Sunday, 23 July 2017

Meeting up with Ben this morning at 11:30 in Windsor – just west of London.

I’ve met with Ben several times since I’ve started traveling. I originally met him through his sister a few years ago and we enjoy getting caught up when I’m in the London area. He is now working in the Windsor area so a good excuse to see Windsor Castle again.

To get to Windsor I took the underground to Paddington Station and from there I took the overground national rail to Slough, then changed to a spur line train that services the Windsor / Eton area.

Today, given my experiences of yesterday, I left early to ensure I didn’t feel I was rushed. I did a funny thing by forgetting which stop to transfer to get me to Paddington, so I had to go back up to where I could get a cell signal again. Glad I had the extra time. When I got to Paddington was able to get the correct ticket from the machine (sometimes not so easy) and quickly found the track that had the train for Slough / Windsor with 15 minutes to spare!

We agreed on a meeting point in Windsor then walked to a coffee shop where we could talk. I suggested a place away from other visitors and he found the perfect spot. I disclosed that I wanted to walk the length of the Long Walk after our visit.

Ben has extensive travel experience and is interested in my travels. Of course we talked about a wide-range of topics as well and I learned about his new job. After about 2+ hours I think we were both ready to move on. He to enjoy his weekend and me to walk the Long Walk. Ben escorted me to the starting point of the Long Walk.

The Long Walk: “The most well-know image of Windsor Great Park is arguably the iconic view down the Long Walk, towards Windsor Castle at the far end. This tree-lined avenue stretches down towards the ancient fortress, illustrating the regal grandeur and Royal heritage of Windsor Great Park.” The Queen, when heads of state visit, uses this road to enter Windsor Castle. I took a couple of pictures that show what these visitors see as they approach the castle. If they stay overnight, they are put into the rooms above the archway that leads into the main castle courtyard.

The walk is nearly 3 miles and extends from Windsor Castle (the formal entrance) to the copper statue of King George III. I had forgotten that the very large statue of King George III on his horse was at the far end – to me, from a distance, it looked like a very odd tree and wasn’t until I got closer did I realize what it was.

Windsor Castle is next to the town of Windsor. (See below.)

Entrance to Windsor Castle from The Long Walk

Being Sunday, there were a number of families, couples, and people with their dogs. As I got further away from the castle the number of people decreased to the point that there was just a few of us along the road. The last segment of the walk goes through the Deer Park, which is home to around 500 Red Deer who roam freely in the enclosed area. The Great Park is around 5,000 acres.

Statue of King George III 

I made it to the end of the walk then turned around for the walk back. Then I had a dilemma. I felt the need to find a restroom. But where? There was nothing available from one end of the walk to the other except for a house which I suspect was for a park ranger. I couldn’t see me walking up to their door to ask to use their bathroom. ¬†Being from a small town I had no problem with going outdoors – though on the Queen’s estate and not knowing where the security cameras were located, I decided to find a tree in a discreet location. After I took care of business I was able to enjoy the rest of the walk.

View of Windsor Castle from the King George III Statue

About 500 yards from the end I saw a pub to my left that looked inviting. I was getting hungry and place to sit down for a rest. Think it was the pub’s name that got my attention.

The Windsor Castle Pub

When I saw the menu I knew what I wanted. A good Sunday Roast with Yorkshire Pudding and all the trimmings. The pub was filled with locals which made it all the better – to see them enjoying the company of their friends and family.

After I finished my walk I spoke with some people who were waiting at the gate. From what I understand, the Queen will be moving to the castle while Buckingham Palace is being renovated. Think we were all looking for any movement from the castle. All we saw was a guard marching back and forth.

Just as I was walking toward the train station, I needed to find a restroom. (Yes, again!) Guess the beer I had at the pub was the culprit. I thought a cup of tea was a good idea so I stopped in a restaurant and ordered a tea and used their restroom. Had a talk with the guy working behind the bar about life in Windsor.

Again I forget which train station would take me back to Slough and ended up at the wrong station. I did this back in December too. A good way to see more of Windsor I figured. (There are two rail stations in Windsor.) I found the correct station 10 minutes before the train to Slough arrived.

View of Windsor Castle from a Windsor Town Park

The ride to Slough takes about 10 minutes and the ride from Slough to London is about 30 or so minutes – maybe less. Made all of the underground connections back to Holland Park and was at the hotel in less than 20 minutes.

Tomorrow, Viktor and I will meet for one last time before I travel from London to Bath. Also, I made arrangements to Paula on Tuesday.





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