Windsor Castle

If you visit Windsor castle in the winter, as we did, go on Friday. That's the day they have the changing of the guard. We didn't know about it before we got there, but were alerted by the band marching up the street toward us and the castle. Here's what we saw:

So we ran, got in front of the band and snapped pictures furiously.

Had to have one of the drum major, of course.

And the guards who were marching along behind, carrying very real automatic weapons.

So we ran some more, bought our tickets, ran to the inside of the castle to see the rest of the ceremony. What we found was the band playing a concert. Mainly American tunes.

No Sousaphones in the marching band!

But a very real marching bassoon.

There were soldiers standing very still the whole time the band played.

And cold spectators listening, too.

In an altogether glorious setting on a cold, sunny day.

Then two guys got together in the middle and decided that this had gone on long enough.

So the band formed up and marched away, including the two men at the back who were playing the radio, very quietly.

Then, after some more talking, two soldiers marched up and down the whole length of the courtyard.

After that the guys with the automatic weapons formed up and marched away, too.

 

Here are a few views of the castle exteriors. Windsor is a very old castle with a lot of English history embedded in its walls. It was built and added to over a long period of time and every part has a story. It had periods of frequent use and periods of neglect and disuse. The guided tour was very informative. We didn't get to see the Queen's rooms because they were closed for "spring cleaning". So the only inside parts we saw were the museums and shops. Still, it was a worthwhile trip.

One of the recent improvements was to turn the staff parking lot into a garden area, in honor of the Queen's jubilee year. Em and Hongxu thought it would be a good place for a picture. I did too.

Our guide was friendly, chatty, and had lots of stories to tell about the various parts of the castle.

The castle keep was built by William the Conqueror. That's old.

This tower was built by Edward II for his wife.

Look at the top of the gate to see St. George slaying the dragon. Appropriately enough, it's called St. George's gate.

Looking from the keep to the yard where all the common folk would have been, if they had managed to get inside the walls.

And here is documentation that we really were there.

Emily and Hongxu, too.

Castles have gargoyles, too.

This was the part of the castle that Elzabeth I built. Click to enlarge and look to the center between the windows to see her crest embossed on the wall.

After we left the castle we walked across theThames to Eton for lunch at a terrific Indian restaurant there. Outside the restaurant was Ann's dream car. Well, sort of. It wasn't an MG, but it was the right color. It's a Morgan, a British made sports car.

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Wanna see another castle? How about Hampton Court.

Or maybe you'd like to see Salisbury Cathedral.