Friday, November 13, 2009

The Bone Church and the Snorflog

So my buddies show up, and what's the first thing I do? Ditch them.

Yup, that's right. I spent my day, today, in Kutna Hora while they were wandering past the castles, and main square in Prague. Hey – lets be honest, I've seen castles – and the square? I was there last night. And Kutna Hora? Well it has something you just don't see back at home. And I invited them. Don't you think for a second, I didn't invite them. Because I did. The excuse I heard was something along the lines of not wanting to be eternally cursed and suffer a terrible future in damnation.

Kutna Hora is home to the Bone Church.

This is a church, the interior of which is decorated with human bones. Bones from over 40 000 people line the walls, make up the pyramids in the corners, work to create the breathtaking chandelier, the coat of arms, and the flowers by the alter.

Yes. That's right. All of those things made from the bleached skeletons of the dearly departed. Far too many people were being buried here due to the plague so one monk who was either far too artistic, or far too insane (probably both if the artists of a few hundred years back were anything like the artists I know today.) decided that he would start turning these human remains into the most delightful of sculptures.

It's not a large building, and there's not much to explore. In fact, standing in the right place you can literally see everything. Well, provided that you can turn, or were genetically modified like Geshy (candy!). Still – by the time I left, I realized that I had spent forty five minute within the post-modern crypt.

And lucky me, I got there just before the tour buses started rolling up. I had the entire place to myself to look around, be amazed, and take pictures. As I was leaving two groups of well over two dozen each started to pour in. I, once more, patted myself on the back for taking this trip on my own, rather than trying to connect with some sort of organized tour group.

From Prague's main station it's a one and a half hour train ride out to Kutna Hora, with a quick change over in Kolin. Round trip? 178 Czollars – so, just about ten bucks Canadian. The tours run ten times that price. Mind you, they also take you through the picturesque gothic UNESCO recognized town here, as well. To be honest, I couldn't be bothered with seeing the town. I came with one thing in mind, saw it, and headed back to the train. At the station I realized that getting back to Prague might not be as easy as I'd hoped.

This was a small town, with farms lining that tracks, and most of the booths and rooms closed and locked up. Inside was one lady working the information desk. And she spoke no English. I tried to communicate that I needed to get back to Prague – or Praha. And eventually she printed out some information. But it did not match the information on the boards that I was trying to piece together.

There was no big departure board here that made sense, but rather a collection of ten boards that all contradicted one another. At long last, getting nowhere with the ever so patient woman who was trying her best, I decided to just make my own way back. I'm not going to lie, it was hard going for a bit hopping from train to train, never sure where I'd end up – and when I was met with delays, that was also the best, because I was wondering if the right train was still to come, or come and gone. But I did make my way back, and all was well. I had returned to Prague. I thought back now on the fact that the train had waited ten minutes longer in the station because our connecting train was delayed. Well – that's great for me, as I made my connection, but what about people on that train already who had connections of their own? Were they out of luck – or was half of the greater Prague region delayed by ten minutes? The fact that my return train was ten minutes late made me consider that it was, perhaps, true.

On my three hour journey I was allowed the pleasure of reading a script for an Untitled Western that one of my buddies has brought over. His brother had written it – his brother who is ever so talented, yet is yet to make a move towards getting his material published. It's a shame really. But it made for the perfect reading while trundling down the tracks past fields and fields of crops yet to grow, with the setting sun ever nearing the horizon. Nothing like some good reading to enhance and journey down the rails.

And then I was back in Prague.

Meeting up back at the hostel, it was decided that we would go to Jagr's sports bar, where a replica of the Stanley Cup was proudly displayed. Out into the night we ventured – and when we go to the correct address we found - - - an Irish Pub. Apparently Jagr's bar didn't do so well, and has since been replaced. Inside the Irish pub the tvs are still arranged as they were before, to look like a hockey score board. But Stanley Cup, and appropriate atmosphere there no longer is.

As I had not eaten since breakfast, I was in need of some nosh – and since we weren't going to stop here, it was suggested that we head to the main square. Apparently the food is good there. On route I had a hot dog stuffed in bread, filled up with mustard and ketchup. I never thought that I would live to say this but, wait for it, there was way too much ketchup in that bun. I mean what type of sick person eats that much ketchup? Who would want that much ketchup? Who could enjoy such a thing? It was like a jelly donut, double filled – because your friend works behind the counter – but not full of jam, or fantastic Boston cream, no – ketchup! I mean honestly.

And – understand – when I say this... it means something.

At the main square I was entranced by the five potato pancakes served with a side of sauerkraut. My wasn't this a treat! Cover the fried potato cakes in the sauerkraut and you're in flavour country. All five of them? It's a big country. And after consuming those I wasn't done! There's no easy way to describe this next bit of food, but I'll try – and let me tell you it was delicious. But it won't sound that way. But it was. (no time!)

It was bread, covered with garlic, then covered with ketchup (a reasonable amount this time) then covered with cheese. You could also get the same bread covered in Nutella if you so wanted. The magic was this fried goodness. I tell you – Europe – man does it know how to do bread right!

And then that was that. Back to the hostel – and back to the room.

It's odd travelling with other people. There's great moments, and then there are moments where you think “hmm – I can't just run off on my own.” Well – I could, but... And I kind of did that already. But that was the last time. I'll be sticking with the tour from here on out. And if I start to go a little mad? Well I'll do my best to conceal it.

We need a Snorflog. While this may seem like a mystical mythical creature – and I believe it would be, if heard as such a thing – what I originally mean was a Snore Flog. Something with which to flog he who knows. Yes, that's right, one of my friends in a Snorelax. I've always known this to be true – but... I may finally break and buy ear plugs. I've come so far. Lasted so long. But there are many nights ahead. We shall see how it goes.

Until then, night night, sleep tight, don't let the snorflog's bite.

[authors note: I find the tone of this entry is different – it's hard to write these things with people around. Hmm. I'll adapt. I must! P.S. I am still super psyched that they're here!]

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