My mother complains as we walk up, and up, and up the hill toward the castle giving me the adult version of “are we there yet?” It is a long way up, but really, not that steep. There are supposedly horse drawn carriages which will take people almost to the top (no cars allowed) but we don't see any the entire walk up. Later, we discover the pick up point is near the parking lot at the bottom of town. I think it's $6 per person.
As we walk up the hill we pass a man with full dark beard, dressed in medieval garb with a full sized owl on his arm. The owl sits there looking stoic and slightly sleepy, while the man stands, calling out "one euro, one euro!", waiting for people who would like to have their picture taken with the owl on their arm. There is a sign in three languages saying that the money raised here goes to support “handicapped owls”.
I look at the man and ask (referring to the owl), “Is he handicapped?”
He replies, “Yes, handicapped, one euro”, holding out the leather arm cover and the bird.
“No”, I say, “can he fly?”
“Fly, yes, one euro”.
Hmmm…how does that work? What we have here folks is a failure to communicate.
I decline the photo op, slightly irritated by the guy who is maybe just out for a buck (or euro), uncertain as to whether or not the bird is being exploited, and not wanting to contribute to it. Looking back on it, I slightly regret my decision, as I would have liked to be able to hold the owl up close.