9:30 am • It’s Saturday morning and I am en route to grab my train at Stratford International Station to Windsor & Eton central. I’ve been willing to go there for a very long time, but kept on postponing it until the day I decided that I couldn’t be worried about money all the time anymore, and started planning weekends outside the British capital more and more. To see something a little different just for a day. To breathe a different air. To try different things.
10:30 am • I’ve arrived and messaged my best friend Tom to let him know; he’s supposed to pick me up somewhere along Barry Avenue this morning. « I’ll be there in about ten, » he’s replied. Just the time for me to grab a map of the area at the information centre inside the main station, and walk down the road surrounding the legendary castle. Leaving London early this morning didn’t leave me time to have my breakfast, so I decide to stop by Olivia’s Café and grab a quick creamy cappuccino and a gluten-free slice of homemade cake from their broad selection. Once all fuelled up, I’m heading towards the lovely Windsor promenade, a little way running along the Thames and following Barry Avenue, where families are queuing for a riverboat trip with French Brothers all the while enjoying an oh-so-British tradition treat i.e. a cream tea hamper, or simply breathing in the fresh morning air and feeding the hungry swans begging for the bread leftovers hidden in the tourists’ bags.
11 am • I’ve reached the end of the promenade and can spot my friend from afar, riding his tiny and cute red classic Mini Rover. He stops the car on the side of the road and I jump in for a guided tour of the area and its very green surroundings.
12:30 am • Once back and the cutest little car parked, Tom is taking me to his favourite spot for a well-deserved treat and cup of tea, namely the Cinnamon Café – apparently the meeting point of all self-respecting cyclists. He orders a toasted bacon sandwich and almost begs me to try their famous cinnamon roll – a huge slice of what tastes like brioche covered with cinnamon icing; it’s a little too big for my own little stomach but definitely perfect for two and I don’t regret trying it even a tiny bit!
1:30 pm • I really want to visit the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world, but my wallet is nonetheless calling me to order (£20.50 for an adult ticket when the State Apartments are open is unfortunately much more than I can spend on leisure activities), and decide I’ll come back when I have enough money to afford it and when Tom’s mum’s free to give me a personalised and private tour (as it sounds, from what he’s been telling me, that she’s an expert).
3:30 pm • After chilling around tea and an extremely sweet treat, I’m starting my walk around Windsor, walking past the very cute and world-famous Crooked House, the many shops, restaurants and coffee places, and then heading back towards Eton, which I reach via the loveliest pedestrian-only bridge over the Thames. « Windsor truly is the cutest little town I’ve been to so far, a place filled with hundreds of life-size dollhouses, giving this crown jewel a magical feel, » I think to myself, happy to be where I am at this very instant, enjoying the brisk air of spring, its blooming flowers everywhere, and the planes flying just over my head.
5 pm • As the sun is beginning to set and my legs to get weary of the afternoon, I sit in one of the comfortable Burgundy armchairs of Patisserie Valérie and order a very berry and super refreshing smoothie, while reading a few chapters from the book I’ve been trying to finish for ages, i.e. Roman Polanski’s biography.
7 pm • I’m heading home a little earlier than expected and skipping dinner as I’m starting to feel unwell. But I know that what would have perfectly ended my day is a dinner at either Browns, which Tom mentioned was his favourite place for lunch or dinner in Windsor, as he was showing me around earlier, or even at the unmissable Zizzi Italian restaurant further up near the castle (I’m always up for some Italian comfort food and I particularly always get excited about their chocolaty desserts, like their vegetarian salted caramel chocolate brownie or their vegan sticky chocolate & praline torte).