Thursday, September 14, 2017

Kutna Hora, Czechia

My main reason for choosing a tour to Kutna Hora was timing.  I needed a half day tour, after 10 am, and this worked.  So I signed up, paid, and went.

It was actually quite interesting.  It was one of the richest towns in Bohemia because of the silver mines.  So rich that the local cathedral, Saint Barbora was one of the only cathedrals not built by royalty or nobility.  It was built by the miners, and so there are frescos and stained glass showing the work of the miners.  And here is a statue; the miner is dressed in white not reflecting piety or purity, but for a practical reason:  in order to see him better underground.

The town is, of course, picturesque.  And they bragged about their food.

But the real draw of the town is the Sedlec Ossuary.  I had never seen one before.  This was my first view:

My first thought:  This is way cool!  And I started taking pictures of it all.  Then I realized that these were actual people once, and it felt really macabre.  But here is the brief story.

Back in the crusades, 1278 to be exact, the abbot of the monastery brought back some dirt from Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified.  He sprinkled it in the cemetery and this made it a desirable place to be buried; people sent remains from all over central Europe. Various renovations and repairs and burials unearthed graves, and these people had to be reburied.  In all there are about 40,000 skeletons there, some estimates go up to 70,000.

There is a central chandelier, for which you must look elsewhere because my picture is out of focus, which contains at least one of every bone in the human body.

So...these arrangements were made as a way of honoring those people, not as mere decor.

Friday, September 08, 2017


Stephan and Merel told me this is the best theme park ever and were really excited about taking me there...even though I am old enough to be their grandmother.

So we went, because that is what grandmothers do.

These two pictures prove this is not your average everyday theme park.  The first is the entrance.  I never did find out what the second building was.

I am old, but to prove I am not quite decrepit, I did go on 2 roller coasters.

The first one was themed as a dragon fight.  Fortunately, it was raining (this is the Netherlands, after all) and we were not burned as we went by.  There were two roller coasters going at the same time, which I think also confused the dragon.

The second was the Flying Dutchman,  We waited in the docks for the boats, after passing through the buildings upstairs in the picture.  Don't ask me to tell the tale of the Flying Dutchman, it was all in...Dutch!

Fortunately, we all survived the encounter with the ghost ship and landed in the water.  Stephan had warned me not to sit on the edge of the boat, so I only got slightly wet.

I have decided that, by the time I go to the next theme park, I will be too decrepit to ride a roller coaster.  I prepared for this by electing to watch Stephan and Merel ride the scary one.

We got tickets to what Stephan described as a horse show.  Well, it did have horses.  It also had a tale of a kidnapped princess, a fire breathing dragon with 4 or 5 heads...Not all attractions had dragons.  There was a Dutch version of Disney's "small world," which, fortunately, had a tune that did not stick in your mind.  And an Arabian Nights display, a fairyland, overpriced food, everything you could want in a theme park.  Except Elephant Ears.  OK, back to the dragons.  And there were horses, so I guess you could call it a horse show.

And, as we were leaving, we found the headphones that would have given me the story in English.

All in all, a fun day.  Because that's what grandmothers do.