Tuesday, October 19, 2010

King of the Hill

IMG_0876One of the items on our bucket list was to see the Hearst Castle, and we made the trip to San Simeon, California yesterday to take the tour.  Believe me, the visit and the tour were so worth it.  What a class act.  Although it seems distasteful to build such an extravagant place during the U.S. Depression in the 1930’s, I have to say I am so glad he did.  In retrospect, the project and maintenance probably provided quite a few jobs, a Stimulus Project, if you will.

IMG_0891The Castle is a hodgepodge of style and artwork from every European country and era.  But, it comes together beautifully.  What was unbelievable to both of us was the art, sculptures (white Carrera marble looked almost translucent in the morning sun) , furniture, tile, and ceilings were original—hundreds of years old—imported from Spain, France, Italy, and other European countries.   Mike rarely likes tours, but he could barely close his mouth, he was so amazed.

Our tour guide was not your typical jokester.  He was suave and sophisticated telling interesting stories about the Castle and people taking the tour over the 37 years he has been on the job.  Many years ago, one of his groups included Cary Grant, who just wanted to see the place again.  How excited our guide must have been that day!

I especially liked the fact that William Randolph Hearst hired a woman architect and builder, something never done during the early part of the 20th century.  This woman was a genius; and more importantly, she had patience…William Randolph was particular and he would frequently change his mind.  Moving a four story concrete wall or tearing out and re-doing a swimming pool the size of a football field is no easy feat.

I could go on and on about the intricate design in the eaves, the manicured gardens, an indoor pool with sky blue and gold (real gold) tile—instead if you have the opportunity, please visit the Castle or at the very least take a look at their website.   http://www.hearstcastle.org/

A magical place on the hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean. 

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