A Travellerspoint blog

Czech Republic

Day 53, Prague

sunny 21 °C

a chandelier made from every bone in the body
We slept in this morning and hurried to catch the 1000 train to Kunta Hora. We scarfed our breakfast and caught the tram. When our train arrived we scampered on board. The cabin soon filled up and suddenly we were sitting with a family, amongst others. We chatted them up for a while, they were from Spain, close to San Sebastian where we had been. They had a really cute little girl and her grandpa was traveling with them. The family was quite out going and easy to talk to. When our train got to Kutna Hora we helped them find our connection train to another station. This is where we said good-bye.
We turned to the right and set in for our walk. We arrived 3km later at Sedlec Ossuary. This is a church decorated with the bones of over 40 000 skeletons. It was very cool. The story says that head of the monastery in Sedlec was sent to the Holy Land and returned with a pocketful of soil. He sprinkled it on the cemetery and people flocked here to die. During the plague thousands and thousands were buried here. Eventually they decided to built a church in the center of the cemetery and a few hundred years later the displaced bones were used as decoration. It has been this way now since 1870. We loved it! It was a very cool place to see.
We walked back to the old town in Kutna Hora. After quite some time, passing an impromptu market, we found the place we had in mind for lunch. We drank out 20 crown beer quickly. The food was amazing! Lard dumplings and fritters stuffed with prunes! We even tried to Czech crepes, yum! The last thing we wanted to see before we left was St Barbara’s Cathedral. This place was beautiful. It has lots of flying buttresses and peaked roofs. St Barbara is the patron saint of the miners and so there are murals on the walls dating back to the 15th century! There were confessional pews and choir benches from the 1600s!! (We touched them...don’t tell)
We wandered back down to the train station to catch a train to the main train station. Waiting on the main platform was actually quite nice, there wasn’t that much traffic, the wind was rustling and the birds singing. The train back to Prague seemed a lot shorter, but that may have been because I couldn’t keep my eyes open. We grabbed some sausage while we transfered trams, dinner for 1.6 euros. We spent the next few hours planning out our next move and packing once again.

Posted by s-a 15:59 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged prague Comments (3)

Day 52, Prague

overcast 22 °C

that guy in the middle plays the trumpet on every hour
We started the morning headed to Prague Castle. We needed to get some food on the way however, so we stopped at a market for some strawberries. Of course what is a picnic without carbs? So we detoured at a bakery where we bought some bread and couldn’t resist the trdelnik they had spinning. It is dough wrapped around a metal bar and spun over an open flame until cooked. It’s doused in sugar and cinnamon and piping hot when you eat it. Delicious!
We walked over Charles Bridge with thousands of other tourists just like ourselves. We heard a few bands play and saw awful people (cough...ameri...cough...cans...excuse me) take pictures of the homeless people groveling with their faces down. Charles Bridge has over 30 statues, which although they have been systematically replaced by replicas since 1965, still look very old. The plaque of one statue in particular is very shiny and well polished in one spot. This is on the statue of St. John of Nepomuk who was thrown off the bridge for not telling what the Queen told during Confession. Touching this is supposed to be good luck, but we didn’t know this. It’s full of vendors and those people who do caricatures and portraits. There was also a group of children(presumably from an art class) scattered around the bridge doing sketches of the bridge and other nearby buildings We walked to the other side and caught a tram to the top of the hill. From here we bought tickets for the Palace.
First we saw the enormous St. Vitus Cathedral. It’s huge and loud but we still enjoyed it. We then ate our lunch and went back for round two with the school groups. We toured the small part of the palace we were allowed to see. Here, in Prague’s history, there are a lot of true stories about people throwing other people out windows. They even have name for it, defenestration. Now this may exist other places but we’ve first heard about it here. The word was even made up after the event that took place in Prague. One of the stories we heard happened in a room we were allowed into in the palace. Kinda cool! There is a painting done of the defenestration in the palace and it’s the same room we were standing in! We could even see where the men fell (not to their deaths mind you, they landed in a pile of manure and survived, which means of course that it was an act of god and they were protected by angels...insert eye roll here.)
We ventured down the Golden Lane, where the many of the castle’s servants once lived. In later days these incredibly small ‘homes’ were rented out until as late as the 1950’s. It was historical but clearly quite romanticized. Cool anyway. The upper floors are where they have a display of early guns, swords, gun-swords and amour on display, which Shane nearly fainted over. Lastly we ventured into the prison where you could see the torture devices used during a person’s imprisonment. Prison wasn’t just prison then, it was brutal, savage and disgusting.
the middle two center windows are where they chucked them out
shield gun!
It took a long time to find some, (that wasn’t priced at 90 crowns a piece!) but our hunt for medovnik (honey cake) was successful! We ate it at a bakery across the street from our room for 25 crowns, or 1 euro. And it was delicious! Once again I am sad to know that I’ll never be able to make it and probably never taste it. But that doesn’t mean I won’t try!!
just about died he was so happy!
There is a underpass close to our place that has two flights of stairs to cross. This has proved to be an issue for many people. The first day we were here Shane carried an old ladies' bags up the stairs so she would manage better with her cane and this day he helped carry a baby stroller down one flight and up another. What an awesome guy I married! We went home and showered before heading out again. We took the tram across the river, to eat dinner at a brewery. The food proved to be very good and the beer even better!
After dinner we took the tram to Charles Bridge. A few people told us that the bridge at night would have hardly anyone one it. I would beg to differ! There were nearly as many people on it after dark as in the morning! We enjoyed some more music as we cross over to the other side. That was it for our night and for the time we would spend in Prague.

Posted by s-a 22:18 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged prague Comments (4)

Day 51, Prague

storm 22 °C

We appeared from our room in our spanking new outfits around the same time as everyone else this morning. We ate a nice breakfast Anna made us together. (Not actually talking, we were at a different table.) Feeling good we left our place for the attractions. We hopped off the tram in front of a camera store. Sweetest camera store ever! We bought a new camera battery charger for 880 Czech crowns. That is 35.2 euros for those who are not good at math, myself included. Far less than we thought it would be, we were pleased.
We sauntered over to the Astronomical clock, the start of our free walking tour. At 1100 sharp the clock started whirling and we saw the quick show you’ll be talked into seeing if you ever come to Prague. I’m not saying it was bad, but for such hype I would think there would be more to it. Anyway, the glory (in my opinion) isn’t in the show but in the history. It’s an astronomical clock from the 1400s meaning that the sun and the moon positioning are calculated around the earth. There is also a clock naming the apostle day of the year. Notable is the popular myth, the maker of the clock, Master Hanus, had his eyes burned out with a hot poker by city councillors after he finished it making it, to prevent him making another more remarkable one in any other city. Hmmmm.
The tour took us around to all the desirable sights and was, once again, a wonderful tour. In the end I came away admiring the Czech spirit and determination. Our tour guide’s mother has lived in 8 different countries in her life, all without leaving Prague. How about that for world traveller! We ended with lunch in the Old town square where we spotted some delicious spit roasting pig. We ended up paying an exuberant amount of money for two pieces. I’m not actually going to tell you how much, it is very embarrassing. Suffice to say that it was a mistake and we ate cereal for dinner. We went (and stayed) home with our tail between our legs.

Posted by s-a 17:01 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged prague Comments (3)

Day 50, Prague

overcast 27 °C

The train pulled into Berlin Central at 0615 and we hopped off. We found our platform and some coffee. When our train departed at 0645 we settled in for a long ride. The train took us through Germany along what I believe to be the Elbe river. Picturesque little towns peaked through the trees and terraced farms sat along the hillsides. When we crossed the boarder from Germany to the Czech Republic the distinction was immediate. The buildings were bigger and run down, the communist era apartment blocks are visible from everywhere. The signs all have little accents here and there and the people look a little more worn.

We got off the train at 1145. Prague looked sunny and cute from the train station so we ventured outside after picking up some Czech crowns. Instead of metros everything in Prague is accessible by tram. In our haste bought really expensive three day tickets and got on. The trains are a mix of old and new and every station is labeled thoroughly (thank goodness!) We made a transfer and finally got to our b&b. It’s not actually classed as a b&b, but as a hostel, however, there are no dorms only private rooms, the breakfast is included and the owner is a very cute little old lady named Anna who is very eager to please. She showed us around on a map and brought us to our room.
We were so happy to be able to unpack! We left to find a quick lunch and some one euros beer! (1 euro! for 500mL!) We came back and showered and left around 1600. We went to Wenceslas Square to do some shopping. Four hours later, at 2000, we finally left with an outfit each. We dropped off our bag and went back out to get milk and eat dinner. While at dinner, as Shane was finishing his last beer, a guy asked to sit down beside us (in an empty restaurant.) Not wanting to be rude we let him and he proceeded to ask and answer incoherent questions. He was very drunk and awkward. Shane said afterward that if he had told us to “chill” one more time he would have punched him. We left quickly.

Unfortunately one bad thing led to another and upon returning home I realized I had left my camera charger in Copenhagen. I swore I wouldn’t be that unlucky person, but here I stand, dumb as a mule. I might have cried myself to sleep.

Posted by s-a 16:54 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged prague Comments (2)

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