Being brought up in New Zealand I had always longed to visit real castles and see real crusader fortifications. At Acre I found the jackpot.
This underground castle was amazing. Because it had been neglected for centuries and then carefully restored it retained the freshness of a recently built crusader castle. Add to this, that Richard the Lion-heart actually walked where I was walking and it was all just magic. The beautiful walls hung with colourful banners, the simple lines and flagstone floors were stunning. The cool of the rooms after the blazing sun was most inviting.
Over the years I have made a study of the Crusaders, their history, their journeys and their castles. Following them across the Middle East, Europe and into Spain I have a collection of sites visited. Some still contain mysteries and others every stone has been tumbled. For society which occupied quite a small span of history they remain strong in folklore.
There are many crusader castles in the Middle East some in ruins, some strong and impressive but Acre remains my favourite.
Mandy has been a tour leader with Tours Direct for over 15 years. She has a wealth of experience and never gets tired of travelling to old and new destinations.