Castle Day

Trip Start Jul 20, 2014
Trip End Aug 05, 2014

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I got up at 7:15 and Larry at 7:30.  We got ready and went for another great breakfast at the hotel.  We were ready and downstairs at 8:45 where we said goodbye to Nancy who is going home.  We got in our hired cars.  We were with Amy, Pam, and Ann.  Mark and Nancy got in with us and we dropped them at Heathrow Airport.  Then we headed to Windsor Castle with Nigel our driver giving us the rundown on everything we saw on the way.  He dropped us off at the Castle and we made our way to the quick line for people with the London Pass.  We picked up headsets and joined a narrated tour just beginning.  We didn't stay with the tour guide very long.  She was not very personable so we took the opportunity to leave and went to the changing of the guard.  This ceremony took half an hour.  When it was over we went to finish the tour and the line for Mary's Dollhouse was really long so we went to see just the apartments.  It took us the rest of the time just to see those.  They told us about the fire in 1992 and how it was all restored. 

We got back to our car about 12:30 and Nigel drove us to The Bel and Dragon a Tea Room for lunch.  It took forever to get our food.  Larry got Shepherd's Pie made with duck and loved it.  I got a chicken and avocado sandwich.  When we finished lunch we drove to Highclere Castle where Downton Abbey is filmed.  As we came within site of the castle Nigel played the theme from Downton Abbey on the CD player.  We took pictures as we entered the front door because we couldn't take pictures inside.  We started our tour in the library and moved around through most of the rooms on the first floor: the music room and the drawing room.  We saw rooms where they didn't film like the smoking room and the morning room which was very pretty but too small to film in.  We saw the bedrooms upstairs and then went downstairs on the Grand Staircase to the Grand Saloon which is a huge room featured a lot in the series.  Our last room in the house was the dining room which looked smaller than on the series because there is a screen that covers up most of one end of it.

Next we went to the Egypt Exhibition.  The 8th Earl and Lady Carnarvon who own Highclere Castle have had their home open to the public since 1989.  They actually live in another house on the very large estate with their children.  The 5th Earl of Carnarvon got interested in Egyptology and was actually the one who discover with his colleage Howard Carter, the Tomb of Tutankhamun.  So there are lots of artifacts and information on exhibit in the basement of the house.  After that exhibit we went out the back door to the Stable Yard with a Tea Room and Gift Shop but it was very small and very crowded.  We decided to walk the grounds and go to the gardens.  We went through the Monk's Garden with its arched shrubbery, the Walled Garden, the Secret Garden which was an especially nice cottage garden and the Wood of Goodwill.  We ran into Charlie and Karen while in the Secret Garden.  We visited the "loo" and then walked back to the car park. 

We talked and slept on the hour and a half ride back to our hotel.  When we got back we talked with Jane and Debbie and the four of us headed to the Red Lion Pub for supper.  Our daughter, Erin, had recommended it to us.  Jane got fish and chips, Debbie got a cauliflower and cheddar pie, Larry got a steak and ale pie, and I got a sausage and apple pie.  These are savory pies, not sweet ones.  They came with mashed potatoes, cooked Chinese cabbage and lot of really good gravy.  We thought it was the thing to get as the pub advertised  as an Ale and Pies Pub.  Larry got a Fuller's ESB beer and Debbie got a Fuller's London Pride.

When we got back to the room we skyped with Derek for a little while, wrote the blog, packed for an early start tomorrow and went to bed. 
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Toni Koontz on

Such a neat trip. When the new season starts I will picture you there- drifting about in those elegant rooms. LOL

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