What does the name Prague conjure up in your mind? I last visited Prague in 1996, with 60+ teenagers in tow, as part of a music centre tour of the Czech Republic when I was conductor of a wind band. I remember the main historic sites, the Charles Bridge, and Prague Castle, which really disappointed my 7-year-old son at the time as it doesn’t look anything like a traditional castle as the Brits know it! That trip is a bit of a blur to me, and it was wonderful to be able to revisit it for 3 days at the end of August this year and actually visit museums and take our time.
It was surprising to me actually how much I remembered from that tour. It’s an extremely busy city for tourists, with large numbers of visitors, but less than a mile out from the historic Old Town, on the other side of the Vlatava on very good tram and underground systems, the prices were almost half and the clientelle mostly Czech.
The highlight for me was the visit to the Prague Museum. We weren’t able to visit here in our last whistle-stop tour, so it was a new experience for me. The whole museum was interesting, but for me the minerals are one of the highlights. The lighting is none too good, but some of my images have turned out remarkably well. Minerals, to me, are the world in microcosm. The colours, the forms, the combination of textures and lines, geometries of stones and crystal growth are endlessly fascinating.
My attention span in museums varies enormously. Sometimes I get so absorbed that I can spend hours in one area, and other times I have to take a break to re-charge my batteries. Being with my husband this time, I knew that I would have to move pretty fast (his attention span is way less than mine in museums) so I zoomed round. If I had had more time, I would probably have spent more time with the minerals, but it was good also to get impressions of an area.
One of the lovely surprises were the sudden modern exhibitions found in a corridor or in a corner of a room. One featured photography by two makers, one of whom did traditional photographs, and the other, Ivan Wild, processes his images through Photoshop. Some of the effects he achieved echoed the minerals. Unfortunately, I can’t find anything about him online and there wasn’t any contact info with the exhibition (at least that I could find!)
On the third day we were there, the weather changed from cloudless hot sunny days to threatening storms. The clouds were tremendous, and called to mind some more of the minerals I’d seen. The more I travel, and the more I look around me, the more I am aware of how interconnected everything is, and if we think we are separate from everything, we are merely kidding ourselves.
I am back rejuvenated, after a summer of travel, work, connecting with people and with nature. What I must keep in mind is that everything I do, everything I see, whether I know it consciously or not, is connected to everything else. I must be mindful of my impact on the world, as well as nature’s impact on me.