castillos en el aire – ilusiones lisonjeras con poco o ningún fundamento
I wonder how many Spaniards realise that as well as building castles in the air, English speakers also build castles in Spain.
Perhaps more to the point, I wonder why we do.
Brewer tells me that
[…] air-castles were called by the French Châteaux d’Espagne because Spain has no châteaux.
I wonder who told him that yarn.
There are lots of castles here – after all, there’s the whole of Castilla-La Mancha and Castilla y León, which between them cover around a third of the country’s area, and which one can only assume have at least their fair share of castles.
Wales is nearer home and has plenty of castles, too, but imagining a ‘castle in Wales’ doesn’t conjure the fairytale delight of a castle in the air.
Then again, as R.S. Thomas put it, Wales is
A place huddled between grey walls
Of cloud for at least half the year.
and perhaps these fantasies are all about blue-sky thinking.