Finally I get around to the rest of the Czech adventure. In my
definitely-not-research prior to departure, I read about a place called
the Kutn´a Hora Ossuary. This is something that I couldn’t stand to
keep a secret until we arrived in Prague, so Nathan knew about it
in advance and says he did a little research of his own. It’s a church
located about 1.5 hours outside of the city that’s decorated with thousands and thousands of human bones. Nathan says that it had to do with the Plague, but the plaque on the wall said that the place was
built in the 18th century, so I don’t see how that could be the case.
Then again, Nathan has never been one to let the truth get in the
way of a good story, so perhaps I should take the same approach.

 

The downside of going to see the ossuary was that it meant giving
up a full day in Prague and spending 3 hours on trains/buses. Still,
you don’t get to see a bone church every day, so after acquiring some
fabled Czech pastries and coffee we took off for the train station. Now,
flying by the seat of his pants is basically the only way Nathan knows
how to live his life, and I’ve gotten rather complacent in my travelplans-making (I suppose it was inevitable after I (and my mother) discovered that I wasn’t going to die that one time when I went across
Russia alone to join a cult – a slight exaggeration). So, needless to
say, we arrived at the station with nothing other than the vague
assumption that maybe the bus left from here, and the knowledge
that the bus left from somewhere every hour.
After a good bit of fussing, hitting some buttons at random, a lot
of me pretending to speak more Czech than I do (hint: none, other
than one song about sheep), a trip across the city, and a much-needed
second breakfast for me, we just barely made it onto the city bus that
apparently doubles as regional transport. I suppose the benefit of
using old Eastern European buses for longer-haul commutes is that
after 20 minutes or so, the exhaust leaking in through the windows sedates the passengers. The drawback
of such an arrangement is everything else–that is to say, from the
passenger’s perspective, everything.
I’ve made a couple of snarky comments about the unprepared method
of travel, but at the end of the day, I wouldn’t do it if there weren’t
some benefit in it. If you’re willing to occasionally give up control
over, say, what you eat for lunch or whether your room at the hotel
is really private or is shared with a stranger, you may find that the
element of surprise pays off from time to time. Like that one time
we stumbled off a Czech bus with our heads full of CO and found
ourselves in a UNESCO world heritage site made of cobbled streets
and squares clinging to a craggy hillside, surrounded by farms and a
sparkling river below. Serendipity is sometimes worth the inconvenience.
The tourist office directed us to a ”traditional” restaurant (I suspect
that it was about as traditionally Czech as Outback Steakhouse is
Australian), where we sat at a long wooden table in a stone-floored
hall and shared a dish that the Germans call Eisbein, the Czech call
koleno, and I call ”pork shame.”
Our idyllic day was interrupted when we realized that we’d spent so
long feasting, wandering, and visiting UNESCO sites that we were in
danger of not making it to the ossuary before it closed for the day
(at 4 PM, what even is that?). We hoofed it across town, getting lost
remarkably few times in the winding alleys, and burst through the
door of the church, prepared to beg (”Promínte, prosím, prosím!”)
for entry if necessary. And then serendipity struck again: at some
point during our journey, we had crossed from Central European
into Eastern European Time (”Well,” Nathan said, ”that explains
the weird look they gave us at the restaurant!” 11 AM is probably
not a usual lunchtime in Prague). This has happened to me at least
twice. So far it’s never caused a problem, as it always just means
an extra hour to play. Someday, though, we’ll be traveling west, and
then it’s going to be ugly.
Our curiosity satisfied, we headed back into the town to catch the
train (we’d had enough of the bus, thank you very much). After
a short wander through town and the acquisition of a trdelnik we
turned in early.

 

::NOTE:: originally there was going to be more to this post, as we had the whole next day in Prague. But I waited to write it until I found out what happened to my pictures. I have now located the SD card, and it is in Kentucky, where I, obviously, am not. The trip was a month ago, and really I have no idea what happened anymore. But it was great. Pictures will be posted in August, I guess.

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