City of Death

Published: June 12th 2009
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shiny gravestoneshiny gravestoneshiny gravestone

as shiny as it was in 1954
Yeah, I've left Prague already. Just for an afternoon, as a rather special friend of mine back home had been waxing lyrical about Kutná Hora (a city 75km south-east of Prague) and how necessary it is that I visit it while I'm here, so I said to her, I will do so as soon as I'm settled... which took a lot shorter time than I thought! And as I'm still very much lonely here, I guess my time for lone travels is now. So off I went to hit the iron road again today. There was an epic tram fail on the way to Vršovice station resulting from a wire falling loose from a bridge, which meant I missed the train I was aiming for, and of course on the continent that means you're waiting around for another 2 hours.. or would have been if I didn't have any knowledge of the czech railway network.

So, an epically nostalgic slam door train to Kolín and an epically rustic "osobní" train later, Kutná Hora hlavní nádrazi greeted me rather sheepishly - literally, it was about as "in a city" as colchester station is, just backing onto a huge field. This meant
bone chandelierbone chandelierbone chandelier

just... wow.
that to get anywhere involved taking a long ass walk down a road which just went tower block... tower block... tower block... then suddenly out springs this church out of nowhere along with the Czech Republic's signature way of saying "this is a UNESCO world heritage site" - shops selling funny shaped pieces of glass. What was causing this was the Sedlec Ossuary, a chapel surrounded by a small yard of impeccably kept gravestones.

It becomes pretty clear why when you go inside. The entire chapel is filled with human bones, it's an unbelievable sight when you walk in. A massive chandelier hangs from the ceiling while on either side of you are 4-foot high chalices on the walls, then an inscription of "1870 F. Rint z České Skalice" (which I regret I've forgotten the significance of already), still in bones. It was one of those places you could just sit for hours in and soak in the energy, but at the same time felt you needed to just look around and GTFO. The candles at the back of the chapel, along with the reading material they were handing out on the door was enough to keep me occupied there for long enough, however.

The rest of the town was another 15 minutes of tower block... tower block... tower block... west, after which, the ghetto ass nimbocumulus I'd fled from in Prague had caught up with us, and it had started to rain. Rainstorms here are no joke - they will just appear or suddenly get stronger at any moment as if someone just emptied a massive bucket from the sky, in which case you always need good protection since they could presumably harbor hailstones the size of golf balls. Knowing my beloved zebra hoodie was nowhere near enough, I ran to the nearest clothes shop and found an anorak, and also what I believe is the first successful czech conversation I've had while here with the very friendly woman who worked there. This made me slightly pleased, and I preceeded to make the entire female population of Kutná Hora lol themselves flat at me bouncing through their city with this ridiculous waterproof beige cloth draped over me for the next half hour.

I'm glad I provided them with some amusement, because seriously, this city was completely dead. Beautiful, but there was practically no one around at
buried in the woodsburied in the woodsburied in the woods

graveyard on the outskirts of the city
all, even after the rain stopped. I then decided to pick a direction (choosing the direction where the sky was clearing) and walk out of the city, thinking I could make it across a field and into the forest. On the way, I happened to pass another graveyard, which was incredible, in the middle of a copse at the city limits. Again, I was amazed at how well kept it all was, considering it was going back to the 1950s and I could still see my reflection in most of the stones.

After leaving this, I found an entrance to a field a bit further down the road, but 10 seconds walking down it, I turned back, as my shoes were simply not suited for the job at all and already soaking. I therefore headed back to the train station as I was getting a bit tired. I'll probably need to get used to travelling alone again - it properly takes something out of you, as well as all the walking you do, spending days alone with yourself really gets your mind rushing at times. I would definitely recommend visiting Kutná Hora for a day trip though - just remember that the most life there seems to be the graveyards 😊


13th June 2009

You're right, Colchester station is pathetic...

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