Destinations

The Smallest Castle In The World?

Picture of the Broadway Tower located on Beacon Hill in the UK.Usually when you think of a castle what comes to mind are images of huge intimidating walls that stretch for miles and are surrounded by a deep moat.

But this castle is entirely different.

Each of the walls are barely more wide than the windows that peer out of them, and the only thing surrounding the structure is a nice green lawn. In fact it looks like you could walk all the way around the building without even breaking a sweat.

When I first saw the picture of this castle I thought ‘Is that the smallest castle in the world or what?’ and I was curious as to who would build such a place and…why lol.

It turns out this little castle is called the Broadway Tower and it’s located in Worchestershire, England. There’s many rumors and legends about how the Broadway Tower came to be built but the most popular ones are about a wealthy local woman named Lady Coventry.

Picture of the stars in the night sky to illustrate what Lady Coventry and her love interest the young astronomer would have seen from the top of Broadway Tower.It’s said that Lady Coventry decided to build this castle on a whim because she wanted to know if beacons lit on a certain hill could be seen from her house 22 miles away.

An architect was hired and this little castle built and yes, the beacon could be seen quite clearly from her house.

Another legend says that Lady Coventry wanted the castle built so that she could continue to woo a dashing young astronomer that she was in love with. The idea was the top of the tower would be a place that she and the astronomer could *ahem* gaze at the stars together on clear nights.

Regardless of why it was built I wouldn’t mind seeing the Broadway Tower in person and exploring whatever rooms it might have. I wonder if this is one of those places that once you get inside it’s bigger than you’d expect or if it would live up to the first impression of being the smallest castle in the world.

What do you think, would you visit the Broadway Tower if you had the chance?

March 5, 2013
Travel Philosophy

Right Before The Plane Lands

View through a plane window while landing showing a mass of city lights to the travelers.Randomly saw this picture on Tumblr the other day and immediately a rush of memories washed over me from all the times I sat on a plane and looked out on a view much like this one.

The plane is nudging this way and that, trying to orient itself to the airport’s runway. Rows of amber city lights bob in the little windows, there’s people down there but you can see them. Instead it all seems like one giant living thing with sparkling streetlights for veins.

The passengers in the plane stir in their seats and sleepily start into their own bit of orienting.

Buttoning back tray tables, smoothing out their wrinkled clothes, checking phones for who knows what. Basically it’s all rituals to busy themselves while mentally preparing to enter into this other place, whatever it means to them.

After all, once the threshold of the plane is crossed a whole mass of new sounds, sights, smells, experience will wash over you all at once… you’ve got to get your game face on.

March 2, 2013
Travel Activities

Buying Tickets For A Random Flight

Picture of the front of an airport with the words Go into an airport and buy tickets for a random flight - to do before I die.

I’ve seen this resolution on a lot of people’s bucket lists over the years and I gotta admit that it’s a pretty intriguing idea to me.

I imagine that the chances of this working out drastically increases with the amount of money that you have to burn lol, but I think it would be a fun experiment regardless.

What do you think, does this sound fun or is it too scary?

March 2, 2013
Destinations

Travel By Tiger To A Hidden Monastery

Picture of a Buddhist monastery on the side of a mountain.Imagine what it would feel like to turn a corner out on some hiking trail and then suddenly see this amazing building in the distance.

Like something out of a strange dream, the white walls seem to have grown right out of the sheer cliffs of the mountain. What a scary adventure it must have been for the people who hauled the materials up the mountainside and then build this place.

And maybe even pretty scary for the people who live there now, those golden rooftops sit right under boulders that look ready to break off at any moment!

When I first saw this picture I immediately thought it was some Buddhist monastery in Tibet, which ended up being a pretty close guess. Turns out it’s a Buddhist monastery in Bhutan and is known as the Tiger’s Nest Monastery.

The unusual name comes from a legend that says the founder of the monastery flew from Tibet to that spot on the mountainside on the back of a tigress. He then did some intense meditation in one of the caves there and afterwards emerged in 8 incarnated forms, making the site a holy place for Buddhists and devotees of the guru.

I’m not sure exactly what 8 incarnated forms means but maybe that’s what you need to survive living on the edge of cliffs like that. I don’t have a magic tiger but I’d definitely visit that monastery if I had the change, if only just to see what it looks like on the inside and meet the people who live in such a magical environment.

(Picture by Soham Banerjee, thank you.)

March 2, 2013