Saturday, May 12, 2012

New thing #27: Warwick Castle

The first time I came to England for work, we drove past Warwick Castle. Since it was closed for the day, I vowed I'd see it on a later trip. It took me three more visits, but thanks to my Brit colleagues, I finally made it! My friend Ken is a local and was a brilliant tour guide who drove us around the whole region. Places come to life when you hear stories about the history and the people who live there.

The sun shined on and off through a sky threatening rain, but it never did more than sprinkle on us. Everything was green and lush on the winding roads through the beautiful English countryside. Colts and lambs were actually cavorting in the pastures, oblivious to us as we drove by. We passed through villages where time had slowed and the milkman still makes deliveries, and through cities with beautiful churches and 'posh' shops. After touring Shakespeare's home town and the birthplace of the sport of Rugby, we circled around back to Warwick and its famous medieval castle.

The castle tour was fantastic. We were able to wander all through the buildings and grounds at our own pace. The rooms were spectacular from the architecture to the decor. We climbed narrow winding stone steps high up into the towers and walked along the ramparts, where the views were gorgeous. A mix of actors and wax figures (done so well it was hard to tell which was which) brought history to life throughout the tour. I learned the best way to remove an arrow if it happens to be lodged in your torso, a handy tip that I hope never to put into use. We followed the path to the River Avon below the castle for a tour of the mill and engine house, then followed a screeching noise to the conservatory and formal garden to find a dozen fearless peacocks, beautiful birds who make an awful noise, enjoying the sunshine. The entire tour was interesting and fun, putting Ken and I in such a good mood that we didn't even stop and chastise some workers repairing a wall without wearing the proper safety equipment (a job habit, I'm afraid).  My children will surely not believe it.

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