A fairy tale castle

A fairy tale castle

Scotney Castle in Kent, England is quite lovely…and I had it all to myself.

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Sunset at Bodiam Castle

Sunset at Bodiam Castle

England + castle + sunset = happy photographer! :-)

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A look at Neuschwanstein Castle

A look at Neuschwanstein Castle

The classic view of the most famous castle in the world...Neuschwanstein in Bavaria, Germany.

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A visit to Frederiksborg Castle

A visit to Frederiksborg Castle

How about a virtual trip to a fairy-tale castle in Denmark today?  Sound good?  Ok, let's go!  Here is a collection of pics I took at Frederiksborg Castle in Hillerod, Denmark earlier this year.  It's a beautiful place!

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Leaving Edinburgh Castle

I think castles might be my favorite type of structure - ever!  You? 

I remember loving castles as a kid.  When I was in 2nd grade, my family lived in Germany, which happens to have a *few* castles laying around.  I visited some of the famous ones (like Neuschwanstein, which is still my favorite) and some not-so-famous ones, and loved them all.

When we were in the Loire Valley of France this past summer, we visited 5 different chateaux (which are kinda like castles, at least to me) and I loved them all.  And whenever I go over to Europe for work, if I am visiting a city with a castle I make sure to stop in and check it out.  It's just another thing I love.  What can I do about it? 

So, the Edinburgh Castle was definitely top of my list when I planned my half-day adventure to this lovely Scottish city, and I was not disappointed.  True, I only had a short while to explore it since it was closing early, but I ran around and saw it all (albeit briefly), and took as many shots as I could.  This is one of the last ones I took, which I shot as I was leaving.  I happened to turn around one last time, and this was my view. 

Edinburgh Castle

Sitting high on a hill, overlooking Edinburgh... 

With all my recent travels (Glasgow, London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Nashville) I had completely forgotten that I took a half-day detour up to Edinburgh, Scotland while I was in Glasgow.  It's a town that I have wanted to see for years, and yep - totally forgot about going there.  Maybe I need to slow down a bit.  ;-)

Well anyways, I did make it up to that most lovely of cities, and...it's lovely!  Ok, that's not much of an endorsement, but it really is lovely.  I found the architecture to be stunning, the Royal Mile to be a strenuous but definitely worthwhile walk, and of course I loved the castle.  But, that sorta goes without saying because I love all castles. 

The truth is though that I ran through Edinburgh Castle faster than an Irishman through a pint of Guinness.  I arrived with about 30 minutes left until they closed (it was a Sunday, and I guess they close early then or something).  So, I dashed around the Castle (which is sort of a collection of a few buildings) and checked it out, and of course took every opportunity to fire some shots. 

I grabbed this one while I was leaving.  It pays to always look behind you when you are out shooting, because you might just find a view you like.  I need to remember that more often, but thankfully did remember it here! 

Looking over Chenonceau

Well, back to the Loire Valley of France today - you don't mind, do you?  :-) 

I found the entire Loire Valley to be just strikingly beautiful.  Of course, I am a fan of all the amazing chateaux that I visited.  They all possess such a great combination of interesting architecture and incredible history - it's hard not to like them! 

Chenonceau is probably the most beautiful one there that I saw.  It's hard to pick a fave, but it would probably have to be this one.  The dramatic setting over the river certainly helps!  

Anyways, at some point during my wandering and shooting, I climbed upstairs and stepped out on a little balcony.  It had just rained a bit, and all the tourists scattered like cockroaches when the lights come on, so it was pretty easy to get such a clean shot (although I admit, I removed a couple!). 

Chateau de Chaumont

Anybody getting tired of the France photos yet?  No?  Good, I have a bunch more that I recently processed, and hundreds more still to get to.  So, let’s keep that theme alive for another day!

This is Chateau de Chaumont, in the little town of Chaumont-sur-Loire.  It is not a well-known chateau (in my estimation, at least) in the Loire Valley, but I found it to be exceptionally awesome.  Whereas some of the chateaux we visited were all about impressing you with their size (I’m thinking of you, Chambord) or just awing you with their beauty (Chenonceau, which I haven’t posted anything of yet - but it’s coming!), I found this one to be more fortress-like and less showy, if that makes sense.  But to be clear, it’s very well preserved.  I liked it a lot.  Maybe I was a knight in a previous life.

It’s perched high on a hill overlooking the River Loire, with commanding views up and downstream. I can imagine that was done on purpose.  :-)  There is a fabulous horse stable which you can tour, and also it’s worth wandering the grounds and having a look at the other buildings.  The architecture is beautiful, and you won’t be disappointed with a stop here.  Plus, it has extensive gardens which are quite beautiful.  

Anyways, if you find yourself in the Loire Valley, be sure and add Chateau de Chaumont to the list of stops you need to make.  You can thank me later!

Chateau de Amboise

As I mentioned in my post a couple of days ago, we spent some time in Amboise in the Loire Valley of France.  We really enjoyed this little town.  Though I expected to enjoy the place, I think I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.  I tend to travel to cities the majority of the time, and while I don’t consider myself a “big city” person, I do enjoy seeing big cities.

But this little town was just pretty awesome all around, and I am glad we got to spend a few days there.  It’s funny how travel open your eyes a bit.  You learn things about yourself, what you like, and what you don’t like.  It’s interesting.

Anyways, the town has a chateau/castle situated on top of the hill in town, dominating everything around it.  The guidebooks we read mostly focused on all the other fabulous chateaux in the area (Chambord, Chenonceau, etc) and while they are fabulous, I feel like the Chateau de Amboise deserves a bit more attention.

It’s not nearly as large (and certainly not as famous) as the others, but it’s a great place and well worth a visit if you find yourself nearby.  Interestingly, it also has the tomb of Leonardo da Vinci there, which is incredible (as you might expect).  I’ll save the pics of Leonardo’s final resting place for another time, though.

So if you find yourself in the Loire Valley, I highly recommend the town of Amboise as your base, and be sure and visit the Chateau de Amboise when there!