What Fresh Hell Is This?
Trip Start Jul 08, 2013
23Trip End Aug 06, 2013
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I had the brilliant idea to go visit the "Bone Church", thinking we'd get a nice trip on an air conditioned train to a smaller, and therefore cooler (what is my reasoning here?!) town. We had a sweet panicked run to the station and barely made it to our local train.
Ah the train. No air conditioning. Mobile sauna. We silently cooked our way through the countryside, faces glistening. Any tiny breeze through the window caused us to sit up and turn like meercats toward whatever brief relief we could get.
We got to Kutna Hora, and hopped on what we hoped was the right bus, into town
The town was deserted. Most stores were closed, as it was Saturday, God's day of cooking sinners, obviously. We went to a tourist office where we found out that we should have walked to the bone church from the train station. We now had to go catch a local train back to the church. No words were spoken as we trudged to that train, mouths grim, elbows and knees dripping. And this was a good idea because...?
Once we finally made it to Sedlec Ossuary, it was as if we'd been through several levels of Hell to get there, so it was only appropriate to be SURROUNDED BY SKELETONS! In the middle ages, Sedlec was a highly desirable place to be buried. In the mid 14th and 15th centuries, casualties of the Black Plague and the Hussite wars made it necessary to find places for the recently deceased. A new gothic church was built later in the 1500s, also requiring room taken up by the dead. To do so, thousands of bodies were exhumed, their bones piled up in the chapel. In the 1800s a woodcarver was hired to stack the bones. He sure went above and beyond his task.
There are said to be the bones of some 70,000 people arranged in this place. There are four huge stacks of bones, artfully placed. There is an altar of bones. A chandelier of bones that includes every bone of the human body. Erin plans to use a picture as a fun activity for her fifth graders. Don't you, Erin?
Macabre. Fascinating. Sobering. There were child skulls. Skulls that had been attacked with weapons. Tiny skull keychains for sale in the gift shop.
This trip led us to an interesting discussion of what we want done with our remains when we die. What we both do NOT want is our skeletons made into decorative tourist attractions.
The rest off the day? Ice cream and more heat. Dinner was amazing pig knuckle in a kitschy Czech restaurant, where we heard "Hotel California", among other American classics.
I've forgotten to tell you how Erin says "check!" to express accomplishment. Example: Do we have our sun lotion? Check! It's funnier here because it sounds like she's saying "Czech!", especially when asking for the bill.