We drove our minivan north through Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and France. We had to stop for lunch in Aachen, Germany to see one of my favorite cathedrals in all of Europe. The Aachener Dom, also called the Cathedral of Aix-la-Chapelle. Built around the year 800, under Charlemagne, it isn't the largest, but it is absolutely gorgeous inside.
Gilded arched ceilings, stone walls, mosaic stone tile floors.
And of course the stained glass. I just adore this mighty little chapel.
We stopped in Calais for the night at an airbnb. Downtown Calais was pretty blah, but we did get French pastries and the Hotel de Ville (town hall) has a really pretty clock tower.
Early the next morning we boarded a ferry to cross the English Channel to Dover. It was really foggy and windy, so we spent most of the 90 minute ride inside enjoying a traditional British breakfast of sausages, eggs, beans, toast, and ham. (Hold the tomatoes, mushrooms, and black pudding.)
Once off the ferry in Dover, we headed straight to Windsor Castle. Windsor was originally built by William the Conqueror after 1066. It is the longest occupied castle in Europe and was a favorite of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
I don't know if you can see it here, but there is a little crown on top of the light fixture. All the lights had these, and I thought they were kinda charmingly hilarious.
The Castle did a great job of catering to the kids with audio guides, a room of dress up and craft activities, and even an Easter egg hunt! In about a dozen of the rooms on the tour, a decorated Easter egg was hidden somewhere, and even Rob and I thought that this made the tour a lot more fun.
Toby the Beefeater
The garden in the moat area was really lovely.
Charlotte mostly loved looking at the flowers and birds outside.
An inner courtyard, just outside the State Apartments.
Unfortunately, St. George's Chapel was closed the day that we were there.
Overall, Windsor Castle was a really beautiful place to see as our first stop in Britain.
We strolled the pedestrian shopping area on our way back to the car and picked up some groceries in Waitrose.
And we HAD TO take this photo. So excited to be in England!! But then we had to get back in the car as our first night's stay would be at an airbnb in Bath.