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Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Kutna Hora Incident

For this Sunday, I am going to relive something that is perhaps better left in the past.  However, at the same time I never want to forget this day....not that I think I could if I tried.  First of all, the day did not start out right because we could not have breakfast with Christina and Gastone, too bad.  We did, however, make it to the main train station at just the right time.  That is when we saw the train that would be taking us further into Eastern Europe:

Oh yes, that wonderful relic from the Iron Curtain days was here just for us.  We were so excited.  The trip there was nothing too special and nothing too eventful happened.  Then, we got to Kutna Hora which is in about the middle of the Czech Republic.  Walking around at first it seemed just fine and then we found the Bone Church with no problems at all.  We got into the church and the man at the front desk even spoke really good English. The day was looking up.  We then turned around and saw one of the most interesting things ever, a church decorated with human bones.
 There is a chandelier made of all the bones in the human body.  These bones were all gathered by a man that used to work at the Ossuary at the time of the Great Plague in Europe.  There were just so many bodies that he didn't know what to do with them all, so he decided to get creative.  He may have gone a little overboard, but the result is really quite astounding.  This is the coat of arms for the local royal family at the time:

This was a very interesting excursion.  We then went across the street to a large church that April and Braden continued to argue over which type of style it was built in and they ended up both being right.  The church was pretty but nothing overly spectacular.  One of the cool parts of this church, the Cathedral of our Lady, was that we could go up into the rafters.  Really, just play in them.  Here is a picture of Braden pretending to fall down into the rafters:
 After leaving that church, we started the walk to the much more regal and beautiful St. Barbara's.  What we didn't know was that this was about 1 mile to the town and another .5 from there.  It was a very long walk, but we finally made it to the right area.  This is where the day started to go downhill just a little bit.  I decided, with the support of Maria and April, that we should take a stroll through this random gate and get to the church that way.  We walked all the way uphill and found that we were at a dead end.  Yay.  Well, at least I got a decent picture from it.
 We then turned around and went all the way back to the main road and followed the sign correctly.  Then we got to this beautiful promenade that led up to the church.  It was autumn and beautiful and I took a lot of pictures of the town and the great view from above.  This picture obviously does not do the beauty justice.  After finally getting here, though, none of us were in great moods.  We just wanted to get to the church and see what we paid for.
 Braden, however, decided that he wanted to jump over then stone fence pictured above to get the grapes on the other side pictured below.  I told him that he would never do something like that.  I was right, he didn't.  He says because there were too many people, and I say that shouldn't have stopped him if he really wanted to do it.  The fact remains, however, that he did not jump over and get the grapes.
 We finally got to the church and went inside for a look and then walked around it because it was such a beautiful day to get some external shots.  The church itself was very pretty inside and had all the coats of arms for the neighboring regions in the Czech countryside painted onto its huge ceiling.
Then the walk back.  That was not fun.  I was in a bad mood and Braden wasn't helping it and I was mad that we had such a weird amount of time left.  We hadn't really eaten all day and I wanted to stop and eat but we didn't know how long that would take because we still had to walk the almost 2 miles back to the train station.  However, if we left town there wasn't really anywhere we could eat.  A predicament.  I decided I was going to stop at a grocery store and buy some Cookie Crisp and some water to solve the problem for myself.  The others opted to wait until they were back in Prague.  To each his own.

We were set to be very early to the train station so we slowed the pace and tried to just enjoy the lovely weather...well that is when it started to cool down.  Great.  We got to the station and had about an hour to wait for our train to come.  So, we played rousing games of "Watch that Leaf Fall" and the like but it turned out to be too early in the season for those particular trees to be changing colors, so that game was a flop.  It was great. We made the best of it, though.  We then went over to the tracks that had sunlight to warm up a bit and wait for the train.  There were a lot of other Americans there including a group of four jockey guys that surprised me with their ability to survive in Europe.  Maybe they only appeared jockey?  The train came and we boarded with our printed off tickets in hand.

Getting the tickets was quite an ordeal.  We had to navigate the impossible website first of all and that was not fun.  When we finally got that all figured out we had to enter our student id numbers in order to get the student rate.  Mine and April's ID numbers are the same for the first 10 numbers and they would not allow that, so Maria entered the last 10 digits of April's ID.  We then found out we couldn't print at the hotel so the girls had to go to an internet cafe and print it there.  But, at the end of the day we had our tickets and all was well.  They worked perfectly on the way to Kutna Hora.  However, it seemed, this was not going to be the same.

When the ticket checker woman came to our train, she first took care of the Australian couple and then the Asian girls and moved on to Braden.  For his ticket, she asked to see his student ID.  Keep in mind this was all in Czech.  She then asked for my ticket.  At first she couldn't find my number, but then she did and all was well.  She moved on to April's...uh-oh.  She started to yell at April that the numbers did not match and then April in English tried to explain that it was the last numbers and the woman kept rolling her eyes at April and looking to me and rolling her eyes and everyone in the cabin was just beside themselves because the situation was so funny and yet serious.  The woman gave up on April and checked Maria's...all good there, too.  Back to April.  It was just not going to work so in a fit of frustration she threw the stuff at April and slammed the cabin door. All of our tickets were stamped except April's.  Immediately after the door closed, the entire cabin began to laugh their as*es off.  I was crying.

Soon after, the train began to slow down.  I looked out the window and said, "April, there is nothing out there."  She looked terrified and we all began to laugh again, hard.  It was so funny.  We were all just at the end of our ropes and this is exactly what we needed.  It turns out we were slowing for a stop, but April was not kicked off.  When we arrived back in Prague, we all ran as fast as we could off of that train and thanked God we were back at least in a big city where people spoke English.  That will forever be referred to as The Kutna Hora Incident.
Thank God April is safe and in Germany now.

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