London: The Embankment & Windsor Castle

London seems less intense somehow than New York but both are in the top 10 of any “World’s Greatest Cities” list. Yesterday I was in London and jetlagged!

I dropped my bags at the hotel (motel?) and since my room wouldn’t be ready for hours, layered up (it was in the upper 50s but WINDY!), topped off my “Oyster” card for the Tube (subway to Yanks) and headed off to Oxford Circus/Regent Street and Uniqlo (because there’s not one near me). After perusing all five floors and supporting the London economy, I headed over to the Embankment which stretches for miles along the Thames and encompasses the Tower Bridge and Tower of London, the Shard, the London Bridge, Millenium Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tate Museum, Shakespeare Globe Theatre, the London Eye, and Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. I walked from St. Paul’s to the London Eye, because it was a rare beautiful clear day and taking some sunset photos seemed like a good idea…which it was. (Though i should have planned better and gone to the Tate first, but I blame jetlag!). The sun stayed out and just as we were at the peak of the Eye, the sun set which was nice. It wasn’t a spectacular sunset, it had been too windy, but it was decent.

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Today I went out to Windsor Castle, which I hadn’t seen. My good friend Google Maps directed me to the proper train station and I arrived around lunch time. Windsor is the Queen of England’s residence and she spends quite a lot of time there. It looks like a proper castle should, with turrets, a defunct moat, battlements, a keep and huge public rooms for state dinners and such. There’s also a beautiful church from about the 1400-1500s, with amazing carvings. No photos though were allowed inside the church or state rooms (I bought postcards of those areas). The room where the armaments were located had beautiful geometric displays of guns, rifles, and swords, plus armor. (Yes, Henry the 8th was a tall and rotund guy judging by the size of his armor!).

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After I finished my tour I walked through the city of Windsor, or at least the streets outside the castle and took the train back to London. There aren’t many castles in the USA, so it’s always fun to see some in Europe.

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