Days of Wonder, Carcassonne France

20 May 2013

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Have you ever wondered who first patterned the art of castle making? I mean there are so many castles throughout Europe that are century upon century of years old, and that only accounts for the ones that still remain standing. Years ago, just think of how many castles there were…A LOT. The unique thing about castles is that everyone is different, yet many of them retain similar features. These similarities make me think that someone first came up with the castle prototype, which was built and proved to be effective and after that people started “borrowing” this prototype to build fortresses of their own. Soon castles were being built all over, all with features mimicking that of the prototype, but modified to fit the needs of their environment and city. Towers, draw bridges, high ground, arrow loops, murder holes, etc.. all the castles had these, some just in different forms. It is interesting to think about what our history would of been like if castles were not chosen as the main form of living in this time period… Without this protection would people of survived the conquering of other nations? Some person or persons with brilliance, creativity, and I like to think inspiration designed the castle prototype that went on to bless thousands and millions through the century.

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I am glad that we have had other innovative minds that have brought us from the castle era to modern living, but I still enjoy bringing myself back to these Midevil times to pretend what it would be like to live in that era. Carcassonne was one of those moments, when I could explore a different period of history hands on and eat, breathe, walk, and sleep where the people of the Carcassonne castle did years ago. I believe the fortress was built by Charlemagne in the 1200s, as a place of protection and comfort to his people.

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We completed our long train rides this morning to our exciting destination of Carcassonne. Up until a few months ago, I did not realize that this was an actual place. I only new of it as a board game that was loads of fun to play, and boy was I missing out on what it really was. Carcassonne is an old walled city, a type of castle fortress that was built in the 1200s. For a city it is small, but for a castle-it is huge! It is just inland of the Southern French coast and is about 4 hours from Barcelona.

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When you arrive at the Carcassonne station, you must walk through the lower town to reach the base of the Midevil Walled-City. It is about a 15 minute walk, but as you breeze through town you will see beautiful glass and stone stores, smell freshly backed bread and pastries and the bakery, and see beautiful shops lining the cobblestone streets. The walk up to the castle is beautiful, as like most fortresses, it is situated up on a hill so you have a perfect view of it as you ascend it’s foregrounds. It is possible to walk the castle walls all the way around as well as around the entire outside of the castle. We did both and it was absolutely gorgeous. As we walked around the outside of the castle I ran into a lady from Northern England who taught me to make headbands out of daisies, look at my creativity go! We were able to spend quite a lot of time inside the city browsing through shops

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My family loves to play games and over the past couple of years we have discovered the “Days of Wonder” brand that puts out numerous European board games. Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, St. Petersburg, and Carcassonne are just a few that we have chosen as our favorites. It was really neat to be able to actually see the city that the game was modeled after… The beautiful Midevil city of Carcassonne also plays as the model castle for the Disney classic Sleeping Beauty. I love disney movies, and it is fun to see how a lot of them are based off of true stories and/or real places.

We visited the walled city two times, one in the late morning and another in the early evening. Because of the train situation we were unable to get a train to Barcelona tonight and instead have to postpone until tomorrow, arriving in the magnificent Spanish city at noon and ready to see all of Gaudi’s great architecture!

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