Travel Talk

Published on April 30th, 2013 | by Ann Rickard


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

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 leaning on the marble columns.hearst Castle

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.

Hearst Castle

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About the Author

is a Noosa (Australia) local and author of six successful books, all humorous travel narratives. In 2005 Ann won the prestigious ASTW’s Australian Travel Writer of the Year and in 2007 she won the ASTW Travel Book of the Year. Ann takes a culinary tour to the South of France in June every year . Ann writes travel, dining and columns for the Sunshine Coast Daily and is the Life editor of the Noosa News. Ann also maintains a well read and popular blog site. Ann’s travels have seen her explore cuisines all over the world.

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