We will never forget the first time we met Château de Gudanes. It took every ounce of herculean strength to part her grand iron gates. They creaked and moaned as the ivy which had long clung to them was torn apart. Slowly, we pushed the sides of the gates outwards and towards two cracked and crumbling stone pillars cemented with the same ivy, twisting and turning this way and that. Until finally, setting one foot down crossing a threshold into a whole new world…
My romantic imagination was simply and willingly swept away and for more than a moment I believed that we had fallen deliciously into a scene out of a Jane Austen novel. Nothing was missing - neither the grand castle, nor the remoteness of the site, nor the thick woods filled with birdsong.
I could see clear in my mind the black manes of horses swinging in unison from side to side, and the clop of slow stepping hooves as snow white carriages ambled down the grand avenue ushered by the flickering fire of torchlight held by brass-buttoned footmen...
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