Day 67: The Bone Church

Trip Start Oct 17, 2013
Trip End Mar 22, 2014

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Monday, December 23, 2013

We woke up to a good breakfast and a beautiful day. It was almost so nice out that we did not need our hats on or our jackets zipped up. I wish the weather for the rest of our time in Europe would be this nice. I believe that John mentioned a TV tower with babies crawling up and down it in yesterday's post. We took a closer look at the tower this morning and have better pictures of the giant babies that are made to look like they are climbing up and down the giant tower. It is a weird art installation if you ask us, but interesting none the less.

After the baby tower we made our way through town, across the river and had our sights set on a large hill. The hill has a set of old castle stairs running all the way up it. Along the way the stairs intersect with old parts of the castle (I think). The actual stairs were closed but there were a ton of walking trails that took you up the hill. We made it almost to the top. We could have made it to the top but we wanted to catch a certain train and we did not know if we would have enough time to climb and descend.

We took the noon train out to a small town called Kutna Hora. It is or was a silver mining town. The main attraction is the Kostnice or Ossuary. It is also known as the bone church. Basically an important man sprinkled soil from the holy land of Jerusalem around this church a long time ago. People believed that the land was now super special and everyone wanted to be buried here. People from all across Europe fought for spots in the cemetery. Many people from the plague were also buried here. Then when they ran out of room the bones were collected from the ground and placed along side the outside of the church. A semi blind monk started to move them inside the church. Finally another man decided to make the bones into artful creations. He stacked bones on top of one another to created pyramids that are 15 feet high, chandeliers that are made of all the bones in the human body and other stings of skulls and bones. It was small but packed with the bones of almost 40,000 people. I really liked the stings of skulls that lined the ceilings and the special skull case that highlighted skulls of warriors that died of head trauma. The pictures will do a better job of explaining what the church really looked like.

When we had our fill of the bones we made the half hour walk into the actual town. It was super cute, just like Prague. The houses are all painted in pastels and none of the paint is chipping or worn. All the streets are cobblestone and all the shops have cute little signs. It is a bit like walking down Main Street in Disney World if Disney World would make a Polly Pocket section (you know, the toy with the small doll that was popular like 18 years ago). We saw a big church and then an even bigger church a little father away. We were at just the right time to see the sun set behind the giant church and it was really pretty. Even with the sun down the temperatures were still springlike.

We made the long walk back to the train station in time to make the 5pm train back to Prague. We were the only people in the first class car. Ballers. In the Prague station we found the first class lounge. What a let down. There was no food, no drinks and no bathroom. Just some chairs in an over heated place. Oh well, I guess they all can't offer beer and gummy bears. At least we know we don't have to rush to the station tomorrow when we leave.

Back in Prague we made dinner and took care of some internet things. John wanted to go see the Old Town lit up at night. We basically walked the same route we did yesterday but this time at night. We saw the main Christmas tree all lit up, the castle that looks like Harry Potter's castle and the Mall. We only went in the mall to warm up a little bit. There were so many people shopping there and John and I were thankful that we didn't have to do any shopping. We eventually made our way down to the river. We crossed over one bridge and back over the Charles bridge. We thought that we could make it to the Astronomical tower in time to see the skeleton ring the bell again but we got pretty lost in the little crooked side alleys. We came out on some main street about 15 blocks from where we intended to be. Thank goodness there was a city map on the corner and we could figure out how to get back to the main square. The streets are hard to navigate because the buildings are tall and block out any kind of point of reference in the sky. Needless to say, we missed the bell ringing. Everything was starting to close up in the Christmas market so we decided to follow suit and head back to the hostel.

We have plans tomorrow to finish the climb up the hill with the castle stairs... either that or climb a different hill to a pretty building that we noticed tonight with a bunch of lights on it.

We will be spending Christmas eve in the beer making city of Pilsen here in the Czech Republic. We think we have a hotel reservation, but we are not sure because everything is in Czech. This might be the first time we encounter a place where English is not spoken.

# of countries: 19
# of cities: 43
# of planes: 3
# of trains: 80
# of buses: 15
# of taxis: 2
# of beers: 51 (Branik and Staroprmen)
# of monies found: 6.50 Euros, 8.05 Peruvian soles, 5 cents American, 10 cents Bolivian, 1 cent Canadian, 15 Swiss Francs, 11 Czech Republic Korunas, 5 Croatian Lipas, 2 Hungarian Fillers (no longer in use), 10 Romanian lei
# of times we did laundry: 3
# of languages we know how to say Butterfly in: 12
# of holes in Amberīs sneakers: 3
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Cheryl and dad on

The pictures are beautiful and eerie at the same time. Amazing what people will do I guess. Enjoy the ride to Pilsen and enjoy the beer! Status quo at home, won't be Christmas without you guys. If you are in a place on Christmas Day to Skype we will leave ours up all day just in case. Love you both, enjoy Christmas Eve.
Love dad and Cheryl

Mom on

We really appreciate you two taking the time to update us every day. Just wanted to thank you cause we know how tired you must be from all the sight seeing you are doing! We are so glad you are doing this now though! It will be a great memory to say you celebrated Christmas in (name the spot) one day! Loving and missing you so very much! Continue your safe, amazing travels!

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