Tag Archives: tourist

A Real Castle and Lived in by Real Royalty

Friday – Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle from above

Windsor is a tourist town. Restaurants and souvenir shops line the narrow streets. The castle is spectacular. Built on a hill for good defense, Windsor castle is the summer and weekend home for the royal family.

We left the train and trudged up the winding road, looking up until our necks hurt. About half way we stopped for a snack of cheese, crackers and water.  Tourists flowed by in groups. May 31st and the tourist season appeared to be in full swing.

We passed a long queue of people waiting to buy their entry ticket. Once again our prepurchase on line meant we could almost walk right in. The ever present security check queue took only fifteen minutes. Times have changed.

The castle grounds are beautifully kept. The cobblestone roadway, although a little rough to walk on, added to the ancient atmosphere. I felt as if I were walking into a history book. Centuries of kings and queens have resided here, entertained here, made diplomatic decisions and treaties here. We toured what was called the queen’s apartments. The elaborate halls and smaller rooms are used today for formal meetings of state etc. but are not part of the Queen’s actual home. We did see the room where her official 90th birthday party was held. We did see what had been the actual formal bedroom of king   Charles II .  His going to bed and rising was a formal affair attended by close and important people.

King Charles II Bedroom. Check out the ceiling. 

The rooms were elaborate.

We followed a self-guided audio tour which meant we could move along at our own pace. There were a number of stairs so we had special guides for the handicapped take us up and down in the tiniest of old elevators. There was just room for Tom and I inside. Needless to say, I said a prayer before I entered.

When the tour was over we enjoyed a very late lunch in one of the local pubs. We returned to the castle chapel for a 5:00 p.m. prayer service. This time there was no security check. We had access through one castle gate that led right to the chapel. This service was freely open to local residents and any tourists that were interested. Once again we sat in the “Quire”. The chapel was a small version of Westminister Abbey. There was no choir present, no hymns sung and no pomp and circumstance. We could hear but not see the priest who led us through a twenty minute service of prayers and scripture.

King George’s Chapel

The service over we followed the smallish crowd back out through the castle gate and joined those who were shopping. We wandered up and down the streets checking out some of the stores. We had already bought our souvenir tour book in the castle shop so were only looking. At this point we were tired. It is amazing how exhausting being a tourist can be.

We walked back down the hill to the train. On the trip home, I napped a bit and enjoyed the few minutes of country scenery. By the time we had returned to our Air B&B in the docklands it was after nine. We had a great visit with our hostess Sara and crawled wearily into bed.

Just two more days and our holiday would end. Where were the angels today. Well certainly the two women who cheerfully stuffed us into the tiny elevator had been very helpful and friendly. Mostly Tom and I had been our own angels for each other. This was definitely a day for us together. At times it felt like we were alone in our own little world in the midst of a crowd. We enjoy each other and walking in history so we had a grand day.

Wednesday Feb. 23 Lesedi Cultural Village

At the entrance we were greeted with a group who sang and danced as they extended a warm welcome to us.

Today we were tourists and we had a grand time. After our trip to Klip Town Youth Program, where we experienced real life in today’s South Africa, we thought it would be good to experience some of South Africa’s history.

Lesedi Cultural Village is located in the heart of the African bushveld amidst the rocky hills within the Cradle of Humankind, a World Heritage Site. We visited five traditional homesteads inhabited by Zulu, Xhosa, Pedi, Basotho and Ndebele tribes who live according to the tribal folklore and traditions of their ancestors. Lesedi means “Place of  Light”. I struggled to receive the everflowing fountain of information that was offered because my hearing was defeated by the speed of speech and the lilting accent. I heard enough to learn a little, and there was lots to see. And then there was the dancing. The young people of the village were energetic and skillful dancers. Tom and I thoroughly enjoyed the show, the lunch and the overall experience..

Like good tourists we shopped. At this point we are familiar with the items that are every where and the ones that are made by artists. The selection at Lesedi Village was excellent. We purchased a number of gifts for family and even something for ourselves. We made the shopkeeper so happy that she gave us a zebra key ring.

We had a successful day. Dave picked us up and brought us home. This time it was our job to get supper. Tom and I had a grand time making pasta, salad and garlic bread. Two teens from the Ethiopia International School arrived today for a Music Program event  at the school here. They are friends of Jenna’s and are staying here with Dave, Jo and Jenna til Sunday.  It felt a little like preparing for family gatherings at home.

Tomorrow we pack and leave for the airport at three. It will be good to get home, and yet it is hard to leave. South Africa is amazing. There’s so much more to see. Our time with Dave, Joanne and Jenna has been precious. We will return for Jenna’s grade twelve graduation. They will be home come summer. That helps so much.

You can pick out the Joys that lit up my life today. One not mentioned, of course, is that we are both feeling much better.

Here are some pictures of Lesedi. During our visit we have taken several videos. I don’t know how to upload them. Guess you’ll just have to come visit us to see them.

Greeters
Entertainment Center

 

Special Firepit – Cross means they build fire on the side that is sheltered from the wind.

 

Garden

 

House with low door is much safer from invasion. Warrior has to put his head in first, risking the inhabitants chopping it off.

 

A Tasty Treat that all of us declined.

 

Entrance to Zulu Village

 

Sacred Ring – When you go on a journey, pick up a stone from outside the ring, spit on it, and throw it into the circle asking for a safe journey. We all did it.

 

Heaps of Shopping