Days 7 & 8 of Carlsson’s European Vacation
Windsor Castle sits on the outskirts of London and is one of two locations the Queen calls home. Since we skipped the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, we decided to tour Windsor Castle instead as it also has a guard ceremony. I’m not a huge planner when it comes to travel but I do like to research the places we visit so I have at least some clue of what to expect and what we’re seeing. A few websites recommended asking for a military discount but also noted that it wasn’t guaranteed. We decided to ask and were happily surprised when the receptionist waived the £90 entry fee for the four of us. Oddly enough, while we were on our grand tour of London, we happened upon a dropped wallet with four London Passes, £90 in cash and no ID. Melissa and I both agreed we should bring it back to the tour company in case the person came looking for it. So I feel like our integrity was awarded in free castle entrance.
The guard ceremony was a bit underwhelming, in my opinion. It was cold and rainy so I think they took pity on the red coats and made it a quick ceremony. According to a random tour guide (yes, I was eavesdropping), the coats were designed in red so that when the soldiers were stabbed or bleeding, you wouldn’t be able to tell. Additionally, the bearskin caps were meant to make them appear larger than life – another intimidation method against their enemies. Perhaps that worked for them, but I have to say they looked a bit comical to me. The pants were just a little too short and the boots reminded me of Ronald McDonald. Hopefully I won’t get kicked out of England for saying that!
The castle grounds were really pretty and I thought it was especially interesting that it is still a functioning castle where the Queen resides. We weren’t permitted to take photographs inside but it was rather overwhelming. The sheer size and quantity of rooms was astonishing and then you add in the artwork, dishware, furniture and decorations and it was just completely over the top. If you’re interested in learning more about Windsor Castle, here is the official website: http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/visit/windsorcastle
For their final day in England, we took the Carlsson’s to the Bury Saturday Market. We bought some delicious cheese, fresh produce and even got a meat pie for Dustin to eat. There was a small merry-go-round which Lena immediately ran to, much to Melissa’s delight. I felt nauseous just watching them spin around in the tea cup but they both seemed to be loving it. Hopefully for Lena, we’ll live close to the Carlssons in the future because if she plans to go on rides at the fair, Auntie Mel is probably the only one who will join her.
We took a quick walk down to the Abbey Gardens which were absolutely gorgeous with all the blooming flowers. We then decided to play paparazzi with each other and actually got some really beautiful pictures – I think they’re even frame worthy.
We let Lena run off some energy at the kid’s play area while the guys relaxed on the bench. These photos are both sweet and alarming as I think we all look like “parents.” I still like to pretend I’m young and cool but apparently, I’ve been tricking myself.
And so, it was time for our second “Final Supper.” Thankfully, we weren’t all on the verge of tears this time since we knew we’d be seeing each other sooner rather than later. Our final dinner before moving to England was an emotional roller coaster of tears, dancing and homemade pizza as we didn’t think we’d see each other again for a year. Obviously, that plan was far too ambitious and we only lasted six months before withdrawals set in and sent the Carlsson’s flying overseas.
Ducky and Mel, we love you guys to pieces and are so very thankful for your friendship. Lena adores you and we have such peace knowing that you will be there for her should anything ever happen to us. You’re the best fairy godparents in the world. Now hurry up and come visit us again!