On the day after I received my 16-25 railcard, I decided to make use of the discount by making a short trip to Windsor on a beautiful day. It was easy to get to Windsor from Paddington. All I had to do was to change train at Slough. Windsor is a small town and its main tourist attraction is the Windsor Castle – supposedly the oldest and longest occupied castle in the world. Once in a while, the Queen received foreign diplomats and business people at Windsor Castle and when that happens, the State Apartments will not be available for visiting. That will be quite a pity because personally, the State Apartments are my favourite part of the castle. They are pretty unique because they are grand yet intimidating. For the first time in my life, I saw different types of guns and swords stuck onto the walls in a circular manner. No photography is allowed inside the State Apartments but it does not really matter because once you have seen those rooms, you will probably not be able to forget how they look like, especially St George’s hall which is still used routinely today as a venue for banquets. I got an audio guide for free and it was really nice to have someone to explain the various sights to me. The audio guide even explains some of the paintings on the wall! Similar to the Kensington Gardens, there was not a particular direction which visitors must take to get around the castle. To be honest, I am not so used to this “free-and-easy” style and I somehow feel that I might leave the place without seeing some things.
I was also lucky as I saw soldiers marching around the castle. Although they are soldiers, somehow they do not intimidate. I think it has something to do with their fluffy black headdress.
Beside Windsor Castle is the more humble looking St George’s chapel. Many members of the royal family were buried there including Henry VI, Henry VII and Jane Seymour. During the medieval period, apparently many pilgrims visited this chapel. Similar to the interior of Windsor Castle, no photography is allowed inside St George’s chapel. The nave is pretty beautiful and I also like the flags of the current knights and royals.
After paying tribute to the royal family in Windsor, I took a boat ride down the River Thames with the French Brothers boat company. It is a beautiful section especially with the early-autumn foliage. It is so much more serene than the part of the river flowing through central London. There was some commentary provided. It is through the commentary that I learnt that swans see red better than grey. Apparently, swans sometimes hit the flyover when they fly because they don’t see grey so well. To save the swans, parts of the flyover were painted red.
I had some time to walk around Eton and I saw the Eton College. This building in the picture below is the library of the college. Boys dressed in black robes walked in and out of the library. The whole scene felt quite unreal, for a moment I thought I was in Hogwarts.