The Chateau is the fascinating spectacle of a chateau, most likely due to its symmetry: its left and righthand sides are each other’s mirror-images. In the upper portion of the picture, a classical provincial castle stands in a garden that appears infinite, among the regularly clipped buxus. The proud proprietor – architect by profession – invites us for a walk, so that we can marvel at the lake made according to his plans before his house. We set off into the garden through the lefthand portal, and reaching the lake, we turn right. Standing at the first staircase, we learn that the owner swims here every morning, and he delights in the reflection of the castle, if the ducks don’t disturb the water. Following the banks of the lake, we arrive at a junction. “Let’s go left, to the enormous vase,” suggests the host. “You don’t even realise, do you, that we are trudging upwards – just take a look down at the column supporting the vase.” And now I see that we really have come higher, without any slope. “Incredible,” I marvel. “This is nothing,” he calls back to me, as I follow him to the next staircase. Glancing down, I am taken aback: the lake is nowhere to be seen, but it is rather as if I were looking up toward the castle from somewhere below. Instead of the ducks, birds fly in the sky. “Just come to the corner, don’t be afraid,” encourages the host, seeing my stupefaction. “From there, you can comfortably survey everything.” From the corner, the path inclines precipitously, and to the right a chasm gapes. From the next bend, once again level, it leads back to the castle, on the other side of the lake. But we are returning to the house just the same way we came. “Have you ever gone completely around the lake?,” I inquire. “I haven’t, myself,” my guide shakes his head, “but not long ago I had mountain climbers come visit, who were able, with their equipment, to get across to the other side. I usually get across to the far side by going in the other direction from the house, but there only until the path does not become too steep.”
I will never forget this marvellous, fascinating and frightening garden stroll.
Bruno Ernst (Hans de Rijk)