Day 18: London (29 Mar) #1

Woke up today extremely in an irritable mood. I could not get a good night’s sleep due to the almost constant sound of footsteps coming from above, and some street noise bleeding in through the window. I’m not sure whether the noise coming from the ceiling was from the room above or the corridor outside of it, but it sure as hell gave a pretty realistic ‘haunted hotel’ feeling. The decor didn’t help much either.

I went up to the reception at 8am to buy a breakfast coupon for £5, and there was already plenty of people in the dining room. A staff member collected my coupon and asked if I would like a ‘English Breakfast,’ which I replied in the affirmative and I went of grabbing a table, some toast and juice while she brought out my breakfast, which I must admit was a little… underwhelming.

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My idea of Full English might have been a little, different.

Oh my. The bacon had so much salt in it that my eyes watered, and the sausage wasn’t the best either. Disappointed, I went to get a cup of tea, which I found was stale at the very least. And oh, from start till finish, the staff member displayed so little emotion that I could have mistook her for an android.

Enough moaning about the hotel’s shortcomings! I took off for Paddington Station, the main target for today being Windsor Castle. It took me a little while to check out the departures board and find a ticket machine, but by 9.30am I’m onboard and ready to roll!

The route from Paddington to Windsor was served by Great Western Railway, with diesel multiple units painted in their distinctive shade of green. The fare was £14.2 I believe. I can’t quite recall if it was for one way or return, but I bought return tickets, which was printed as 2 separate tickets. The journey includes a change at Slough, and takes around 40 minutes to complete.

“Windsor and Eton Central.” Here we are!

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Potato quality image.

There’s an old style locomotive on display just beyond the end of the tracks at the train station. Other than that, everything else was pretty much a blur as I was hemmed in by the crowds heading for the castle. But nevertheless, I give you Windsor Castle!

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Two words for it: Beautifully maintained. It is a inhabited royal residence after all. Security was tight, with armed officers standing guard at the gates, as well as airport-style screening and bag searches that was quite becoming the norm to me.

I planned my London Pass to use it as the admission ticket, but I did not exactly examine the specifics of the planning such a move would require. Thus, I bought the full fare adult ticket on site at £20.5 (Ouch!), but it was very well worth the money and my time.

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I’ll let the photos do the talking for a while. Weather was overcast on that day, so a lot of the photos didn’t come out exactly amazing, but the castle and its grounds were truly spectacular.

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As I was working my way up the battlements, I heard a distant ‘thump, thump, thump’ coming nearer with each passing second, guess what it was?

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I may have missed the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, but I sure as hell ain’t going to miss it a second time round!

It was a crush of people trying to get themselves a spot at the front to witness the action. I stood on a little raised spot just behind the crowds, high enough that if I tip my toes I could see over the swelling crowd. There was a poor gentleman, trying to shoo tourists out of the way of the guards’ path. “Over there sir, kindly stand over there. If you stand here the guards are going to march right over you!”

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With another thing off my bucket list, I ventured into the State Apartments and Queen Mary’s Dolls House. I didn’t find the doll house particularly interesting, but the rest of the castle held my attention for quite some time. No photos, sorry! Besides the fact that I don’t do photos of interior exhibits unless when allowed to, my phone had serious issues at this point as outlined in my previous post.

I spent around 4 hours at Windsor Castle, give or take a little. However, I must emphasize that it was time well spent, and I even got to try the “Windsor Castle Chocolate Diary Ice Cream” from a little truck by the souvenir shop in the castle. The ‘superior ice cream’ was supposedly ‘made with milk from cows in Windsor Great Park.’ I don’t know anything about that, but it did taste quite lovely, and the lady manning the stall was very pleasant. So if you happen to see her and have a bit of spare change, do go try it out! I bet it’s the only place that you’ll get to have ‘royal ice cream.’

On my way out, I spotted a crowd of people around one of the sentry boxes. Guess what? They were taking photos with the guard while he’s standing outside of his box. I’m not entirely sure if that’s what he was there for, but I do admire that he didn’t even move an inch or even a muscle on his face with all those tourists taking turns taking photos beside him.

And I suppose that I’m guilty of doing that as well…

As I arrived at the train station, the service back to Slough was just pulling away and I was like ‘Well… That’s an excuse to walk a bit around town then.’ I checked out a couple places in town to see if it was viable for me to have lunch there before heading back, as it was already past 2pm by then, but there wasn’t anything that really caught my eye.

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