Why Dover Castle Is Cooler Than Other Castles

Wow. Were medieval rooms really this… colourful? I tipped my head quizzically, as though I thought a new angle would correct what spread before me. Vibrant red, blue and gold encircled the room. It hung from the walls, sprawled across the floor and extended toward me on islands of furniture.

“Colour was expensive. Only the homes of nobles and royalty would have been adorned in these rich colours,” my partner, J, said over my shoulder.

And yet, right then, vibrancy floated freely around the room on the backs of the modern visitors to this medieval scene.

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Bangkok to Vientiane, Laos

If it’d been a western movie a tumbleweed would have bounced through the scene. The sun was trying its best to beat the heat into the ground. The difference between light and shade was so strong we two foes seemed to be enclosed in a hallway of dark tones. I eyed the border control officer through the small window. He looked up from his seated position, his gaze unmoving and unfazed. I twitched.

Then I clawed for my wallet and slapped 1,800 baht on the counter. A hand slipped out, swept up the money and the small window quietly, unhurriedly rolled close.

I started grumbling at the sky.

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Wat Phumin, Nan, Thailand

When I first laid eyes on Wat Phumin I saw a fortress within which the quiet denizens of the area could seek sanctuary. Even with a bustling textile fair throwing clamoring bids and chatter about, and a fashion-show blasting music right across the way—the merriment couldn’t breach the temple’s grounds.

The two rolling serpent creatures, or nagas, upon which the temple seemed to rest—looked as though they were holding back the din, biting the air clear of noise and careless speech.

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