones.
The statues served as great rest stops on our walking tours. The gold one was near Buckingham Palace.
I believe the goat statue stood in the quaint town near Windsor Castle.
We walked passed this statue on our walks across the bridge.
This statue gave me a good laugh since it stuck out like a sore thumb among London’s serious architecture and sculptures. I never learned the purpose of the blue rooster. Was it the year of the blue rooster somewhere?
The following two pictures are of sculptures at the London Tower. I’ll share photos of the London Tower in my next post. I found so many images of statues in my album that I wanted to share them separately.
Does London have a statue fetish? I only visited a few sites but found more statues than anything else. I’ll let you be the judge.