Mar 13, 2017

Hearst Castle with Grandpa Crane

I recently found myself with some Southwest credit to burn and the need for a travel companion (my usual one volunteered to watch our offspring), so I called up my original tour guide to see if he was open to flying.  Of course he was, because my grandpa is always down for whatever, whether it's a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans or tooling around Hot Springs in a gigantic RV.  The man definitely inspired my lust for adventure, and he made the perfect suggestion for our destination: Hearst Castle.  I had never heard of it, but it was in California, which I love, and after I did a little research, I knew it was the perfect place for us to explore together...
Before our tour they took this photo in front of a green screen.  While you're touring they drop in the backgrounds and have the photo available for purchase when you exit.  I thought the photos were great.  The pool in the background is actually being renovated right now, so this is not the view we got...
We flew into LAX on Friday night and drove to Ventura to spend the night.  The next morning we were on the road early trying to navigate around the mud slides and closed roads in order to make our way to the castle.  We made it just in time for our first tour, which was the downstairs tour.  I posted some of these pictures backwards, so this is actually the indoor pool where we exited, with gold leaf tile...

I totally wanted to dive in...


Hopefully Damon will build me a pool just like this some day...
After we left the castle, we drove a few miles down the road to view the elephant seals and met this aggressive little guy.  I think he can read, and I don't think he's pleased...
See the seal heading out to sea?  It's kind of like Where's Waldo...
They were not hard to spot, though, because they were EVERYWHERE!


They are so awkward looking, but so cute...
This is the view that we enjoyed right after stepping off the bus at the castle...
What the outdoor pool really looks like right now...
Ancient Egyptian statues...
It's just breathtaking...

See the two "Wild Men" on the sides of the door?  They are supposed to ward off evil spirits, according to legend...
Visitors are only allowed to walk on the gray carpet and can't touch ANYTHING!  I was so glad the kids were not with me.  This place would have been torture for them...


The most amazing parts of the castle were the ceilings, in my opinion.  They were all brought in from Europe and made to fit into the spaces that the castle had available...
The Refectory, or dining room...I felt like it made ours look pretty modest.  What do you think?


A sarcophagus...seriously.  Let that be a lesson to you not to choose too fancy of a coffin or you might lose it to some rich guy's collection...

They think this was a marriage bed due to the initials carved in the headboard...



In the words of Flynn Rider, "Yep, I'm used to it.  Guys, I want a castle..."

This looks just like a chair in my living room.  Proving that William Randolph Hearst and I both have excellent taste...
The bedroom doors...I mean, gosh!















I loved this painting of the Christ child's Flight to Egypt...



Now on to the cottages...
Quite a view...


I had scheduled three consecutive tours at the castle, with the upstairs tour in the middle.  Grandpa had a fall recently and his knee was giving him some problems, so he was pretty worn out after all those stairs (there are several flights just to get up to the ground floor area of the castle) so he rested in the courtyard while I attended the last tour of the cottages and kitchen.  You really are on sensory overload by the time you leave that place because everywhere you look there are priceless antiques and artifacts from all over the world.  It truly is an amazing collection and one that everyone should experience at least once.  We had a great trip together, and it was nice to be able to invite Grandpa on an adventure.  Since my parents were really homebodies, he was always the one who took my sister, cousins, and I traveling and he opened my mind to the great big world from an early age.  I am so thankful that even though I'm 38 now and my childhood is far behind, he is still around to explore the world with me.

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