As repetitive as they has no doubt become, I’ve nonetheless very much enjoyed this week’s reflections on 2017!
From the narcissistic standpoint of my personal life, it was quite a mercurial year–featuring a volatile blend of unexpected medical troubles (remember when I injured my neck and spent weeks lying on the floor, or when my wisdom teeth attempted to destroy me?), drastic life changes (somehow I’ve completed a quarter of my MA by now!), and stunning romance that would have seemed impossible a year ago (hey, 2015-me, it’s very important that you get involved in snail mail and decide to write to a certain Welsh pen pal…)
At the same time, I enjoyed a shocking amount of whirlwind travels in 2017, at home and abroad: the saddest part, perhaps, is that my quasi-hiatus from blogging kept me from sharing many of those photos with you, readers! Consider this post, then, a bit of a preview for some travel-blog catching up that awaits later this month.
I promised you castle photos–now, castle photos ye shall have!
Linlithgow Palace in Linlithgow, Scotland, isn’t quite the oldest castle you’ll ever encounter–though in a ruined state, it’s actually looking pretty good hundreds of years past its heyday in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Back then, it was a part-time royal residence, and today, it allows visitors (especially weird historians like me) to enjoy a thrilling opportunity to roam labyrinthine Renaissance halls and towers and dungeons completely unaccompanied. You can basically do whatever you want here, provided you respect the architecture! I even sang approximately three notes of a Palestrina motet to test the acoustics.
Most importantly, as the title suggests, there is a ridiculously adorable deer sculpture on its very ornate, extant, and functional fountain!
Most of my earliest childhood memories of the Mainland relate to the many trips we took from Hawai’i to Connecticut to visit my grandparents on the coast of Long Island Sound. Perhaps the oddest of these–one that I suspected I might have just invented–was a faint recollection of riding in a carriage towards the ruins of a great stone castle. As you might imagine, we don’t exactly get a lot of thirteenth-century European architecture here in the States.
It turns out, though, that Gillette Castle State Park is all too real: even if it was built in 1914 rather than 1214. The former mansion of eccentric and actor William Gillette, this architectural-folly-slash ruin is basically my Romantic heart’s wildest dream. And, to be honest, if I were a millionaire actor with cash to burn and land to buy, I’d also choose the forests of Connecticut as the ideal spot in which to live out my Arthurian fantasies.