Published on April 30th, 2013 | by Ann Rickard0
Hearst Castle a delight
Nobody likes bossy signs in resorts or hotels (loathe the words ‘strictly prohibited’) and in my experience they don’t come any bossier than they do at Hearst Castle in California.
“Don’t let my aversion to rules put you off. Hearst Castle is astounding”
Mind you, the place is overtly opulent and includes a marble-lined Netpune swimming pool surrounded by 4th century Roman columns (the real thing) and Egyptian sculptures (also real, 3500 years old.)
There were no laws protecting certain ancient wonders when wealthy newspaper bloke, William Randolph Hearst began building his castle in 1922, so he bought crate loads of ancient artefacts from a New York dealer. Seems hard to believe now, but it is so.
Hearst Castle, high in the hills, about 600m above sea level in San Simeon, is now a popular tourist attraction but to wander its preserved grandeur comes with a guide who won’t let you out of his sight and a list of strict rules hotly ahdered to.
No pets, no strollers, no gum.
No stepping on the carpets.
No touching anything.
No flashing. (As if we would.) (Oh, he’s talking about cameras.)
The rules went on and on.
As we strolled the mansion’s vast halls gasping at ancient tapestries, religious ceilings and French fireplaces which really had no place in California, I accidentally allowed my large toe to step on to the edge of a carpet.
The reprimand was swift and public and could have involved an immediate eviction if it wasn’t for my profuse apologies and promises not to be so disobedient again.
Fortunately, I was forgiven and allowed to continue the tour, and just as well as it ended up in the indoor Roman pool where there was no carpet, just gold inlaid tiles.
Don’t let me and my aversion to rules put you off. Hearst Castle is astounding.
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