December 12, 2008


Castles are magical; far more powerful and intriguing than palaces. I've seen hundreds, in North Africa, the Middle East and, of course, Europe. Some countries, like Scotland and Wales, are so full of castles that a several-hour road trip between two points can easily yield a half-dozen or more. Often, you have the whole castle to yourself -- there's no ticket window, no caretaker, no visitors. You park your car, walk up to the ruin, find an opening and go inside. It's just you, the stones and the ghosts.

Here, castles in Bellinzona, Switzerland; Caernarvon, Wales; Sion, Switzerland; the view from my hotel room in Sirmione, Italy: