French and Spanish Castles and Things
Castles, Sea Forts, Walled Cities and Mountain Top Churches
There is not too much too say about them except - WOW. Our first one we saw was the second day in Europe. It was rainy, cold and bleak - perfect for Aigues- Mortes. We drive to it not knowing what to expect and there it is... sitting in the distance, looking magnificent across the field. We park outside, thinking that this was as close as we could get, but soon find out that this is not a museum, but a place where people live, work, play and visit. There is a functioning town inside these walls... streets, shops, churches homes and walking paths which turn out to be roads.
To our amazement this seems to be the case with every place we visit. People are living in these historical buildings... well at least there are signs of people, as we never really see a soul. Everywhere we visit it appears we are the only tourist and everyone there is part of a magnificent set. The shopkeepers, ladies sweeping their door stoops, the people walking with their loaves of bread happen to be there as if on cue. Most amazing! For these weeks of our journey we have the whole place to our selves.
Because it was raining so hard, we actually got to experience how a medieval castle functions in the rain. All the rain runs into the center of the street where rivers form, whisking the rain away. Great system unless you miss your step..
We visited Montblanc, a walled city at the end of the day. A medieval city where you still entered through ancient stoned arches, but now further protected by miles of additional city outside of it’s walls. The falling shadows, tiny street-ways, darken walk ways made me wonder what in the world it would be like to like there. It had been a sunny spring day, but what would winter be like? To me creepy - How in the world would someone choose to live there, anyway?
Our two favorite Castles were Colliour and The Templar Castle in Miravet. Both of their histories reached out and touched us... as well as they were sunny and bright! The countryside where they had been built was inspirational! Vistas, viewpoints and great places to live.