Entering the Great Hall of Winchester Castle my eyes were drawn to a massive roulette-like table hanging on the wall where green and white paint alternated creating a sunburst image. As I craned my neck to look at the detail of the table, I couldn't believe I was looking at King Arthur's legendary Round Table. 

OK maybe it wasn't really King Arthur's table, but it was still a great historical artifact illustrating what the real Round Table may have looked like. The table before me was built centuries after the King Arthur figure may have lived; moreover, historians believe the table was built for King Edward I because he was such a fan of King Arthur. 

As our castle guide recited the history of the castle and table to us, I learned the story behind the table. 

Originally, the table was solid wood as is proven by X-rays; however, King Henry VIII had the table painted to better authentic his claim to the throne by linking his lineage to King Arthur. King Henry VIII had the table painted in the Tudor family colors with the Tudor family symbol, a white rose, in the center. In Arthurian legends, the Round Table was a sign of unity between King Arthur and his knights. Because it was a circle there was no head of the table; moreover, everyone who sat at the table was essentially equal. King Henry VIII ruined the symbolism of the Round Table by painting a portrait of King Arthur at the top, clearly making his spot prominent. Despite all this, it was still very interesting seeing the Arthurian legend come to life. 

After touring the castle, we went on what seemed like a wild goose chase for food. First we stopped at the famous Wykeham Arms pub, but were unable to eat there for a lack of room. Next we followed local directions to The Black Boy pub. It felt like we were walking through a ghost town as we searched for this pub because we were the only ones on the streets and it was very dreary. 

Finally we ended up on the doorsteps of the white brick pub known as The Black Boy. My first impression of the place was not so good. I'm not going to lie I was a little grossed out because there was a dog by the bar area and while we were waiting for our food two waitresses came screaming out of the kitchen because there was a spider. Yeah, it's safe to say this wasn't my favorite place. It had a creepy, ghost-town library vibe with a mounted cow head and leopard on the wall and wax noses framed beside the table. In the bathroom, hundreds of beady little eyes were glued to the ceiling and glaring down at you. I was spooked for sure. 

After lunch, we made our way back to civilization and began our architecture tour of Winchester Cathedral. Our guide was this little old lady who was very strict. She did not want us taking pictures of the cathedral. No, we had to be quiet and give her our undivided attention as she described the different architectual styles within the cathedral. 

Winchester Cathedral was very impressive with its gothic and Roman arches and intricately carved stone screen. As our tour progressed, we ventured down into the crypt and through the nave. By the end of the tour, our guide had warmed up to us a little. 

Before leaving the cathedral, we took the tower tour climbing 213 spiral stone steps to the top of the cathedral. This was a narrow climb and I got dizzy multiple times. The first room we stopped at was the bell ringing chamber where oak frames hold 16 bells weighing 18,400 pounds. Our guide explained the different types of bell ringing before we continued our climb. 

A chilled wind and overcast clouds met us as we exited the stairwell on top of the cathedral. Red bricked buildings and gray roofs scattered on the horizon forming a dreamy Winchester view. London has to be one of the prettiest cities in the world. From the countryside to the city skyline, London's views are phenomenal. 

On our descent down, we visited the cathedral roof which is enclosed. The smell of oak hit me as soon as I walked in. The roof is made of 18 miles of oak and weighs 500 tons. We walked down the full length of the nave roof before climbing back to the ground floor. 

After a quick visit to the gift shop, we headed to the tube station. Earlier, I had mentioned my need for chocolate so we made a few stops in Winchester to find some dessert to satisfy my craving. 

Back in the dorm, Kayla and I finished our homework and made our go-to pasta for dinner. Since we were going to Scotland tomorrow, we packed our bags, charged our cameras and went to bed early. We needed to rest our wee little eyes before our next adventure!


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    I'm Kasi Dickerson. Journalism is my passion. I'm a big family person, love to travel and I laugh all the time.


    July 2013
    June 2013