A walk round the inspiration for Xanadu

Trip Start May 27, 2009
Trip End Jun 08, 2009

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Flag of United States  , California
Saturday, May 30, 2009

We left the seal beach and headed about 3 miles down the road where we swung into the grounds for Hearst Castle (or San Simeon National Monument as it's also known). We'd booked a tour of the main house from the Hearst Castle website before leaving the UK and it was like nothing I've ever even imagined existed.

The place went on for ages, and that's just the house; the ranch this place sits on stretches out past the horizon, well over the mountains that flank it from the east.

The place was apparently the inspiration for Citizen Kane's palace Xanadu and it's not hard to see why when the guide tells you about the treasures bought or plundered from post WW2 Europe and elsewhere, such as doors from a Spanish Cathedral, a wooden facade made entirely from Teak taken from a Thai temple for part of the main building, and the statues of Egyptian gods from ruins and archeological sites.

The castle was amazing, decadent falls far short of describing the scale of the place and its contents.

My camera ran out of battery about 2 rooms from the end of the tour but I didn't miss much as it was basically a billiard room and a cinema.

We caught the bus back down the 5 mile winding mountain road to the visitor centre, bought some beef jerky made from the Hearst steak ranch cattle, and were off toward Longbeach to visit Stumpy (an old comrade from the Nottingham music scene) and his wife Maz.
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