Last time I talked about the first two castles I've ever seen up close (Conisborough and Peveril) and the Blue John Caverns. That was quite an experience indeed. Now I'm going to talk about some of the other fun things I got to do. Below you'll see a long distance shot of Chatsworth House, which is probably the biggest non-corporate building I've ever been in. Attached to said house are the Chatsworth Gardens, a place of...well, we'll get to that later.
Chatsworth is like an orgy of amazing architecture, sculpture, paintings, and interior design. It's an amazing place, as you can see:
Probably the most memorable part of Chatsworth House is this:
No, that is not a door inside of a door. It's a painting. The put a door there, and painted another door with a violin on it inside of the frame, and when you see it in real life, it looks real. I was amazed by it and still am. Brilliantly done.
Once you go through the house, you go out into the gardens, which have been built up over the years into this collage of...well, I don't know what you call it. It's amazing all the things they have in there. There's a hedge maze, foundations, waterfalls, streams, and even this really cool waterfall staircase. And apparently pheasant just wander around there, but we'll get to that later. Here are some images of the gardens:
Here is the maze in the middle of the gardens. This was so cool. I've never been in a hedge maze before. There's a cute story that goes along with it and it's mushy, so deal with it. Lindsey and I were walking through and she would intentionally take us down the wrong way so we could playfully kiss in the corners (with the funny moment beforehand of us going, "Oh no, another dead end" *insert kiss*). Yes it was cute. Yes it was amazing. And yes Lindsey is a good kisser. Okay, vomit-ish moment over.
Another really bizarre thing is this tree. It's made of metal and they spray water through it or over it or something and it just sprinkles everywhere. It's really amazing. Lindsey dragged me in a circle around it, which was fun. By the way, you can spend hours in these gardens. We didn't see everything, but we got to see most of it. The place is enormous!
And of course, probably one of the more famous bits of the gardens: the waterfall staircase. The stairs go all the way to the top and you're allowed to walk on them. We didn't walk on them on purpose, because it was far too cold for that sort of thing, but we did walk all the way down from the top, which was fun.
The last castle (and the last significant place we went to) was Skipton Castle, which is one of the best preserved castles in England. I have to admit that it wasn't as impressive as the other two, but maybe it was because it was so well preserved and seemed more like a living space than a defensive place. Granted, it is beautiful and certainly a fantastic place. I greatly enjoyed going there and expect if I go to England again (actually, when I go there again, because I intend to see more that amazing country) I will see many more castles and interesting sights. Thankfully, England isn't a very large country, which makes seeing the sights a little easier than trying to see everything in the U.S. Anyway, here be the pictures
This is the old church at Skipton. It's mostly in ruin, but look at it! It's so old and amazing.
The tree below is a Yew tree that was supposedly planted there by Lady Anne almost 400 years ago. That would make this a very old tree indeed.
In the picture below you can see a clear view of Lindsey reading a information thing (whatever you call those). Isn't she cute?Here is a random picture up a chimney:
And what group of castle pictures would complete without a picture of a medieval toilet?
And, of course, another picture of Lindsey reading in a castle and otherwise being beautiful, cute, and lovable:
If you look at this picture you'll notice there are two walls. Why? Well because the original wall, which is all beaten up, was blown down at some point (I think) during a three year siege on Skipton. They rebuilt the wall later, which is very obvious I think.
The strange thing is, this stairway leads into the "dungeon", but I didn't take any pictures of the dungeon. I don't know why, but I didn't. It's okay, though, the dungeon was just one room with nothing in it and it apparently gave Lindsey and her mum the willies. I didn't feel too comfortable either.
I absolutely love this picture. There were these arrow slits in the walls, and some of them were shaped as cross. We were there at just the right time to have the sun coming in, so it looks like the cross is glowing!
Inside the church that was pictured earlier:
After Skipton Castle we wandered around in town. Lindsey and I went to a couple bookstores and generally had a lot of fun together before eating lunch. Afterwards, we met up with her mum again and went to the canal. There were sound houseboats there that were for sale, which I didn't get a picture of, and a cute duck who I named Terrance. I've never seen a duck with a blue bill, which is why I took the picture.
Also, since i said I would talk about the pheasant, here is a picture of the one we saw. His name is Ted. I don't know why, that's just what I called him, if memory serves me correctly. And he's really a rather pretty bird, don't you think?
To end this batch of pictures, I'll give you some beautiful photos of Lindsey, who happens to be the greatest woman to ever exist. Yes, I'm making that claim. If you don't like it, deal with it. You can't change my opinion. My love for her is invisible and unflinching. Just admire the fact that she is absolutely gorgeous (and I still don't know what she sees in me).
As with all trips, there is a point where one has to say farewell. Lindsey and I spent a lot of time together in that week, and it was an amazing week. I'm not sure what else to say about it. Lindsey went with me to the airport...and...yeah. It wasn't the happiest moment for me, or for her. The second she walked away from the security line...it was like being in hell.
And that's what it was like getting on the plane and flying back over the Atlantic. The whole thing was depressing. Once back in the States, well, yeah, you all know the rest (the moving and what not).
So, that's my trip. That's all of it. I'm sure I forgot details, but so be it. Barring disaster, Lindsey will be staying here with me for a couple weeks. Still don't know what we're going to do (there's not really a whole lot in Santa Cruz I think she would enjoy since we're both sort of museum people, but we'll figure it out). So, that's it!