21st Century
The Future
World Travel
Books & Film
Original Fiction
Opinion & Lifestyle
Politics & Living
Film Space
Movies in depth
Kid's Books
Reviews & stories

The International Writers Magazine:UK Travel

Off to Windsor to visit the Queen
Marianne de Nazareth

"Come on over to London and see Windsor Castle," offered my friends Wendy and Yvonne who live in Windsor, UK and were old school friends, back in India. So taking the National Express coach out of Swansea I decided to take the weekend off my final dissertation writing and visit the Queen!

It’s lovely traveling in the UK during the summer as the trees are covered with fresh green foliage and there are flowers everywhere which make the trip delightful for nature lovers. Looking out of the window for most of the 5 hour journey into London, Victoria, I reveled in the hedges covered with pristine white Hawthorn which we as kids back in India only read about in Enid Blyton’s Famous Five or Secret Seven series. There were also huge swathes of golden yellow rapeseed, which interspersed the green and brown view, with sudden bursts of colour. The lady in the seat next to me was very pleased to educate me on the various plants and trees that we passed pointing out the Horse Chestnut trees which were all in bloom. I was interested in those, as again in Blyton’s books she talked about the game of ‘Conkers’ which is played with the seed of the tree. "Those are not native to the UK and have been brought in from North America. The Oak, Poplars, Birches and Beech trees are native to the UK," she explained smiling and nodding all at once.

The five hour journey sped by in a jiffy and soon I was out at the Victoria coach station with my little overnight case.
"Why don’t you take a walk to Westminister Cathedral," advised Yvonne on my mobile phone. " I will come in after 6:30 as I would like to avoid the congestion on London’s roads which is at it’s peak after 5pm."

That was wonderful advice, ‘cause in no time I was trundling my case after a friendly Polish lady who was also going to the cathedral, to attend service there. Do try and be present for Mass at the Cathedral and if you are a music lover, you can sit back in the pews and let the wonderful soprano voices of the boy’s choir wash over you. There is nothing more uplifting than listening to their perfect voices hit the top notes like clear little bells.

The exterior of the Cathedral took me by surprise as it does not look like a traditional British church, but looked very like the unusual bi-colour Byzantine buildings I saw while I was in Amsterdam, domes and all. However the stained glass inside are spectacular and it’s amazing to find this haven of peace in bustling London.

Soon it was 6:30 and I was whisked off to Windsor by Yvonne and Wendy. "There’s going to be a royal wedding at Windsor Castle tomorrow," explained Yvonne, " so they will not allow us in to look at the insides I am sure," she said.

Lucky for us inspite of rain being predicted in the weather report, we just had a cloudy morning to enjoy wandering around Windsor. We first walked down to the palace complex and as we passed the Registry office, Yvonne explained that, that was where Prince Charles and Camilla got married. A little further we came upon cross roads where there was a very unflattering statue of Queeen Victoria. All frumpy and in black lace something like the huge statue in Kolkata near the gorgeous Victoria Memorial which is the pride of Kolkata, in India. There too she is sitting very grumpy and very overweight, all in black! However we have a beautiful statue of her carved in white marble in Bangalore, India, where she stands regally looking down the prime artery of the city – MG Road. All colonial legacies which remain undamaged, decades after independence.

The castle was enormous and crowds congregated around enjoying the tourist attractions on display. There were ladies all dressed in old world British costumes while tourists stood between them having their pictures taken. There was even a group of men dancing a vigorous traditional dance, clacking sticks and hopping around to music played on a piano accordion. We walked around the castle which had the flag flying on the flag pole, stating the queen was in residence. The gates were shut and posse’s of policemen stood around, probably all set for the royal guests who would arrive later that evening. Interesting to see how people here in the UK are so very fond of their royalty.

On a bridge spanning the Thames behind the castle we wandered through an open air European market with sausages from Portugal and cheese from Holland along with trinkets that looked suspiciously Indian, but from Turkey on sale! I had never tasted honey coated cashew nuts, so we had to buy a bag to try!

We were getting hungry with all the walking around, so we very willingly let our noses lead us into a restaurant selling fresh fish and chips. While we sat enjoying our food we wondered what the Queen must be eating inside the castle, that we could see through the thick window panes in-front of us.

© Marianne de Nazareth June 2008

More Travel


© Hackwriters 1999-2008 all rights reserved - all comments are the writers' own responsibility - no liability accepted by or affiliates.