Got up this morning at about 7:00 with very little sleep! We were taking a bus tour today and going to Windsor Castle, Oxford, and Stonehenge. Luckily, the rides between each location were about an hour each time, so I took mini-naps when I could. Windsor Castle is the largest inhabited castle in the world, and it is the Queen’s place of residence. The part I was most interested in was the room that had Mary’s Dollhouse. It was so impressive – if only I had been allowed to take a picture! The queen’s cousin had wanted to give her a gift, and Mary apparently liked all things miniature, so a dollhouse was the ideal gift. Artisans from all over the country contributed to it. Painters gave miniature versions of their work for the house, people donated miniature books, and the plates in the house are pure silver. My favorite part is that the house is fully equipped with working electricity and plumbing! The rest of Windsor Castle was great to walk through as well, all the rooms elaborately and ornately decorated.
Oxford is the oldest university in the English-speaking world. Many areas of the college were used to film parts of Harry Potter. Oxford was also the place of many executions ordered by Queen Mary Tudor (Bloody Mary) in the 1550s. (The rhyme ‘Mary Mary quite contrary, How does your garden grow? is based on this queen. The ‘garden’ is supposedly meant to reference a cemetery). There is now a statue to honor those victims, called the Martyrs’ Memorial. Our tour guide explained how many common phrases we use today came from this period in time. For example, she said that many people of the time would come out to to watch people being hanged, and it was an all-day event with lots of drinking. The next day, they wouldn’t be feeling well because of all the alcohol from the day before. Our tour guide told us that is where the word “hangover” found its origins. The phrase “toe the line” also originates in this period, because the execution spot was marked in chalk on the ground, and those being executed were told to put their toe on that spot so all would go as planned.
Last stop- Stonehenge! Very cool to see in real life. It had been raining on and off all day, and luckily, it didn’t rain at all while we were at Stonehenge. It is incredible to think about how and why those rocks all came to be, 5,000 years ago.
When we got back into central London, we stopped at the first restaurant we found for dinner. I tried a traditional English breakfast, with scrambled eggs, mushrooms, beans, roasted tomatoes, and hash browns. Filled me up!
A major high note – I managed to get tickets to the women’s soccer gold medal match on Thursday night! Crossing my fingers for USA to be playing