Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Gardens and Pools of Hearst Castle

After the Grand Rooms Tour, we ended up back outside of Hearst Castle. Here's another closeup view of the front facade which has quite a Spanish flair.

From the top of the hill, you can get a spectacular view of the ocean, probably one of the main reasons why Hearst had his mansion built up here. The wellhead found here was probably of Italian origin from the 16th century.

A view of a lily pond right outside the entrance to the castle.

A statue of the Three Graces (a copy of the famous sculpture by Canova), representing beauty, charm and joy. Strangely, they are placed in front of a sarcophagus...strange placement...

Some more statues all around the gardens:

Finally, a view of the Neptune Pool. I'll just let the photos speak for themselves as it is definitely one gorgeous addition to the grounds.

Hearst also maintained a tennis court for the use of his guests.

The splendid, indoor Roman Pool is a tiled pool modeled after the ancient Roman baths with mosaic patterns likely inspired by those found in the 5th century Mausoleum of Galla Placidia in Italy. The intense blue and colored mosaics, some of which are made of gold, give off an interesting shimmering effect.

The pool also hosts some statues of the Roman gods, goddesses and heroes off to the side.

Some final views of the pool before heading back to the visitor center.

If you are headed down to Los Angeles after this, it is still a decent 4-5 hour drive so do leave enough time to drive back. If you are headed up to the Bay Area, it can also take a good 4-5 hours due to the twisting and winding turns of California's Highway 1 which will definitely slow you down (if not for safety, then at least the view!), so make sure to leave enough time to head back!

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