Saturday, May 23, 2009
I decided to take a day off from studying the day after my first exam and went to Windsor Castle with my friend Liz. Liz is another American who is working at Sussex for the summer. She doesn't have any exams and I have a weird exam schedule so the two of us skipped out while the others were studying/taking exams. We didn't put a lot of thought into this excursion; just bought train tickets and figured we'd find the castle. The castle proved very easy to find and seemed bigger than some of the other castles I've visited . However it was difficult to tell since it's right in the center of town.
The castle has been the primary residence of the Sovereign for over 900 years so most of it was not open to tourists. The State Apartments, St. George's Chapel, and Queen Mary's Doll House are the main attractions. The gardens surrounding the Round tower were really pretty too. The State Apartments were very similar to all the other State Apartment's I've seen with lots of antique furniture, weapons, and paintings. One of the really nice things about the apartments at Windsor was that I recognized a lot more of the royal names than usual. St. George's Chapel was constructed in roughly the same style as King's College Chapel. However St. George's Chapel is the finally resting place of several monarchs including but not limited to Henry VIII, Charles I, and George VI, and their spouses; Jane Seymour, and the Queen Mum. Seeing names from my history book on actual memorial slabs was borderline freaky. Seeing a tomb, painting, building, or location that suddenly makes something I've read about very real is a phenomenon that I'm slowly getting used to. Queen Mary's Doll House beat the pants off my trusty fischer-price doll house. The house itself would have taken about half of my room at Sussex, and had over two dozen completely furnished rooms plus a four-car garage and back-garden. It was all beautifully made.
Visiting the Queen's residence was a really nice break from studying especially since the weather was bewautiful. The toughest part is going to be making myself go back to studying tomorrow since it's a Bank Holiday weekend which would normally mean three-day weekend, but not during exam time!