Having a father who’s Czech certainly lends a different mindset to a young child: I grew up traveling to ancient churches, visiting 200 year-old pubs and exploring some of the most beautiful and enchanting castles in the world. These early fortresses are what piqued my interest the most, and heavily influenced my love for dramatic architecture and lasting design. From the colossal Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany (the inspiration for Walt Disney’s fairytale replica) to the stately Dover Castle in England, these wondrous homes and symbols of opulence and strength still stand majestically, if not a bit worn by time and wars.
Particularly as a child, with the enviable ‘anything can happen’ mentality, making your way through the dark halls and tight, winding stairwells of a castle is positively magical: Impossibly high turrets soar above your head, steep spires shoot into the clouds and weatherworn stone cloaks you in a sense of profound security. Inside foot-worn stone is soft as silk under your feet, and walls bear ancient tapestries, historical art or richly colored stained glass windows. Depending upon the age of the castle you’re visiting, rooms may still be decked in lush décor from hand-carved furniture to silk draperies, or they may be covered in moss and sans ceilings!
Should you be traveling to Europe anytime in the near future, be sure to set aside some time to tour a beautiful castle or two. Just as with a cathedral or an ancient monument, these aging fortresses are breathtaking examples of prowess, culture and history, and are a wonder to explore.