Thursday, March 20, 2008

Castles

Sometime in the late seventies or early eighties there was a great, illustrated kid’s book titled simply “Castle.” It showed, with detailed ink drawings, the inner workings and architectural design of the basic medieval castle.  

Most fascinating, perhaps was the explanation of the way castle sewage was handled, considering the fact that most castles were designed to be able to withstand a siege here or there.
 
Most people’s idea of what a castle is and looks like today is overly due to Walt Disney, who in turn was apparently influenced by a castle or two built in Bavaria long after the age most were being built.
 
The reality is most castles are far different from either the Disney version or the old medieval fortress of that book. Most are rather smaller and less “stone and tower and turret” than expected. A lot just look like big villas.
 
Staying in a castle is an experience. There is a lot of history. Imagine staying in a room in a building that has been around in some form or another for nearly nine hundred years. What if you knew for a fact that royalty had lived in that room, or famous Hollywood stars from the Golden Age of Film had stayed there, or that the Nazis had used it? These are the sorts of things you experience staying in a castle. (That and the whole drafty-dimly lit- creaky bit.)
 
If you ever do get the opportunity, take it. Just be sure to hear some stories and learn some of its history, make sure you have plenty of blankets, and see if you can be shown the dungeons.

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