Audi, Bath, Bentley, England, Food, Hot Springs, Investiture, Jane Austen, London, Queen in Residence, Roman Baths, Sen Viet, Stonehenge, Student, Study Abroad, Thermal Pool, Travel, Urswick Chantry, WIndsor, Windsor Castle
Today was a bit of an early start I apparently set my alarm for 6am instead of 6:30am. So I promptly woke up at 6, got half dressed in my attire for the day and went back to sleep until 6:50. Since we had planned ahead the day before and gotten food for breakfast and lunch all we had to do was dress, brush our teeth and get out the door to the Victoria coach station. We made it probably half an hour early, enough time to grab a coffee and relax before taking off.
After leaving the coach station we drove through the Belgravia area, the most exclusive area in the country apparently. Grovener garden was made in the French style to celebrate good relations with France, with sea shells from Normandy beach on the sheds. On another note made my our tour guide; Buckingham palace is know as the “office” while Windsor is the “home” to current queen. Makes sense when she is only really here in London for official events.
We passed Harrods in Knightsbridge area. So that tells you just how exclusive it really is here. The trees most plentiful in central London are the Plain trees. In Victorian times it was important since the bark would absorb pollution and peel off reportedly. Thus irreplaceable in the times of heavy industry.
We also passed the Cromwell hospital where George Best (football player from Northern Ireland) died (Iron Lady: movie about Margaret Thatcher random note by our tourguide was that she stepped into the hospital and then left). Interesting to me because we discussed George Best as we flew into George Best City Airport in Belfast. He was one of the few people that the Northern Ireland people could agree on to name their airport after.
The building built in the shape of a ship; funny story actually had problems with flooding as we were told by our tour guide. As we left the station our guide was telling us all about buildings. We passed Fullers brewery, lager and beer usually mean two different things (which I don’t know anything about) to bars. British “beer” is ale or bitters versus American beer.
Windsor castle is the largest continuously inhabited castle in the world. The royal family had a Germanic name but changed it during the war between England and Germany to Windsor. The Round Tower protected the entrance to the middle ward. In the chapel the ceiling itself is richly decorated, with a mirror in the center of the back so that you can see the decoration on the ceiling easily. The chapel is still a place of worship and historical importance. The Urswick Chantry a monument to princess Charlotte. She was the only child of George the 4th and it is quite beautiful, especially the stained glass above the stone monument.
An important note is that had the princess survived the royal family would have been different than it is now as it passed to her cousin. In the chapel is the burial place of The Queen’s father and the queen mother. The queen mother survived her husband by 50 years.The little medieval door made towards the end of the 15th century had a spy grill, door handle, and the bottom is a lock. Next up was the Quire, housing the altar, a beautiful wood window and beautiful woodwork and banners of current knights and crests (the half drawn swords representing their ability to defend their sovereign at any time). Any bare heads may mean a knight has died and wasn’t replaced or it could just be an extra one. Churchill was a knight as it turns out.
A replica sword standing at 9 feet!! The Gilebertus door was a double door that was red and had lovely metalwork with the name stamped on the door three times into the metal.
Trained soldiers also stand guard here like at Buckingham palace. We were at Windsor during Investiture in which people in military service and even possibly some knights received medals. That was why we couldn’t go into the state rooms unfortunately; but on the other hand had we been able to we wouldn’t have had time for much else!
Side note: we saw three nice Audi’s (Z’s and the likes) on the way to Bath from Windsor castle.
The Romans built a bath around the spring and named it after Minerva. It’s a ruin today, 16-18 feet below surface level now. The Saxons were the next set of invaders, whose main source of income was the wool trade. A prominent woman came to the baths to be cured of her ailment and thus started the tradition of Bath as a hospital tourism spot.
Jane Austen lived here in Bath for a time just to mention one influential person. Now the jobs are from the council, tourism, software and university posts. The big circle in town is the circumference of Stonehenge, of 33 houses rumored that Johnny Depp lives in there. Queens square main building facade was built to look like a palace, with the two side buildings to look like more of the palace.
At the baths themselves, water bubbles up at the rate of 1.7million liters a day at a warm 46 degrees Celsius. The carved face and column came from Roman and Celtic carvings melded together. The head has been known as the Gorgon’s head, in particular because of the snakes woven into the hair. However the face is of a man’s and can’t be the gorgon. Another interpretation was that the head was that of Neptune’s. Roman curse tablets from Bath are inscribed on the memory of the work UK register (a UNESCO preserved collection).
Stonehenge is agreed to be a place of ancestral worship in most cases. Stonehenge was built in stages around 3000-2200 BC. The late Neolithic people of Britain built it. The tallest stones stand 7 meters high plus two more meters underground. As it is Stonehenge isn’t even fully excavated at this point; turns out it’s about half excavated.
Definitely saw at least 12 Bentley cars by the time we got to Victoria station back in London (as well as a lovely neon green Lambo).
After taking the tube almost back we went to Sen Viet for some delish Vietnamese food. Our orders were BBQ Chicken (26a) & Prawn and Pork Salad (4c), a cup of English tea each, and then for dessert we split the mango spring rolls! The perfect dinner with just right proportions!