Windsor and Eton

I set off to Windsor at 12.30 pm after lunch. The plan was to take South Eastern Railways from Waterloo to Windsor and Eton riverside. After some initial confusion I figured out the stations and the complex ticket pricing. Surprisingly the same day return ticket was only 7.8 pounds, which I thought was cheap by UK standards.

I wasn’t sure if the train had restrooms so I thought I will pay a visit before I boarded. Found the restroom which had a 20p use fee. And Waterloo is supposed to be an international station! Something told me that I didn’t have much change with me and rummaging in the wallet confirmed that. Ran to the ticket office and purchased the ticket and got the required change.

At the restroom gate, I put the coin in the slot and got totally confused if the rotating bar was unlocked or not, so I pushed it gently to test it. It was unlocked all right, but my slight push caused it to make a whole loop (in which I was supposed to enter) and it got locked again. Damn!

No more 20p coins.

I found a janitor and told him what had happened, he tried to get the coin out, but it wouldn’t. Then he started shouting for Jack. He screamed 3-4 times, but Jack was not to be found. Finally, this Indian looking guy emerged from somewhere and he kindly unlocked the gate for me to let me in.

I relieved myself and boarded the train. The train was pretty spic and span beyond my expectations. It had a restroom to. No use fee required.

I found Windsor castle ok from the outside. It was on a hill with good sweeping views of the surrounding area and of Thames. I found some folks exiting from somewhere inside the castle and decided to go in. I walked against all these people coming out and they were all staring at me.  What the heck! I thought that was rather rude. A guard accosted me and told me that this was the exit, I need to go out and enter from the entrance which he guided me to. That explained the stares.

Inside were the state rooms. I had one hour to cover them before it closed at 5PM. Any doubts I had about the usefulness of the entry fee of 14 pounds was blown away immediately on entering. the grandeur of the rooms was impressive. There were lost treasures, painted ceilings, walls adorned with paintings (needless to say by the top artists, likes of Van Dyke etc). There was a bed where Napoleon had slept on a visit. Windows had amazing views out to the city and Thames. The grandeur of the place was jaw-dropping.

Next I found a pub and had some grub and couple of pints before heading on to Eton across the Thames. Eton reminded me of my alma mater which is a British-established “public” boarding school itself. The different buildings, houses, made me nostalgic of my own boarding school days. There were bells ringing now and then and school kids hanging around with footballs. Those were the days!

A guide I was reading said that the annual cost for Eton was 14,000 pounds annually, which I thought wasn’t too bank-breaking considering that it considers itself “top of the class”

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One Response to “Windsor and Eton”

  1. Ben Says:

    £14,000? More like £26,000: http://www.etoncollege.com/eton.asp?di=104

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