Possibly one of the reasons why I love being back in Europe is the fact that it is full of old stuff. Generally Australians think that buildings built in the 1800s is soooo old, where as in London at least, that’s the average age of everyone’s house. When you have thousand year old castles and abbeys to compare it to, 150 years really wasn’t that long ago, and I find visiting these buildings from another time utterly awe-inspiring. I find myself wondering who the people who used to live here were like and what their lives would have been, what kind of banter would the guards have thrown around the guardroom as they took an occasional peek out of an arrowslit. Would the ladies have been totally freezing sitting stitching inside a giant hall? What would it have been like to be a monk living in a medieval monastery when you have to get up at 4am for morning prayer and you just can’t be arsed because you stayed up late illuminating last night and Brother Ignatius was snoring again in the cell next to you? All jokes aside, these huge abbeys and castles and towers – always dominating a hilltop or a valley – would have been so incredibly powerful and intimidating to the peasants living in tiny cottages and cabins, and that sense of awe is somewhat lost these days. Every city has its own collection of skyscrapers, they’re always building something bigger and taller and shinier than the last one, so the magic of a structure this impressive is kind of gone now. But these continue to impress and inspire – at least me anyway!