Strange Sights

Trip Start Apr 04, 2007
Trip End Oct 22, 2007

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Friday, July 27, 2007

We woke up this morning and headed out the door fairly early for the bus station only to just miss our bus to the Bone Church, which seemed to have left 10 minutes early (!?!). We ended up waiting at the bus station for another hour for the next bus to come, and then endured the hour and a half bus ride in a fairly sauna-ish condition. We finally arrived in Kutna Hora, a UNESCO World Heritage town, and found a nearby grocery store for some lunch before we headed off.

After a wee walk we hit up the 'Bone Church', which looked like a cute little church with a very new graveyard outside of it. Once you walked inside it was very... macabre. Filling the room were giant bone chalices, bones ringing all of the arch ways, bones strung along the ceiling, four giant bone pyramids, a bone crest, and the huge bone chandelier made out of every bone in the human body. Skulls stared back at you from every direction with a few paintings on the open spaces and a crucifix at the back end of the church. It was incredibly fascinating but it didn't feel like a church, just a very macabre museum of some sort.

Strangely though, the English language paper we were given on the church really emphasized the theological aspect of it all. We wondered about using human bodies in such a way and if it was disrespectful or 'art' as the monks had tried to make it, but what really struck us as a bit hypocritical was that they reburied the remains that they didn't use. Maybe they just didn't have anywhere else to put them, but it still struck us as odd. If you are wondering about how they got all of the skeletons in the first place, the church was of no real importance until a cleric from the church brought back some dirt from Golgotha, (the place where Christ was supposed to have been crucified) where he had been sent on a Holy mission, and sprinkled it on the ground around the church. All the sudden, everyone wanted to be buried there.

Next came a big plague, and at that point the graveyard was already more than full so they started removing the old bodies to make room for the new ones and stacking the old ones inside the chapel. Right, so a bunch of skeletons just sitting around and what to do with them. One monk decides the church looks a little sparse and starts to decorate. So there you have it!

We headed back into town, which was mostly non-event except for a large number of fancy churches and cathedrals for such a small area, and checked out a few of them. Most were closed but we had a walk to one down a street that was lined with statues down one side with a beautiful view over the surrounding countryside.

The weather was scorching with the huge heat waves sweeping across Europe, so we were feeling pretty spent and craving some shade. We headed back towards the bus station and stopped for water and ice cream, which turned out to cause us to be about 2 minutes late for our bus that would have taken us back to Prague. The next bus wasn't for an hour and a half, so we walked around for a little bit more and chilled beneath some park trees.

The trip back had a bit of a dodgy bus driver and he ended up dropping us at a station on the outskirts of Prague instead of at the central bus station that we had left from. Slightly disoriented and confused, we blessed Prague's simple metro system and managed to find our way back. By then we had used up most of the day. We took a break for dinner and hung out at the hostel for a bit, talking with the other backpackers and chilling. Plans came about to head out with a group of people later, but we had plans the next morning to walk up fairly early again for travel, so we didn't want to head out too late. The time for going out came and went and still nothing was happening so we both headed out alone and looked around at the lights of the city and the night vibe of Prague. Sadly... it was pretty dead. We covered a fair few streets and passed a fair few bars, pubs, and a casino, and there was nothing going on. Every place was dead quiet and almost empty. A little disappointed, we headed back to the hostel for a good nights sleep.

All our best from the Czech Republic

Dan and Gabrielle
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