Okay, I didn’t actually visit the Queen, but I did visit her primary residence: Windsor Castle.
Simply described, Windsor Castle is exactly what you’d think a castle would look like. It’s on top of a hill and surrounded by protective walls. Once inside the walls, the castle circles around in a labyrinth of long hallways, towers, and expansive rooms. I walked around the exterior of the castle, and entered at the beginning of the State Rooms tour. I become pretty turned around as I followed the tour from room to room, but I wasn’t paying very much attention to where I was going.
On the tour, I saw some of the art from the Royal Collection: drawings by da Vinci and paintings by Renoir and Rembrandt. I also saw a bed that Napoleon slept in when he visited the castle! Pretty cool. The castle was also decorated with tapestries, ceiling murals, portraits of the royal family, and weapons that echoed the standard of power and protection that the royal family has upheld and shown-off for centuries.
Interesting Fact: In 1992, several rooms in Windsor Castle were destroyed by a fire. Thankfully, the rooms that sustained the worst fire damage had the least amount of furniture in them. During the restoration process, it was decided to restore the rooms to their previous grandeur rather than adding any modern fixtures to the architecture and design. So, even though some rooms were destroyed, they still appear the same as they did centuries ago.
After the tour of Windsor Castle, I took a brief walk down the road to visit Eton College. Unfortunately, it was closed to visitors, but I did get to see the outside walls, and I had a brief glimpse of a courtyard. Eton College is the top college in the UK, where the Princes and most of the Prime ministers were educated. Needless to say, the school is unbelievably expensive, and it is very elitist. Basically, you need to have some pretty good connections in order to get in. The school does give out 12 scholarships each year, but each of those students must measure up to the school’s high standards in order to keep their scholarships each year. The students at Eton College must abide by the strict dress code: top hats and tailcoats. I did see a few little boys walking around in their school uniform.
Interesting Fact: Eton College is not a college as we know it in the United States. “College” refers to a school similar to our middle school and high school. Most UK students attend College before they attend University.
Interesting Fact: The students of Eton College are divided into houses. Yes, just like Harry Potter. Each house eats, sleeps, shares common space, and has sports teams together. The different houses compete against one another in sports, like football (not American football).
Altogether, it was a fun day seeing more of England. It’s hard to believe that I have less than 2 weeks left…but I do have a lot planned between now and then. Enjoy the pictures!