Checking Out The Czech Republic

Prague Travel Blog

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Me making a wish on Charles' Bridge

Upon arrival in Prague I was greeted with rain and some lovely big puddles for me to walk through which cars drove through, at speed, splashing me.  Why is it that this only happens when you have new clothes on?  As I have been traveling with limited clothing, this was not the best thing I could have happen to me at 6am, but like the trooper I am, it didn’t stop me from getting out.

Prague is a lovely city, except for all the tourists.  The Old Town teems with people of all different nationalities and because of the crowds you spend a lot of time trying to beat people to the different scenic places in the attempt to get photos without anyone in them.  I did not succeed in this venture, but I did manage to get out at 8am and walk around the sites and take some lovely shots of the astronomical clock, the beautiful Charles Bridge and Hradcany Castle to name a few.

View over Prague

After all this visiting of cities recently, one thing I wanted to do while I was in Prague, was to get out.  Prague had interested me for one day, but as I was here for three days, I knew that the tourists would drive me to distraction and I wanted to really get out of the place and experience the Czech Republic, I wanted to ‘czech’ it out if you will.

Cesky Krumlov was the first on my agenda.  This peaceful village is located three hours drive away from Prague by bus and the return journey cost only €13.  I booked the ticket online on www.studentagency.cz and enjoyed the ride with a complimentary hot drink, wifi and movie back there and back.

Cesky Krumlov was such a thrill because it was a quiet and accessible charming town.

Inside St Vitus catherdral
  Walking from the bus station to the town centre only took 10 minutes and we were greeted with buildings from another time. 

The town was first mentioned in historical documents in 1253, and it became known as an important trading crossroad between the Czech, Austrian, Bavarian and Northern Italian lands, now it is a popular attraction for those in the area.  There were lots of things to do whilst here, like walking around the magnificent gardens, shopping for bohemian crystal in the Town Square, sampling the beer at the Eggenberg brewery, climbing up the Castle Tower, watching the bears but for me, I ate a whole trout with vegetables and drunk a large beer all for the reasonable price of €10.30.  As this was one of the first ‘proper’ meals I have had recently, it tasted divine and I devoured the whole plate and then proceeded to get drunk off my one beer.

One of the gargoyles on the roof of St Vitus cathedral
  Yes I am a lightweight, and add to that the sloping of the streets and the cobblestones, it made for an amusing walk back to the bus station.

The following day was spent in another place, just on the outskirts of Prague in Kutna Hora.  This place was famous for the Kostnice or the Church of Bones.  (Insert dramatic music here)

Entry to the ossuary cost 50 koruna (€2) for adults or 30 koruna (€1.2) for students and this meant you could enter this church and see the structures created out of human bones.

The story of this place dates back to 1278 when a Cistercian abbot returned from the Holy Land with some earth he took from Golgotha.  Sprinkling this on the grounds of the local cemetery meant this place became a much sought after location to be buried.

Another gargoyle
  Later in the 14th century, when the Black Death spread across Europe, the dead of the village and neighbouring areas were piled up in the church ground - some 40,000 individuals.  In time art was created with these bones by monks and later by Frantisek Rint, a local carver and artist. 

Whilst visiting this place I couldn’t help but wonder who I was looking at, How old were they?  What did like to eat?  What were they like?  What became of them?  What would they think knowing that I was looking into the pits of their hollowed out eyes in 2010?  Would it please them to know they were ‘art’?  I’m not sure how I would feel if the situation were reversed.

Within the ossuary there are four ‘bells’, which are found in the four corners of the room, and within these bells are piles of bones carefully stacked and not bound together.

The Old Town Square in Cesky Krumlov
  There is even a coat of arms of a high-ranking local family and chandeliers all made with human bones.  Quite a haunting place, but well worth the effort of getting there and the 116 koruna return (€4.65) price.

Now I am back in Prague, walking the streets along with all the other tourists, trying to capture the moments and views along with everyone else.  Still, it isn’t a bad place to be as there are some other cultural destinations I can take in.  The Czechs have been brewing beer since the 9th century along with the world’s first Pilsner, so perhaps I should go and ‘czech’ this out too.  It would be rude not to experience this side of their culture.

Na zdravi from Prague

Saskia007 says:
Glad you noticed :) Hope you liked them!
Posted on: Sep 05, 2010
fransglobal says:
There's nearly as many puns in this entry as there are tourists in Prague!
Posted on: Sep 04, 2010
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Me making a wish on Charles Bridge
Me making a wish on Charles' Bridge
View over Prague
View over Prague
Inside St Vitus catherdral
Inside St Vitus catherdral
One of the gargoyles on the roof o…
One of the gargoyles on the roof …
Another gargoyle
Another gargoyle
The Old Town Square in Cesky Kruml…
The Old Town Square in Cesky Krum…
View of Cesky Krumlov
View of Cesky Krumlov
The charming Cesky Krumlov
The charming Cesky Krumlov
More pictures of picturesque Cesky…
More pictures of picturesque Cesk…
Gardens at Cesky Krumlov castle
Gardens at Cesky Krumlov castle
My yummy trout lunch
My yummy trout lunch
Not th est kind of streets to be w…
Not th est kind of streets to be …
The Prague Astronomical Clock at n…
The Prague Astronomical Clock at …
Prague by night
Prague by night
Trying to be arty
Trying to be arty
In Prague I found this structure -…
In Prague I found this structure …
The Bone Church
The Bone Church
The chandelier
The chandelier
Who were you?  WHat do you think a…
Who were you? WHat do you think …
The coat of arms of the Schwarzenb…
The coat of arms of the Schwarzen…
Inside of my hotel - Evropa Hotel …
Inside of my hotel - Evropa Hotel…
Prague
photo by: vulindlela