January 10 and 11, Friday and Saturday: Departure, Arrival, Windsor Castle, and dinner at Oxford Hotel

January 10, 2014
by Tom Florian, senior tenor
major: marketing and finance

Friday came and the group reconvened at 12:15pm at the airport, ready for a long and anticipatory day of travel.

DSM International Airport

I will forego detailing this portion of our journey for the sake of time, but be assured that everyone arrived safe and sound at London's Heathrow Airport with all personal belongings!

Upon collecting our luggage, we made our way to the terminal exit and met our wonderful tour guide, Ms. Anita Baker. Jet-lagged, we trekked along to the group travel terminal to load our coach. What a glorious feeling it was to step outside into sunny and 46-degree weather! Once everyone was settled, we started off to Windsor Castle, one of the queen’s official residences, where she stays occasionally during the year. We enjoyed a few hours of free exploration throughout the town. Groups split up and explored the local shops and pubs, walked the castle grounds, visited Eton College, and made their way to the “Long Walk”, which provided a fabulous view of the castle from afar. The noon-hour came and went, fish and chips, sausage and mash, and a host of other English dishes made their way from the kitchen to table settings in front of each choir member. Although we passed McDonald’s and Starbucks, I do not believe anyone set foot in these less than unique establishments.

We arrive at Windsor Castle

and meet our guide, Anita, and coach driver Ceri.

The sun began to set around the four o’clock hour, 10am for those of you following along in the Midwest. We loaded the motor coach and headed for our place of refuge for the night – The Oxford Hotel. Green grass spread for miles upon miles and the clouds scattered as the yellow-orange sun took its rest beyond the horizon, lighting the sky in shades of red, pink, and purple. This was certain a welcome and picturesque view that starkly contrasted with the dark and cold place from which we had come.

The evening closed with a nice group dinner at the hotel. The gourmet meal brought immense delight, and conversation was lively. However, heads began to fall, and eyelids became heavier than castle drawbridges.  A magnificent day was had by all, but now a restful night had begun to fall.

Good night!

Our first dinner in England

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