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London - Windsor

We enjoyed a breakfast buffet in the hotel and boarded the bus to drive just 20 miles west of London to Windsor for our morning tour of Windsor Castle.

Along the drive our guide Barry (a surprise replacement who we enjoyed yesterday!) shared more stories of British history and provided an overview of the Castle.

The grounds of the castle are beautiful. Barry coaxed our driver to avoid the rules and drop us off just a short walk from the entrance. On our way in Barry showed us a view of Eton College and shared some background on this historic place. We also noticed that the Queen's flag was flying over the castle - indicating that she, in fact, was in residence today!

Once inside we received self-guided headsets (of sorts) and we were able to enjoy the castle at our own pace. Spectacular can't even describe it!

From the Art Gallery to the China Gallery, up the Grand Staircase and into the Grand Vestibule... we made our way through all the the now-public areas of the Castle. Some highlights were the Waterloo Chamber, the Bed Chambers, Garter Throne Room, and St George's Hall (which will host the State dinner when the Inian Prime Minister visits).

A few of us even saw staff members walking the corgies! We learned about the fire and the restoration project, which was completed in 1997 (just 5 years after the fire) in time to commemorate the Queen's 50th wedding anniversary.

Just outside the main castle, we visited St. George's Chapel - where 10 British kings and 9 queens have been laid to rest. The choir room/area was especially beautiful.

The town of Windsor was very quaint and we wished we had more time to stroll the streets.


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First our morning started with an alarm - or a lack of one; as Mary Jane and Pat's room never received a wakeup call.  So everyone else was on the bus ready to go when they finally got a knock on the door.  What troopers they were, though!  In 15 minutes they were on the bus with everyone and not long after they were able to laugh at the 'chaos' of it all.

Our local guide Isabel was just delightful - and clearly has a love for her city.  She tells us that filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is from here as we begin our walk.

First we go through the old Jewish center.  Nearly all of the city's buildings are white-washed (originally by the women we hear).

We stop at an old Jewish synagogue and learn some history of the area.  Then we stop at the statue of a famous rabbi (can you name him?) which legend is that by rubbing his foot and then touching your own head you will get taller and wiser.  most of us did that - some hoping for extra height, others for a bit of wisdom!

Esther wo…