I would just like to say that as much as I love Disney, they didn’t do right by castles. It’s not just Disney either, it’s all those children’s books and young adult fiction books that breezed over castles with an occasional hidden passage way sprinkled in. Because all of those fantasy castles were missing a crucial element of a real castle. Because a castle my friends, is supposed to be grand.
Walking along the castle grounds was nice, but it’s not until you walk inside that you start to understand how amazing it is. Rich carpets and drapery, magnificent paintings in frames and entire ceilings painted. Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Sir Anthony Van Dyck, Peter Paul Rubens… need I say more? Beautiful chandeliers, incredible craftsmanship in wood, marble, and metals, impressive decor using armor and weapons!
Not surprisingly, photography was not allowed inside the castle as was the case of most of the places I visited in the UK. It really is a pity that the only photos I have to post were taken under harsh daylight. Anyway, I felt a bit out-of-place when I went through the Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House exhibition as the entire place was chock full of children. How should I describe this doll house? Ah yes, I mentioned in a previous post how London added a dimension to my understanding of scale. Well, let’s just say that this idea also applies to Queen Mary’s Doll’s House. What do you do when a doll house is better than your own? I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue to rave in delight over the astonishing details, or to weep over the fact that I would never in a million years come close to living in such luxury even if I were to win the lottery! The miniature crown jewels supposedly have real diamonds in them; see my point?
Cute touch don’t you think? The gift shop had a plush corgi with that crown ornament on its head. It was pretty darn cute, but it was made out of some sort of foam. Otherwise I might have been tempted…
St George’s Chapel was beautiful of course, but what I remember about visiting St George’s Chapel was how I came to see the tomb of Henry the VIII. I went through the entire chapel and was about to leave when it occurred to me that I hadn’t seen the tomb of Henry the VIII. So I backtracked but couldn’t find him anywhere. So I asked a priest where I could see the tomb and he told me that I was standing on it! This was one of the strangest experiences I had in Europe. I don’t think I’ll ever get over the fact that I walked over the tomb of Henry the VIII. Now the whole tomb-under-the floor-inside-a-chapel concept was new to me to begin with, but the idea that I had just walked on someone’s grave -unthinkable in the States or Korea- I sort of stood there and gaped at the priest not sure quite what to do or say.
My round trip to Windsor Castle started and ended at Paddington Station. I didn’t realize it was the same Paddington as Paddington Bear until I caught a glimpse of a Paddington Bear store inside the station. I didn’t have time to take a look as I had a train to catch, but it was one of those moments where I realized that parts of London were in my childhood; I simply hadn’t recognized it back then. Apparently there is a statue of Paddington Bear that I missed as well; I cried a little on the inside. Another thing to add to my next-time-in-London list!