Oh the Hora!

Trip Start Aug 20, 2011
Trip End Oct 29, 2011

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Well, I've been told that I'm not boring, so here you go...

Last night I acquired two new room mates, and another one today.  That's all well and good except when I got out of the shower tonight, one of them was vomiting into a plastic bad by her bed, but I'm getting a head of myself.

It was another early morning, after a not so restful night's sleep.  I wake up a lot.  And the bed/bedding is perfectly comfortable, and it's not noisy here.  Just got things going on I suppose.  Anyway, bright and early I get up to make a sandwich for lunch and eat some breakfast.  Both of those turned out to be breakfast.  Then I headed out to the train station.  I had such a good run at the local transport system yesterday I thought I would give a day trip a try (also, I was already planning on doing this today).  The main train station here in Prague is large... very large.  Now it might not seem that big to someone who lives where there is more than one train a day, but I don't.  Thankfully many of the signs were also in English, so I eventually found my way and then I was off to Kutna Hora.

When I got off the train, armed with my notebook and then map that I had glued into it, I headed off walking to the first sight to see.  My first stop was the Church of the Assumption of Our Lady (big name, big-ish church).  It was a church, it was churchy.  Lots of shrines and paintings and what-have-you.  When I arrived outside, after taking a picture of the outside of the church, this man who has just arrived with a lady I'm assuming is his wife, tells me that they had just followed me, assuming that I knew where I was going (it's a small town and there are only two sights near the trains station).  Apparently, he had thought that I was Asian, and therefore I must've known where I was going... not sure what he meant by that, that Asian people would be prepared?

After the church I headed over to the main reason people visit the town, the Sedlec Ossuary.  It used to be a monastery, but was bought and redecorated in 1870.  A local woodcarver used the bones of 40,000 people(from the crypt) to decorate the interior of the building.  There are bones EVERYWHERE!  The central chandelier is said to contain at least one (in some cases MANY) of each bone in the human body.

Once done there, I walked into town (~2-3km) and started poking around.  It's a small town so in that sense it felt very different from Prague, but at the same time, it's incredibly touristy and I assume that everyone I see doesn't actually live there.  I saw another church and some statues.  I stuck my head into the mining museum (silver mining is the reason this town existed in the first place) but decided to keep going,  I wasn't in the mood for a mining museum, even though I hear it's pretty good.  I headed straight to the one remaining sight on my list, the Cathedral of Saint Barbara (the patron saint of miners, because it's a mining town, remember?).  It looks pretty awesome for the outside, and inside is still pretty grand, but it was... churchy.  I'm a little churched out apparently, which is fine with me.  It had shrines, paintings, stained glass... pews, altar, etc.

Next I wanted to go see the old town walls (may as well) but the street I was going to take was under construction so I went a differently way.  I went to see the stone fountain, but it was also having some work done to it.  Then I proceeded to get lost for 20-30 minutes, and once I figured out where I was, decided that it was time to head back to the train station.  Since it took a while to walk from the station at the beginning of the day, I took the one and only local bus line to the station.

Once back in Prague I decided it was time for me to climb the Old Town Hall Tower (after stopping for some water, it's so hot!)  Since my guide book seems to like counting the steps in these towers, I was a little confused as to why it didn't mention it.  Turns out a large portion of the tower was a ramp, so that solve that not-so-intriguing mystery.  There was also and elevator, but I think that's cheating, so I only took it on the way down (because it looked kind of cool).  The view was great, but the breeze!  OH THE WONDERFUL BREEZE!

Once I left, I headed across Charles Bridge (which is insane that time of day, it's hot, it's crowded and it's full of stands and a few buskers.  Think the Inner Harbour in Victoria only hotter, more crowded, and if you only wanted to get through to the other side) and back into the Lesser Quarter to find the John Lennon Wall.  It's a wall of John Lennon inspired graffiti that is constantly being added too.

The final thing I did today was I headed over to ride the funicular up to Petrin Hill.  The funicular is part of the local transit system so my 3-day pass worked for that as well.  Unfortunately the person in front of me was the cut off for the funicular that arrives shortly after I got there, meaning I now had to wait inside for the next one.  It was HOT in that station!  After the funicular I walked up the Petrin Tower (a mini Eiffel tower up on a hill).  Lonely Planet tells me that there are 299 steps, I only counnted 297, but I did lose track once and guessed... so maybe that doesn't count (while we are having fun counting steps, there are 73 from the ground floor of my hostel to my room, 88 if I start in the basement where the computers and kitchen is).  Again I took pictures from somewhere high, but I soon came down as it's enclosed and the breeze isn't great up there.  Then I walked for a bit through the trees, it was so nice and peaceful being all alone without the crowds.  Then I sat.  Yes I sat.  I was tired (SO MUCH walking), there were benches (and there are NEVER benches when I want them) in the shade, with a breeze, an amazing view and very few people.  I had no choice.  The walk back to the hostel was longer than expected, and super crowded.  A pistachio ice cream bar helped a little, but not enough for my tired feet.  Back at the hostel I took a shower and then was greeted back in my room by that room mate I mentioned at the beginning.  And there we are.
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