September 30, 2007

CONTEMPORARY ALCHEMY


Prague Castle, like most everything else connected to tourism in Prague midsummer, was too crowded. My guidebook warned me to get there early. Instead I spent part of the morning exploring the once funky, hidden-in-the-hill neighborhood above the castle. I was shown around by an older Czeck woman and her daughter I met by chance while asking for directions to the castle. They were delightful and happy at the opportunity to practice their English.

It was difficult even finding where to pay the entrance fee to the castle complex. The audiotour I purchased with the hope it would provide structure to my visit was so detailed, or perhaps poorly done, it left me more rather than less disoriented. I was more than relieved when my due diligence was complete and holes had been punched adjacent to the five or so sites included on my entrance ticket.

I continue to feel out of sorts even after my unofficial sightseeing ended. My rather pleasureless wandering in the gardens behind the castle was punctuated by two sights that at least momentarily pulled me from my funk. One was of a striking couple, both very thin and willowy, dressed alike and all in black. They fit together so well they seemed like twins--- like adjacent puzzle pieces. The other was of a nun dressed entirely in white walking meditatively halfway down the long peaceful grassy slope that went from the palace gardens back to the town.

Heading away from the crowds, I took an obscure wall-lined backroad down from the castle. I was not sure where it would lead, but the views were lovely and I hoped for the best.

Halfway down---there was the twin-like couple. They were peering intently through a gate, the woman taking pictures. My camera was ready and I took several shots of them.


I was intrigued by the idea of capturing this fascinating couple taking pictures of something unknown. They finished their shooting and moved on. Delighted to have caught them on film I forgot about everything else. Only when I came level with the gate did I remember the mystery. This is what they were looking at.


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