After a mere five hours of sleep, I awoke the second day to a lovely breakfast in the hotel and dashed downtown to a tram, then a train, then a bus to arrive at a beautifully constructed cathedral, St. Barbara’s. I remember taking lots of photos and walking around the small town in several loops, similar to Amsterdam. After the church which we sadly only saw from the outside, we proceeded to have our first legitimate Czech meal. I ordered Goulash with bread and fat dumpling things, which turned out to be absolutely delicious. The thinnest point we had to squeeze through in the silver mines we visited after lunch was a measly 40 centimeters wide, and the ceiling got pretty low at times. It was also very wet. The bone church that we saw after the silver mines was quite haunting but I enjoyed the experience. Ever since Mrs. Tallman showed me pictures of the church it has been what I have wanted to see the most in the Czech Republic. It was very different from what I had recalled from the pictures and what I had imagined in my head. As you walk down the stairs, to the right and left of you are twenty foot-tall stacks of bone that have been neatly arranged in massive pyramids nearly ten feet wide. In the very center of the church hangs a massive chandelier that contains at least one of every bone in the human body. I took a ton of pictures and was given time to reflect on the 40,000 people that had had lives and families and emotions who now rest to be viewed by the public in this piece of art. Dinner was simple and I got less sleep than I did the previous night.
Today was a later start, and after breakfast the crew headed downtown for a stroll. We passed through a park and ended up in a square where we witnessed a massive statue to remember, a very important Czech man whose name escapes me. I do remember, however, that he set himself on fire in rebellion to the inaction of the people. I found this quite fascinating; he must have had a great pain tolerance because that would be a terrible way to die. Afterwards we continued down the square and saw some men painted silver and gold as statues and I held a giant multicolored parrot that supposedly spoke Czech. We had a vegan lunch at the same restaurant that catered the Tallman’s wedding, and it was delicious. My concoction (you pick out your own plate) consisted of white rice, eggrolls, cooked vegetables, chow mien, and some sort of potato noodle thing. Reading over this it sounds like normal Chinese food, but it was all vegan food and none of the food was high in fat, grease, or sugar, as commonly found in American food. Next we took a ride on a horse-drawn carriage and climbed somewhere close to 300 steps to the top of a tower overlooking Old Town. We also witnessed the chiming of an astronomical clock that has the 12 apostles come greet you as a cuckoo bird would in a normal clock. After a quick dinner the ladies donned their dresses and heels and the men got dolled up in shirts and ties for the opera. I dozed in the first part, but I was all that was keeping Catherine’s head up through the second and third acts. It was phenomenal. I loved it. And they even did six curtain calls. (For the future, if you ever read this Catherine, you have no right to be mad at me for posting this because there were other people who snoozed too!) I packed my overnight bag for the next day and collapsed into my bed.
We woke up early to catch a bus this morning for a three hour ride to Cesky Krumlov. An agonizing walk to our hotel consisted of most of our group needing to pee, but we finally found the place and were delighted to find that the rooms were twice the size of the ones in Prague and had more than a half of a piece of glass covering a small shower. We then had lunch and I had Gnocchi Al Pollo, or noodles with chicken in alfredo sauce. It was amazing! In the afternoon we toured a castle, saw some bears that walked and sat and scratched and yawned, very similar to large dogs. And walked through a perfectly manicured gargantuan garden complete with a hedge maze and Romanesque fountain. Dinner was again vegetarian; we had beans, spicy beans, white rice, yellow rice, tofu, vegetables, and pita bread. I sat across from Mrs. Tallman’s dad and learned to pronounce and use several common Czech words and phrases. Throughout the day we also picked up a copious amount of Czech sugar, including a round pastry (round meaning cylinder-like with a hollow center) with cinnamon sugar on it. What I had believed to be a chocolate brownie but ended up being gingerbread, delicious chocolates in milk, caramel, almond, and the like, and peach rings, Twix bars, and Kit-Kats, none of which contained a single drop of high fructose corn syrup. Not that that makes up for the sugar content. To be fair, I still have several chocolates and half a bag of peach rings remaining, and I did share with my peeps. Now I lay exhausted on my bed finishing up my second post on the blog at 12:50 A.M. I’m excited for tomorrow’s adventures! Until next time, Jo.