Monday, December 22, 2008

Warwick Castle

We started our day with a bus ride to Birmingham and then a 1/2 hour train ride to the town of Warwick. It took a while to walk to the castle grounds but it was another sunny day. The castle grounds was filled with evergreen trees and we zigzagged our way through the maze to see a princess, a Christmas elf and Jack Frost. Next we entered the Great Hall of the castle which had a 25 foot Christmas tree and musicians playing instruments. On the walls hung all sorts of armor and weapons. A full size knight in shining armor sat upon his trusty steed next to the fireplace. There was a women in costume who invited all the little girls including Sierra to dance with her. Sierra loved it! We wound our way through many bedrooms, dining rooms, libraries, and a chapel. Each room had a wax figure of someone (both royalty and servants) from a different time periods of English history. The periods covered in the castle were the medieval age, the Tudor age, the 17th and 18th century (for the history buffs out there). We stopped to get some sandwiches on the castle grounds and then tackled the steps to the towers in the castle walls. We were able to make it to most of them - over 700 steps total - all small spirals. There were beautiful views of the countryside up there. Our knees will be very sore tomorrow! We took a break from climbing steps and went outside the castle walls and watched a presentation on falconry. Sierra sat on Tim's shoulders while we watched a handler discuss the sport and send a falcon back and forth over the crowd. Next we went to the peacock garden which had more live peacocks wandering around than I have ever seen in my life. Even the shrubs were cut to look like peacocks. They had a trebuchet (catapult) which I guess they launch in the summer time. By this time, Sierra was beginning to get a bit bored, so we headed to the kid's playground on site (not a part of the original castle). It was a mad house of kids. Sierra was just content to laugh and swing on the swings. After a small lunch and lots of fresh air, we were ready for some hot tea and cakes. We found a great tea room just outside of the castle grounds. I enjoyed a wonderful Santa tea. We shared crumpets, cream cakes and fudge cake. We caught the train back to Birmingham.

It was almost dinner time by the time we returned, so we decided to stay longer in downtown Birmingham. The streets were filled with shoppers and white and blue Christmas lights everywhere. After wandering for a while, we found Bella Italia. The place was crowded and lively. Sierra enjoyed a plate of spaghetti- no sauce. I had pizza and Tim had a burger. It was all very good. Right outside the restaurant in the street, they had a German market set up during December. There were many stands selling pretzels, chocolates, hand blown glass figurines, candied nuts, nutcrackers, hats and a huge lighted carousel.

It was a great day! It will be hard to top that one.

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