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Published: October 28th 2017
......the Bone Church, Kutna Hora
The weather had got progressively warmer during our Czech stay. The chilly breeze had disappeared over the weekend and it was all set for the giddy heights of 22 degrees today. We made our way to railway station again. The Other Half set the technology step counter in case I tried to convince her that the ground covered had not been excessive. The return tickets to Kutna Hora were 120 Crowns each. I specified that we needed Kutna Hora Mesto, as opposed to either of the other 2 stations in town. It involved 2 changes, which always make the Other Half nervous. Kutna Hora Hln is actually 5 kilometres from the centre of the town. The attractions in town make it the third most visited place in the Czech Republic after Prague and Cesky Krumlov, so one wonders how many select the right station from which to alight. The attractions directly outside Kutna Hora Hln are restricted to a view of a large Phillip Morris tobacco factory.
We caught a Prague bound train that had been delayed arriving in Pardubice and sat back knowing this would allow us a few extra minutes to change in Kolin. Fifteen minutes
Church of St Barbara
after boarding the next train to Kutna Hora, we still hadn’t left the confines of Kolin station. An eastbound express arrived late from Prague and a few passengers quickly transferred. The majority were intrepid daytrippers from Prague, who had all got adventurous and decided against an organised excursion. We finally set off on the 10 minute journey. A small shunter similar to the train we had caught to Chrudim eagerly awaited our arrival before we set off on the next leg. I have to say that experiences on Czech trains are pretty good, The staff are friendly and keen to help. It is easy to buy tickets and there is that general feeling that they actually want you to be on their trains. However, the conductor on the Kutna Hora shunter train proved to be the exception. He looked me up and down with suspicion for no apparent reason and did so to a number of other passengers. The biggest attraction in Kutna Hora is also technically not in town either. The Sedlec Ossuary is in the suburb of Sedlec – a request stop on the way towards the town – press the button if you want to get off.
Church of St Bartholomew
The Ossuary is otherwise known as the Bone Church, which in all honesty is a bit bizarre and has a very plain exterior. I’ll return to Kutna Hora later. It gave the blog a title though. Skullduggery - after the Steppenwolf album. There are some born to be wild - others born to travel!
The previous day we had been to Kolin, where you change trains to make the connection from Prague. Kolin - or Koleen as they pronounce it – is particularly underwhelming as you leave the railway station. Construction work is underway to rebuild the front entrance, but for the time being it isn’t exactly visually attractive. We set off towards the town centre, cutting through the nearby shopping centre. The shopping centre was positively full of life for a Bohemian Sunday, although still with nowhere near the footfall you’d expect back home. The retail choice was limited too. The local Pets R Us was busy trying to sell a variety of rodents – prices starting from 29 Crowns. The centre of Kolin was a bit frustrating. A seriously large church dominates every approach, but it was impossible to access. I had read it was
the second largest in Bohemia, but seeing as though we couldn’t actually venture inside it was hard to get a sense of scale. A guide entered through a locked gate into the grounds with his few charges, but this was clearly a private tour. We couldn’t adopt our usual trick of just tagging along. The main square – Karls Square – was packed. Sorry – only joking. A café was open in once corner and another outdoor seating area perched in the centre. We opted for the latter and ended up with another of those non-alcoholic beers in error. It is becoming a habit. It was really hot and we had a hard afternoon at the match, so probably just as well. Nice glass, too! 30 minutes later, there was no sign of extra life appearing. The only real disturbance to the peace and quiet had been 2 Harley Davidson motorbikes circling the square. It was a lovely square though. Great buildings. In a country where pretty squares are the norm, it is easy to become complacent. Elsewhere in Europe, you would stand in admiration
We were in town for an afternoon match in the regional Bohemia
League and I set the directional compass in the head to get the ground. As we've found out before, you can't follow the floodlights. We left the square, had a brief stroll around a few bits of the town centre that we'd not visited and headed towards the river. A suspension bridge crossed the main Prague railway line on to an island in the River Elbe. It was an unexceptional island except that it had an open air theatre at one end. The wooded area in the middle had been given over to a frisbee golf course. A series of Par 3 holes mingled in the trees. We even saw it in use. I led the directions past the ice hockey ground and up a side street. The ground is here, I said confidently. It was. There was no sign of life. The restaurant on the corner was now a house. I glanced over a wall. There was no sign anybody had been trying to be Messi here for sometime. Drat. My face was apparently a picture. I wasn't happy. Crisis over, the ground of FK Kolin was located 10 minutes away. Well it was after we'd followed the very
misleading sign that said Football Club - in Czech obviously - and walked through the athletics club to be thwarted by a large fence. The ticket lady was setting up her window as we arrived. I pointed in the direction of the attached restaurant and she waved us through without charge. German groundhoppers spend big and I always get mistaken for one. The 1st pint went down well, after that panic that we weren't going to find the game. It went down better knowing it was a mere 25 Crowns. Bonus. We decided on food, but miraculously picked the only thing on the menu that was unavailable. The view on the opposite table could have ruined our appetite, but the food was very nice. We had re-selected the pork and found a table outside in the sun. The club made a presentation to a young girl before the start, which was a nice touch. We had another couple of beers, but had to settle for a plastic glass whilst the actual footie was in progress. A hardship. We moved around to the main seats, away from the sausages smoking behind us and away from the plumes of smoke rising from
......the Bone Church, Kutna Hora
the accommodation block behind the near goal. The match proved to be a 5 goal thriller, but the hosts FK Kolin came out on the wrong end of the scoreline. The official attendance was quoted as 150, but I would estimate at least another 100 were inside having just popped in for a quiet Sunday afternoon pint before Mrs Ticket Seller got operational.
Kutná Hora developed as a result of the discovery of silver ore since the end of the 13th century. Silver meant money and the “royal” city was populated by extravagant buildings and churches that showed of that wealth. We continued past the Bone Church and on up into the main town. I would speculate that in the summer months the place is besieged by visitors, all following the “umbrella” and armed with selfie sticks. However, today it was fairly quiet. I would liken the place to Cesky Krumlov in many respects – not in a visual sense – but in the feel. The eyes of the town are firmly fixed on the tourist Crown. We completed a short stroll round the main sections of town, before purchasing a ticket for the impressive Church of
Former Jesuit College
St Barbara. The Church stands high above the valley below and is flanked by the large former Jesuit College. The walkway past the Jesuit College is flanked by a series of statues and a slope covered in vineyards then drops away down the valley. It could have been Ravello on the Amalfi Coast. The ticket we had bought allowed entry in the crypt next to St Barbaras, which had more recently been used as an underground concert venue judging by the mounted photographs displayed. We had moved from Ravello to underground nightclubs in the caves of Belgrade. We stopped on the terrace of the Hotel Vahanare, which has a tremendous view across the valley. The local Kutna Hora microbrew was well worth the stop and in terms of taste and value. Recommended. We stopped again in the main square, before moving on towards Sedlec. Should we go and seek a train or try a bus? We ended up walking in the early afternoon sun, skilfully moving in and out of the available shade.
The tour buses were out in force near the Bone Church. Souvenir shops lined the short road section between the Church of the Assumption
......the Bone Church, Kutna Hora
and the Bone Church. The ticket we had purchased was valid for both. The Bone Church is not surprisingly full of bones. I can remember seeing something similar in Evora in Portugal 20 years ago. If you are impressed by Kutna Hora, the Evora experince of the Ossos Chapel is in a totally different league. You should take a trip to Portugal. How many bones are buried in Sedlec, I am not sure, but significant numbers. The skulls et al are arranged in various patterns and designs. Anybody fancy a skull light fitting? I positioned my camera too close to one of the protective grills for the liking of Mr Security and was duly scolded. No touching, he barked. He repeated his message to another bemused tourist a few seconds later. He too got close, but hadn’t actually touched it. The Church of The Assumption had a lot grander exterior than the Bone Church, but probably attracted a fraction of the visitors. It was included in the ticket, so we went in before hunting our train out for the return to Pardubice. We dined in a proper Czech pub on arrival back – the literal translation of the food was
a type of goulash, dumplings and blubber. The Other Half hesitated at the prospect of blubber, but it remained elusive in amongst the other ingredients.
After a day killing time in Pardubice, we landed back at Stansted slightly ahead of schedule. On the way out of the airport, I inexplicably headed through the Non EU immigration channel. The government might have no plan for Brexit, but subconsciously I am prepared. Appendix 1 Fortuna Bohemia Liga (Section C) FK Kolin 2 SK Mysoke Vyto 3 Date :
Sunday 15 October 2017 @ 1530 Hours Venue :
Brankovika, Kolin Attendance :
150 plus 2 Non League Dogs Scorers :
1-0 Janecky 24 Min (FK Kolin), 1-1 29 Min Rezek (SK Mysoke), 2-1 Janecky 45 Min (FK Kolin), 2-2 63 Min Rezek (SK Mysoke) 2-3 Stepanek 75 Min (SK Mysoke) FK Kolin :
Kadlec, Zviny, Mlynka (M Puk 77), Capek (0 Puk 86), Nemecek (Zahora 81), Vesely (Jindrich 67), Janecky, Seifert, Nespor, Sourek, Vacha SK Mysoke Vyto :
Kratky, Hock, Kopriva (Fiser 90), Kakrda, Valasek, Tomasek (Hajek 92), Mach (Stepanek 46), Rezek (Benda 83), Wimmer (Motl 69)
, Dvorak, Fikejz
Tot: 2.769s; Tpl: 0.073s; cc: 17; qc: 40; dbt: 0.0375s; 2; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb