I recently read a fiction novel set largely in and around castles. It has made my imagination run wild. What's it like to live in a castle? (Or, what WAS it like?) What was it like to build one? What are the rooms like where you sleep? Eat? Dance? Behead people?
In true researcher fashion, I ran right out to my local bookstore a couple weeks ago and bought a book about castles. In bed that night, I studied every page, entranced by the photographs and learning a bit from the descriptions. But the next day I took the book back because it kinda sucked. There were no photos of the interiors of the castles. And no explanations! I don't know what a "keep" is! Isn't there a "Castles for Dummies" book? I need it!
If I can't get what I want from a book I'm not sure exists anyway, I need to arrange a tour. No, not just a tour ... a short-term stay. I'll tell you what I am really hankering for, and you tell me if you know a travel agent who can hook me up.
I'd like to stay in a really old castle run preferably by the SCA, or people like that. I need more than a few nights ... a week, let's say, or a month. And things need to be really authentic - this castle can't have central air or electricity or running water. We will do things on this visit just like they were done centuries ago. I want to walk down hallways with stone walls and floors and ceiling. And I don't want to be cheesy tourist lady with a camera around my neck. I want to be dressed in period clothing. And I want to feel what they felt. What would my shoes be like? My hairdo? My body odor? (I'm pretty sure they didn't bathe quite as often as we do now - but I will learn this all during my stay.) At dinner time, I want to gather in the big ol' dining hall (but they didn't call it a dining hall - what did they call it? --- see? I need a book!) with a bunch of other authentic people from way back then and eat a meal like they would have way back then. After dinner and whatever they do right after dinner, I will retire to my little tower room with a window out to the lands below and go to bed. What sounds would I hear? What would the sheets feel like? Would there be castle critters scurrying about?
Tonight I will go to sleep thinking of this marvelous castle visit I have to look forward to. And this is just the beginning! Wait til you hear how I want to experience New York City! Normandy! The English countryside! Buckingham Palace! Charleston, South Carolina! Alaska! A passenger ship across the Atlantic in 1914! The Oregon Trail!