Windsor Castle and London from Above

Frieeenddsss,

I’m too excited. Let’s just get down to do it.

I visited another castle. I know, I know. I have an obsession, it’s too much, I go to too many castles. But guys!

The views. Ya know I’m all about those views.

I’m a fan of countryside views from castles like this. Windsor Castle, located outside London by an hour via the train, is one of the many royal residences of the English and British royalty, and was built in the 11th century after the Norman invasion. Fun fact, Windsor is the longest occupied palace in Europe. Can we get a fist pump for actually being there?

I couldn’t find a spot to get a full picture view of the entire castle so here’s a Google image to get you in the mood.

This was definitely one of my favorite palace in England. Known for its incredible Gothic inspired architecture, Windsor’s exterior and interior was and is gorgeous. I had the great opportunity of touring the interior state apartments, but unfortunately was not allowed to photograph them.

Side story: After being told that photography was not allowed within the state apartments, two middle aged tourists pulled out their fancy Nikon cameras anyway and starting snapping away. Security several times told them to stop but the two continued anyway. Friends, I want to be clear here: Unallowed photography is done for a reason. Try to follow the rules in a foreign country. The most uncool thing to happen in your life will to be kicked out of a castle. That’s a no.

Anyway, although I couldn’t take interior photos of the state apartments or the chapel (which was also gorgeous), here’s some photos of the outer buildings.

Windsor is the best in all of England that I’ve visited (that’s an opionion before you start to cry). Not only is it known for its beauitful architecture, it’s a location in England that is not as touristy. Yes, people do come to visit, but I really appreciated the fact that there wasn’t a Disney world feel. Props to Windsor Castle staff for keeping it classy.

What else is new? Oh nothing…just DRINKS AT THE SHARD?

Guys, what is this? What is this nice fruity drink in my hand and what city is this really?

Friends, welcome to the Shard of Glass or formerly the London Bridge Tower. An 87-story skyscraper, the Shard was built in March 2009 and finished and inaugurated in 2012. The view was open to the public the spring after in February 2013, and included many restaurants and bars within the building.

I was so excited to do this. I really was, I asked everyone if they wanted to go. Whenever I go back to London, friends, seriously, call me and we’ll all go to the Shard together.

But anyway, since the Shard is this goregous tall glass structure, of course it’s not going to be free to go up to the top. BUT it is free to go to middle of the Shard where the bars and restaurant are and see the gorgeous view from there (as long as you buy a beverage.)

Warning: There is a dress code. “Casual smart” they call it. Well unlucky for your beautiful Ariana, I was unaware of the dress code when I walked into the restaurant of the Shard wearing Birkenstocks (which aren’t too casual smart).

“You can’t come in,” said the classy British man.

Are you kidding me? What am I supposed to do, go buy shoes?

I did do that. I bought shoes. On sale of course, only 10 pounds, but that was 10 pounds I did not want to spend. These people and their dress codes, I swear. I marched back to that Shard with my nice shoes and head held high. I refused to feel inferior, American that I was.

I walked into that Shard, pushed past those British security (after being allowed to go through of course because manners), got a drink and looked out the window at this beauty.

Honestly, for those who live in Seattle, it’s basically the Space Needle, but with more bars. And people with accents. But I was utterly in awe. Anything from a great height just seems better, don’t you think?

Which is why, friends, I bring to you…

The Monument.

Formerly known as the Monument to the Great Fire of London, this beautiful column stands near the northern end of the London Bridge and commemorates nothing other than the Great Fire of London that occured in 1666. The column consists of 311 steps in a long winding staircase, that I climbed.

Look friends, I’m fit and everything and walking around London is vigorous, but walking those 311 steps up to the top was rough. But views.

Always the views.

I see you notice that mesh case block your view of London and you’re wondering, “Ariana, why is that there?”

Well my friends, although a hindrance to photography, I’m glad it’s up there. It’s a safety precaution that was added in the mid 19th century after 6 people jumped off the top in the middle of the 18th century. Suicide’s not cool folks. What is cool is preventing people from falling off the top or jumping off the top. And windy as it is, I know for myself, falling could be an issue.

But anyway, I thought it was incredible that I had the opportunity to see two views of London from above. Heights are great guys.

This has been one of my last weeks  in London, and the adventures have been great my friends. I’ll do a last wrap up in a last post getting all sentimental about this trip, but I need to just prep you all for the feels that may occur. There also may or may not be a fun story for you all to hear.

Until next time!

-Ariana🙂