Friday, March 04, 2005

London, Windsor, England

Wow, well today was crazy. I mean nuts. The sleeper in the train to Paris went really well. It was a lot more comfortable than I thought it would be and I got a ton of rest. :) The train got into Paris a bit before 7 and then we transfered onto the Eurostar train and that left just a bit after 8. The ride on it was sweet. The Eurostar was just incredibly fast and we made it to London in just over two hours. Going through the Chunnel was not nearly as cool as I thought it would be, but oh well. Got into London at like 9:45, their time, which is one out back of the rest of Europe. Then we caught a metro train out to a station to pick up some train tickets for later in the day and then caught another metro over to the bus stop that we needed. We got on a bus and headed off for Windsor castle- or so I thought. We rode the bus, it was a double-decker and we rode in the very front of the top so it was like we were driving but had no control. It was very fun! :P As we went along, I realized that the ride was taking a lot longer than anticipated so I finally contacted the driver and he was nice and told me that we had missed the stop and needed to get on another bus back the other way. So, we did and then still couldn't find our stop, so we ended up getting off at a stop that we thought was close to Windsor Castle but then got confused. And who happened to stop by at that moment but the friendly bus driver from the first route. He informed us that we were somewhat close and gave us directions to walk to it. So we did and as we did a huge storm blew through and dropped hail and a ton of rain on us and our luggage which wasn't all too fun, but we made it okay. We were walking through residential streets with nowhere public to go inside at all, so it was a bummer. :-/ So, a little soaked and cold we finally found where the bus driver told us to go. Except we didn't see a castle anywhere. We stopped by a gas station and asked the Indian guy there for directions to the castle and he was just completely confused and I made a fool of myself. I then pulled out my Lets Go travel guide and made the stunning realization that we were absolutely nowhere close to Windsor Castle- in fact what we had found was a big pub called The Windsor Castle! I felt like such an idiot! I had searched the London bus lines for a line to Windsor Castle and I guess they thought I meant the pub and they sent us out to the middle of nowhere-land-London to a pub! It was so confusing though because the stops blantantly said "Windsor Castle". To me that implies a castle, not a pub. Oh well, I guess I'm just a stupid American tourist. :P So, that was depressing so we stopped into the pub, which was extremely cool. It had a lot of character to it and we got some lunch there around 2:30. It was this British dish with sausage, onion, breadish-stuff and "pudding". It was so incredibly good! Oh man. :D So, "Windsor Castle" wasn't an entire loss, but I am sad I didn't get to go inside the real thing today. Anyhow, we finally found our way by bus and metro back into the heart of London and then wanted to finally catch the correct bus out to Windsor at 4:30. Ended up that our bus got in an accident in the city and wasn't going to show up. :-/ So instead, we waited in the bus station from 4-5:30 and got on that bus which finally got out to Windsor a little before 7. We got to briefly see the outside walls of the Windsor Castle which was neat and the Queen was in, so the flag was flying too. :) Windsor looked like a really fun town too- it was really small and clean and neat to see; its a shame we only had less than an hour to blow through it. Our next train left to Oxford at 7:55 and we made that and it was very, very slow and showed up in Oxford 30 minutes behind what it was supposed to, which was like 9:30 or something. Thankfully, the hostel we're staying in is right by the train station, so we found this is no time and were ready to get to bed right away. Liz, however got hungry because we didn't have dinner, so we ended up having a nice little dinner of peanuts and water in the hallway just a bit ago. :P It was cool and we parted ways around 11:15. Came back to my dorm room here and theres five other guys and they're all cool. One from Spain, one from Texas, one from Austrailia, one from Germany, and one from Britain, and then me. It's a great mix and they all speak some English, which is awesome! I just had the best time chatting with them about stuff in their countries- it was very cool. :) I think I've had enough now though, and I'll get to bed.

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