Monday, September 1, 2008
Castles In the Sand
Every year a competition is held for the best sand sculptures. They are all awesome and one can only imagine the tedious work that goes into them.
I was taken back to my childhood when I viewed these two castle sculptures.
Until I was eleven years old I was an only child. I escaped from the adult world in books. I devoured every book I could get my hands on and I was especially fond of Fairy Tales. I think I must have read every fairy tale ever written. Of course, castles always loomed large in those stories, for what is a beautiful princess without a castle?
As I matured, I left the fairy tales behind but I never lost my fascination with castles and my fondest desire was to visit one someday. It took me many, many years to finally be able to go to Europe where the best castles are. As I chose my itinerary, the tour that included the most castles was the one I took.
Although it was a thrill to see those lavishly decorated rooms and be awed by the opulence of the castles, I felt a bit let down. I didn't experience the excitement over castles that I had felt when I read about them. When all was said and done, they were just lavish mansions.
It wasn't until I visited a castle in Switzerland that I experienced the romantic feelings of a time when the handsome prince and princess fell in love. My friend, Margrit, took me to Kyburg, a small and rather plain castle. The floors were of hand hewn planks and everything spoke of a time long gone by. The prisoners were kept in the attic. There was a torture room complete with an Iron Maiden that reminded me the suffering that must have occurred there. It felt authentic.
Perhaps because it was so different from today's mansions I could let my imagination run wild. I realized that living in this castle would not be as wonderful as I had thought. Isn't that a case of the grass being greener on the other side of the fence? Or perhaps, it makes the point that we should never envy someone else based on our preconceived ideas.
The last castle I visited was my favorite. Neuschwanstein, Von Ludvig's castle, is the one Disney used as a template for his Sleeping Beauty castle. I finally had my dreams fulfilled. It was everything I thought a castle should be.