Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Afternoon at the Castle

We returned to the castle in time for afternoon activities.  I had signed up for some horseback riding on the grounds.

I hadn't personally signed up for horseback riding.  I'd asked the desk to call down to the equestrian center (as we were on the road to the abbey at the time it opened) and they did that.  They made an appointment and attached it to my room.

This was important because, er, there'd been a small mistake in the reservation, and my room was in the name of "Mr. [my name]" rather than "Ms. [my name]."  I'd never bothered correcting it, thinking it wouldn't matter.  It mattered.  The equestrian center had just sent out a group riding and saved one horse for "the gentleman" from my room.  The horse was so damn tall, I had to stand on two stacked blocks to get up on it.

I had seen the group go out, and, while some of those folks were riding their horses, others were on the horses, while the horses were led by ropes.  That happened to me once before (in Poland) and I'd hated it -- the experience caused me to take a few riding lessons, so that I could avoid that humiliation in the future.  So, when I approached the equestrian center, and the dude asked me my experience with horses, I responded, "How much do I have to admit to in order to not have my horse on a lead?"  And that's when the dude said, "Not much," and added that he was sort of hoping I'd have had enough experience to handle, y'know, a bit of extra height.  

Apollo, actually.  My horse was Apollo.  And I had a lovely ride with my guide Fiona, and her horse, Bramble.  It had rained in the morning, but it had cleared by then, and was downright beautiful.  We had a nice ride, and when we returned to the stables, Fiona put Bramble back, and stood next to Apollo and me for a picture.

I walked back over to the castle.  This hotel actually charges admission -- costs something like five Euros to just walk around the grounds.  Given that the day was so nice and the place was nice enough to charge, I had a little walk behind the castle and took some postcards, I mean, pictures.

I'm not much of a photographer; I know one thing about photo composition (put something in the foreground) and I do it all the damn time.  (Example from this morning I forgot to put in the other post...)

(It works though, doesn't it?  Those flowers down in front give the lake more depth, and the greenery to the right sort of frames it.)

ANYWAY, I tried to take this next shot six different times.  I don't know why, but I thought this particular angle on the lake behind the hotel would work. 

It didn't quite work.  I couldn't put anything in the foreground -- there were some ugly pipes visible, so I needed to start beyond them -- but I really wanted to capture the calmness of the water and the blue of the sky and it just isn't there.  Trust me, though, it was really beautiful.

Aw damn.  I gotta log off and pack.  I need to wake up in about 8 hours to get going tomorrow, and I haven't even started tonight's repacking.

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