No. 2 A Glimpse Into the Church: Prague

“The gilded spiral
Of longings within.
Our very own cathedral
That points persistently to heaven.” 
~ Scott Hastie
Snapshot 2. Sneaking Into Side Doors
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   St. Vitus Cathedral. A stunning Gothic church replete with arching buttresses, the frames of the church curving around its gray-stained, sandy base. Sharp vicious spires jutting up towards the sky with ragged edges catching and snagging bits of clouds, the gargoyles hanging maliciously from the sides of the building.
     I arrived too late in the afternoon to get an entrance ticket to the church, so I just walked around the building, attempting to take pictures from every angle. Turns out that I was there too late in the afternoon to get entrance tickets to any of the museums and sights at Prague Castle, save the Golden Lane which is free and open to the public past 5pm. But when I walked down to the Gothic floor of one of the castles and asked the elderly gentleman there collecting tickets if it was too late to get a ticket and how much did one cost? He took the sleeve of my jacket in his hand and gave me a little push down the ramp into the exhibition. “It’s too late to get a ticket,” he said with a wink. “Just go, but don’t tell anybody, ok?” Then he made a little shooing motion with his hand as I turned around to thank him.
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    The Gothic floor exhibition was everything dark and mysterious – glass cases containing dug up graves, skeletons folded in the dirt, the bones bowed, sunken into the ground, surrounding precious artifacts, possessions of daily life. Stories of the medieval feasts, victories of kings and knights, precious jewels preserved for centuries glinting dangerously in the dimly lit hallways, blinking and shining with all the force of centuries past. After wandering darkened hallway after hallway in the Gothic floor, the eeriness began to creep into the damp atmosphere, and I was ready to leave, emerging suddenly into the partly cloudy, dreamy atmosphere of the square surrounding the cathedral.
    As I made my way around the massive cathedral once more, a group of guys was also walking alongside the building, stopping to take pictures of the gargoyles, the darkened, stained doorways. A sunken archway introduced an oak-paneled doorway, decorated with intricate iron spirals and ornaments, and one of the guys went up to it, testing the handle on the off-chance that the door would open. To everybody’s surprise, the door gave, swinging silently open, and all of us, giddy and nervous tiptoed up to the door and quietly snuck in, each person turning around to give the “shh” sign to the next person coming in. And all of a sudden, we were inside. The ornate and majestic interior of the church reflecting still the Gothic exterior, darkened gray and deep red, golden yellows and hazy purples of the stained glass reflecting off of the stone façade. Our hushed breaths growing more daring once inside the church, quick steps in as fast as possible, before all too quickly, the church elders noticed us and ran over, shaking their heads and shooing us back out of the door, our swift adventure over almost as soon as it had started.
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