It’s the living who scare me
Trip Start Nov 18, 2013
103Trip End Ongoing
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Before we left for the infamous and mysterious Kutna Hora, we needed to buy our tickets from Prague to Vienna for the next day. The information desk lady had told us to buy them from the Florec station, but the information lady at Florec said otherwise. It was a bit of a wild goose chase, but we finally worked it out ourselves (no thanks to grumpy Czechs), and got our ticket for the next day. All sorted!
We then took the red train to the end of the line (where I had a bad experience involving bathrooms, toilet paper, money and a cranky non-English speaking lady), and caught a bus from Haje to Kutna Hora
Unfortunately the windows were really dirty, but when I could see out of them, I stared into the shadowy Czech forest, hoping I would see a wolf! I glanced over at Joanna and saw she was fast asleep (catching flies), so I took a photo and sent it to her later that day. I think I have revenge coming my way soon…
When we hopped off the bus, it was raining and miserable and we felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. The town looked awful and derelict, we couldn’t find any signs or landmarks and we didn’t have a map. Was it a mistake coming here? Should we have gotten out of bed? We took some stabs in the dark and finally found an information centre and got a map. We felt better already, and walked to Italian Court. This is a palace/museum and was originally the Central Mint of Prague, named after the Italian minting experts who worked there. Kutna Hora used to be a rich town that rivalled Prague because of their profitable silver mining. Unfortunately, it seems when the silver than out, it became a bit of a ghost town.
Out the front of the Italian Court we saw a fat cat that looked like Garfeild who was strutting around like he owned the place. We were the only ones around at the time, so we got our own personal tour guide who showed us the building, some coins, how they minted the coins, and the gorgeous Chapel of St Wenceslas (created in 1386, but painted by Mucha’s protégée in the art nouveau style in 1904)
The Italian Court had TINY archways, and our guide said that the King had them made so he could walk under them perfectly with his crown on. He must have been five foot tall!
We walked to St. Barbara Church, through the beautiful cobblestoned streets, looking out on the charming vista. There was a modern art sculpture with stacked up cars nearby, which just looked totally out of place. St. Barbara was really amazing from the outside but Joanna seemed to think it was a bit commercial on the inside (you had to pay to get in and they had a lot of merchandise). The coats of arms on the ceiling were cool though, and I loved the stained glass windows.
We took a weird route by the river along the more run-down side of town, on our way to the quaint train station. We bought lunch (spinach filos and donuts) around the corner for equivalent $1.20 AUD. So cheap! Kutna Hora has areas of polar opposites. Some areas are well-kept and historic, and some areas are quite run-down and farm-like.
We had to cross the train tracks to get on our train (maybe there was only one train in town?), and then got off on the other side of town
The story goes that a blind monk piled all the bones in a geometric fashion, and also made the huge bone pyramids inside the church. The other bone decorations and sculptures were created by a woodcarver named František Rint in 1870. He was commissioned by the landowners, the Schwarzenberg family, as a reminder of the impermanence of human life and inescapable death.
On the internet I found a quote from someone who works there, saying their workplace doesn’t scare them:‘It’s the living who scare me.’
We visited another new-ish church nearby (which had excavations under the church where they found very old bodies) in the hope of catching the children’s choir, but they had just finished, so we went back to Hotel U Ruze for some warm beverages and wifi.
We walked to an out of the way train station which would take us back to Prague, and met some nice Aussies on the platform. We’re everywhere! It was only an hour back on the train. We picked up some Chinese (we were craving vegies and noodles), and had a nice conversation with the waiter there. He gave us complimentary tea!