OPINION: A view from the clouds

Students from St Cloud University in Minnesota who are studying in Alnwick Castle give an insight to their life away from home.

Every season, thousands flock to Alnwick to see one of its main attractions, Alnwick Castle.

Established in 1085, the castle has gone through many changes in its life to become not only a beautiful home but the tourist attraction it is today.

The castle opens its doors for all to visit and learn about its rich history. St. Cloud State University students get a rare glimpse into events and parts of the castle that not many get a chance to see.

When St. Cloud State University students first arrived at Alnwick castle, all were amazed by its splendour and glory and living here took a little time to get use to; now it’s become their temporary home. In this writer’s observations, the week before the castle opened was filled with the flutters of dozens of people working to get the castle ready for opening day.

Many people have an important role in making the opening of the castle and the season run smoothly.

When the castle opened this week, it was like a whole new world; far from the quiet serene environment it was two weeks ago. When I asked St. Cloud State students about the opening of the castle, Tucker Harrison said: “The castle has had a completely different atmosphere since the tourist season began. Its more lively and eccentric than it was before.”

The Castle has much to offer its visitors, from the spectacular state rooms, tours of the lost cellars, museums and historical artefacts and even broomstick training and jester shows. It has something for both children and adults. Even the St. Cloud students have brought out their inner children with the Knight’s Quest experience. “Being the Duke has left, AJ, Blake, Mitch, and I went on a quest to become knights to help protect the castle while the Duke is away.

So we went to Knight’s Quest to become knighted. Now the castle is safe,” Sir Erik, Knight of Alnwick.

The Castle is beautiful to say the least; the state rooms are, in a word, magnificent. The ceilings and chandeliers are worth the visit, and the carved wood designs and intricate details of the ceilings are mind blowing.

The entrance hall is full of medieval weapons and swords arranged into very artistic designs and wall pieces.

The grand staircase walls are made of marble, granite and other natural stone that gives it a look of elegance. St. Cloud State University student Wes Wyberg said “I really enjoyed seeing parts of the castle that we were not originally able to see when the duke was around.”

The opening of the castle has definitely brought a boost to the town of Alnwick as well, local businesses which the St. Cloud State students frequent have been busier than normal and are reporting a boost in business from the influx of people to Alnwick.

“It’s pretty cool to see all the changes to Alnwick and the castle when the season begins and it will be hard to say goodbye in just a few short weeks,” said St. Cloud student Mitch Geislinger.

by Tracy Hennen