Castles and Palaces

We stumbled across an article from a travel website naming the top 10 castles in the world. We’d only been to two on the list  – Neuschwanstein in Germany and Chateau de Chillon in Switzerland. But it got us thinking – what would our top-ten list be? And how many castles have we been to?

Coming from the United States, we tend to share in the idea pushed on us by Disney at an early age that castles are magical, beautiful, complete with Prince Charming and a beautiful Princess. In reality many of these castles have dark and bloody histories full of murder and mayhem. Both Heath and I are history buffs, though, and really love seeing castles and learning about the people who lived in them and the life they led.

In case you were curious, here are all the castles that we’ve been to, sorted by country and vaguely in the order we visited them. Continue reading


Day 13 – Edinburgh to Scarborough and In-between

Another yummy breakfast and delightful conversation with our hostess (or her twin) and then we packed up and headed out, intending to go to Edinburgh Crystal, having seen a nice brochure in the B&B.

We drove and we drove, and drove through some horrific sheep stench, but no Edinburgh Crystal to be found. Not even a single sign. We finally stopped at a gas station, where we learned that the factory had shut down several years ago! Bah! Back through the horrific stench we went.

One of the signs we did see while we were wandering around was for Rosslyn Chapel. It wasn’t on our original itinerary, but only because I’d forgotten about it for some reason. Luckily it was also on our way to our next stop.

It was definitely worth the side-trip. Rosslyn Chapel is GORGEOUS! It is fascinating because of the history around it, and also because of the sheer zaniness of the masonry. We’re lucky to have the pictures that we have because we found out recently that they no longer allow you to take pictures inside anymore. While we were there, we bought a cast of one of the Green Man carvings that are in the chapel. Continue reading

Day 2: Manchester, UK

Well, our plans to avoid jet lag failed miserably. We landed safely in Manchester, made it through customs quite quickly, got our luggage, and stepped out of the airport to a beautiful cool cloudless day. We easily got a taxi (and they are the coolest looking cars!) and he took us to our first hotel with no trouble, and pointed out that we were right next to Manchester’s famous “Curry Mile.”

The place we’re staying at tonight is part hotel, part training facility for new ministers. Yeah, first night of our honeymoon and we’re staying in a religious facility. It is called the “Luther King House,” but I don’t think it is any reference to the US civil rights leader. It is a very peaceful place. Unfortunately, our room is tinier than any dorm room we’ve seen, and I think our coat closet is actually bigger than the shower. I have no clue how Heath will manage to wash his legs, as I could barely bend over to do so on my shower.

When we arrived, there was some confusion about the check-in time (we had arrived at about 8:30 am or so), but fortunately, they had a room available, and we were able to go up straight-away. I showered, and had a hard time falling asleep for a nap, but once I did, neither of us woke up until 4:00 in the afternoon. Very baaaaad. We’d only intended to sleep until about 1:00 or so.

Got up and dressed and went for a walk down Rolsholm Curry Mile. It is supposedly the largest concentration of Indian shops in England. It is nearly a mile long section of street lined with restaurants, clothing stores, music, and even an Islamic supply store. It was fun. We walked most of the way down the road, and then turned back and went to one of the restaurants. A note – if you even slowed down slightly at a restaurant, their host would be at the front door cajoling you to come inside. I guess that there were so many restaurants that they were competing for business. Continue reading