Castles – Haibun Thinking

© Arthur Browne

© Arthur Browne

Yesterday I was listening to some Scottish bagpipe music on the YouTube and I said to my son:

“Wow…these are beautiful, I’d really like to go and visit some.  It’s be cool to go on a trekking holiday and walk from one castle to another!”

“Sure, they’re beautiful!”

“Sometimes I think it would be nice to have lived back then.”

“….uh…well, no actually….” here he went on to remind me of what castle life would have been back then.

Of course he was so right!  I don’t know if you’ve actually visited some of these places.  Now, they often have some beautiful gardens and the places are of course fascinating…but they’re also some of the coldest places I’ve ever been to.  Not even the super cold air-conditioning of a Wal-Mart can compare to the bone chilling rooms inside a medieval castle.  I remember Palazzo Ducale in Mantova during the summer.  Had to pull a jacket on it was so cold and it was 30° outside.  Imagine what it would have been in the winter.  They’re also often pretty dark on the inside and the rooms are pretty small.

Then there’s the fact that these places were fortresses.  Now days people actually live in a castle that’s been partitioned off, but back then, they were fortified cities.  Common people, unless they were there because of the local aristocratic family’s needs,  rarely saw the inside of a castle.  If they did, it was because the area was under attack.

One can imagine a castle under siege by some invading army, in Scotland I suppose they’d have been English armies.  Here in Northern Italy they could have been Austrians or some other Germanic army, we even had Napoleon come along in the 1800s!   Ah, yes, here in Trentino, in the 1800s most of the local castles were blown-up by Napoleon’s army as it marched towards Trento then occupied by the Austrians.  Nope, wouldn’t want to be in a castle under attack or worse yet, siege!  Castles are beautiful to see now days.  I love to go and visit them, but I guess my historian son has the right of it…not back then.

stone walls and towers
great view across the valley
marauder’s bain

A view from the Castel

A view from a Castel

Written for: haibun4plus21


21 thoughts on “Castles – Haibun Thinking

  1. Like you I have mixed emotions about castles. They look so romantic but once you actually get inside them the reality is cold and brutal. Your haiku at the end really sums it up.


  2. Living right in front of a castle and having visited it a few times, I know what you mean. Especially with two castles within walking distance up the road – admittedly it is a very long walk, but you could do it in a day back then. They can be romantic as well as seriously scary


    • Interesting. Here most castles are a days walking distance one from the other, which I suppose is where I got the idea from, though our castles are mostly distroyed, thanks to the French.


      • There are some that are destroyed, but Dover Castle, Deal Castle and Walmer Castle are all relatively unscathed. Sandgate Castle still has a working drawbridge and is also within a day’s walk. Saltwood Castle is inhabited and was where the 1980’s series The Tripods was filmed.

        It is a pity when castles are destroyed.


  3. Lovely write and photos are beautiful as well. My only trip overseas in my life was England, Scotland and Wales…90% of the time in Scotland…I did enjoy visiting the castles but no, I would not want to live in them either.


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