on castles, class, and feeling like first class: a day in Windsor.

When I was a little girl, I dreamed of castles. Not in the typical princess variety, but of the dark corners, thick stone, and applied protection behind it’s walls. Libraries, kitchens, and velvet tapestries invaded my mind. Maybe a knight or two entered my imagination, but I was never interested in Princes. I was reminded of this on our visit to Windsor. 20140525-042802-16082703.jpg Stroking through cobblestone streets, you could see the small town centre was scrubbed clean for tourists. An elitism filled the air, displayed in part by bartenders and pub owners, but also just as if we were literally breathing something not fit for common man. 20140525-043221-16341957.jpg Even vintage churches had a different class to them. 20140525-043338-16418710.jpg After a nice pub lunch , the sommelier, his family, and I walked down to the Thames, where he bribed swimming birds for our niece, Lily. The swans in the UK are now so plentiful; in Windsor it is no longer appropriate to consume, as they did in days of The Tudors. 20140525-044027-16827629.jpg We hopped on a double decker bus to see the town, mostly to save time, but also because secretly, I am a history nerd, and needed an audio tour. 20140525-044457-17097787.jpg Passing through the small city, we heard unique insight into the upper classes of England: where the princes went to college (high school), where they played football (soccer), and where daughters of duchesses go to ballet lessons. While Eton College was very grand and distinguished, my thoughts questioned the daily uniforms of ducktails and white bowties. It seemed a bit excessive until I learned they rid the “standard uniform of top hats in the 1940s.” 20140525-045032-17432170.jpg Nothing like being reminded of your insignificance in this world then seeing the looks of some of these teenagers, as you past by them on a tour bus, with your Nikon stuck to your eye. Pretty leveling. Yet, their pubs were built in the 1500s, and a statue of the queen stands in town centre, so you know… maybe wisdom is being passed through ancient walls. 20140525-045549-17749640.jpg A drive through the countryside led us past farm houses and rows of grains. The English country is exactly as I remember, with rolling green hills, sheep herds, and dairy cows. 20140525-051113-18673520.jpg After spectacular views of Windsor castle, we headed back to town. Standard black cab souvenirs and royal postcards aside, we made our way back to Reading via train with the other tourists. 20140525-051235-18755807.jpg Our time in England was coming to a close, and to celebrate our short visit, my brother-in-law roasted a lamb, complete with Yorkshire pudding and bitters. Amazingly delicious. Now this was first class. 20140525-050137-18097255.jpg The sommelier and I said our goodbyes to very loved and missed family, packed our bags, and fell asleep early to catch our flight home… but not first with a layover in Istanbul… more to come…tomorrow. Cheers.