I went to Ireland a few years ago. Was my second time to leave the U.S., and both times not being until in my thirties. At that age, having seen mostly Oklahoma/Texas for your whole life, well, Ireland and most everything a few hundred miles any other direction is as spectacular and jaw-dropping as a trip to the moon. The MOON!
I pointed at everything.
"It's so GREEN!"
"Look at the SHEEP!"
"Look at that FARMHOUSE!"
"An IRISH chicken!"
(actual photo of me exclaiming, "That's an Irish chicken!!")
"That's a PUB!"
"There's MOSS on this ROCK!"
(actual photo of aforementioned goat)
"Bread and jam!"
(actual photo of me pointing and flipping out)
I am glad I didn't arrive there a jaded and seasoned traveler---ho hum, more castles...eh.
No, I was astounded. I could see a castle on the ground as the plane neared the ground, and I had a strange sensation in my stomach of, oh, I don't know, coming face-to-face with something that is supposed to only exist in a book. It could have been a dinosaur crawling by for the feeling I had...
(Photo of me presenting a beloved castle like a prize on "The Price Is Right")
And the castles were creepier and more imposing at night. I still lie in bed sometimes and replay the silhouettes of half-crumbled castles on the sides of the road that could be seen while driving at night. Big eerie abandoned stone shells where long-gone folks used to socialize or kill or have sex.
Too bad I didn't have a journal back then to flip out into when I got back. Ah, I guess it's never too late to ramble.
Ok, what got me started on this? Oh, I know. I was playing a Harry Potter video game a few weeks ago, and in the game I went down the spiral stone steps of the school to get to the dungeon. This made me think of going down the skinny spiral stairwells in castles in Ireland. Both the real AND virtual castle steps made me feel kind of sick and disoriented, and I was thinking about how many drunks probably fell and/or vomited in castle stairwells back in the day. Probably loads.
Well, that's important to think about. Or not.
(Actual photo of me going down one of those skinny stairwells.)