On day 2 my friend Natalie from Canada, whom I met in Chiang Mai during the Songkran festivities arrived in Prague. I absolutely love when this happens! Running into or meeting back up with friends you've met along your travels is definitely one of the greatest things about a journey like this one. Natalie and I ended up meeting up for a few drinks the rainy night that she arrived, and the following day we walked around the city we both ended up having an affinity for. We visited the palace and ate absinthe ice cream and caught ourselves up on each others journies. In the evening we went in a long walk in search of dumplings. They are apparently one of the 'must try' dishes in Czech Republic, but you could have fooled me, they were nowhere to be found. We were not successful in our venture, but we instead found babies on a tower and a 'gaggle of smurfs' which was better, I think, than any dumplings.
On my last day in Prague Natalie and I jumped an early train to the town of
Kutna Hora to see the Bone Church. It was about an hours train ride outside of Prague and the church is within about 10 minutes walking distance from the train station, so it was an easy trip to make. You definitely do not need more than an hour or 2 if you just go to see the church, but I heard the town of Kutna Hora, which you have to take a short bus ride to from the train station, is a nice full day trip. The Bone Church was very interesting, but far less creepy then I thought it would be. It's just a small church in the middle of nowhere, but is set apart from the bones of 44,000 victims of the Black Plague and Hussite Wars, that decorate its interior. The bones were designed into towers, pyramids, chandeliers, and even a coat of arms, by a local artist in the 1700-1800s. I found the whole thing more disturbing than anything else, especially that these people's bodies had been used this way, obviously without their permission. It's only too easy as you walk around the small space, crowded with bones in these decorative styles, to imagine that you are walking through some Halloween house of horrors, and all the bones mere decorations. The fact that the bones were real, and they once belonged to a body, with a life and a family just seemed really wrong. I took pictures because I wanted to be able to show people what would have been impossible for them to imagine I'm sure, but I felt terrible about it. I ended up leaving feeling rather heavyhearted.
So Prague was a mixed bag, but ultimately really lovely. Now onto Austria!