Castles of the World Newsletter: March 6 , 2003

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bullet Great Castles
(2003 Departures:  June 20 & September 12, 2003) 

From the worlds most romantic city of Paris to Munich and Salzburg, this 15 day tour takes you to some of the greatest castles in the world. Visit such wonders as Mont St. Michel, Brissac Castle and Fontainebleau, or take a pleasant stroll through the historic center of Mozart's hometown, admire the exquisite Mirabel Gardens, and the Baroque horse.  Other highlights of the tour include a Cruise on the Rhine River and a visit to the Champagne Cave to learn about the fine art of champagne making.  Throughout the 15 day expedition you will visit 5 countries and 15 different castles.  You will have dinner at the Hofbrauhaus and see a traditional Bavarian dance show with alpenhorn blowers and yodelers as your entertainment, as well as, eat lunch at Brissac Castle.

To learn more about the Great Castles Tour click here:
Great Castles Tour

bullet The Best Castles of Britain and Ireland Tour
(2003 Departures:  June 27 & September 5, 2003)

Our castle tour will take you through England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. In addition to their long and sometimes violent history, many of these castles have intriguing tales of haunting. Here are some that we will visit: The Tower of London, Leeds Castle, Windsor Castle, Warwick Castle, Conway Castle, Ruthin Castle, Caernarvon Castle, Dublin Castle, Culzean Castle, Inveraray Castle, Eilean Donan Castle, Glamis Castle, Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace. Tour guests will have the rare opportunity of spending the night in two haunted castles, Ballygally Castle and Ruthin Castle. The ghost of a former owner of Ballygally Castle, Lady Shaw, is reported to knock on the doors of guests. At Ruthin guests have seen the ghost of the Grey Lady, who was executed for killing her husbandís lover. She has been seen wandering the Castleís battlements and has been seen in the Banquet Hall. Another ghost is that of a Medieval Knight in armor wearing only one gauntlet. There is a strange glowing ball of light that has been seen in the castle, known as orbs, it is believed that these orbs are the souls of the dead. Some of the highlights of this tour is the Medieval Banquet at Ruthin Castle. Guests are served by Ladies of the Court in period costumes. Listen to the beautiful harp music in the candlelit company of the Baron and Baroness while eating a four course medieval meal with a dagger. Another highlight is exploring the old castle built in 1282 and finding your way down to the dungeons.

To learn more about the Best Castles of Britain and Ireland Tour click here:
Best Castles of Britain and Ireland


2001 Winning Essay:

      Last year, to mark the so called millennium, I opted to set out on my first overseas journey alone, I was going to England to study, but had to make a few stops first. After seeing the "Castles of the World" website, I set my eyes on Neuschwanstein, and felt that was the place to go. I ended up spending several days alone there, loving every second, but wishing I had someone to share it with, to believe that what I saw was real and not some surrealistic fantasy. I sat on a balcony, alone each night and viewing it as The most romantic spot I could ever have found, and vowed to return there once I found someone who I wanted to share that with, and wished I would find one soon. A week later, I met James, the cheeky English scientist with great wit and a gentle heart, I kidnapped him out of England and spent the year loving this man, constantly showing him pictures of places I must take him some day, with Neuschwanstein at the head of the list. Sooner than I thought possible I learned I would be going back to that very spot with him, a little under a year after I had made that vow on my balcony.
      We left for Europe a few weeks before the Castle Tour started to explore some of Europe on our own. We saw good shows, had lovely meals and moonlight walks, every moment as if in a dream, and I kept thinking how the best was yet to come. When the tour began, it was wonderful to be around other couples, who all thought we were honeymooners, and it really felt like we were. We found scores of "kissy spots", had many priceless moments, fun guide-escaping adventures, and we stuck together through frisbee dramas and steak nazi's. Within the first few days, it was already one of the best trips I had ever been on. We fell in love all over again every single day and just when I was starting to believe nothing would be more perfect then Mount St.Michael, we arrived in Fussen, where I had left part of my heart last year.
       Dinner was early that night and the majority of the group set off to the spectacular Ludwig musical, but James and I had other things in mine. A dream to live up to and a cycle to end. Before we had a chance for a single breath of digestion, we were power walking to Schwangau, holding hands and saying "guten tag" to bicyclers, watching the sun sinking lower and into the trees, and finally we were there. Standing at the base, near the abandoned tourist center, looking at the fairytale castle seemingly rising into the clouds. We walked through the small village were I pointed out Schloss Hohenschwangau and the path that I had gotten caught on in a thunderstorm, the very room in the Schlosshostel Lisl I stayed in, and the breathtaking lake Alpensee with its moutainesque background, clouds rolling down as if they were desperate to dive into the lake. We sat there staring for a good few minutes and then decided to "do it", go all the way up to the castle. I knew the path was long, windy and uphill, not to mention the sun was setting, but I knew I would hate myself if I missed this chance. The temperature was perfect, and we knew we would have it to ourselves so we bounded up the wooded hill, and made it up in a little under 20min.
      Once up, I felt every part of me want to sing and dance, I was standing here, with my vision of a perfect man, a big white deserted castle and the sun setting behind the mountains. The air would have been silent if it weren't for the lullaby from the Bavarian cow bells and nearby whisper of the waterfall. There was no crying children, yelling tour guides, businessmen on cell phones or clicks of cameras, just us running around and laughing like children, hugging the castles walls, and finding different kissing angles to still view the castle, and just sharing what we now tell everyone was the best moment of our young lives. It was a tragedy that those 90 or so minutes had to pass, and no manipulation of imagination....or science could freeze them. We walked back down, both wondering if that had really happened, and it didn't fully hit us until the next day, when we returned with the group and saw all those places and things that we had come to share the night before, and the magic was forever sealed within us then and there. We toured the magnificent interior of Neuschwanstein that day and saw the looks on our groups faces when it first came into view, but nothing could compare to that time we spent there in the sunset, and I doubt anything ever could.
      The entire trip was like one big fantasy. We were time travelers and beauty seekers, and the group was in it together, but each of us took home our own fond memories and ours just happened to complete a cycle that I had promised myself, and sealed a love I never thought possible, and thanks to this tour, this was possible, and I have this fairy tale to remember and live out forever.



Links to other stories:
News From Fantasy Tour 2002
Castles Of The World Online

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