Today we took a day trip to the beautiful and historic town of Kutna Hora, just a tram, bus, and a train ride away from Prague, where we fit what felt like a weeks worth of adventures into just a few hours. Our first adventure began enjoying the lovely Czech tradition of paying to use the public restrooms, something we’re all getting used to, before heading to the Bone Church, a very popular and somewhat creepy tourist attraction with a rich history. The Bone Church, despite what the name may imply and most of us assumed, is not actually made of bones, merely decorated with them, and yes, they are human. They’re the bones of plague victims and casualties of war, many still bearing the marks of their mortal wounds, dug up from mass graves and crafted together into sconces, statues and even a chandelier. At first, all I could think about was how worthless those people’s lives must have been to the builders of the church for them to use their bones as decoration rather than letting them rest in peace until Mrs. Leake helped me realize that the builders were giving new life those people instead of letting their bones rot in unmarked mass graves. We all regained new life and energy when we stopped for gelato afterwards, not for the last time today, and were ready for our mining tour, right after lunch of course.
Lunch was, as always, delicious, and it was peaceful too, until we decided that we just simply had to tell the Indian family sitting next to our table how cute their children were and I had to be the one to do it, in Hindu. That was a mistake. Between Ainesh’s limited vocabulary and my unfortunate pronunciation skills our meaning was lost in translation and I ended up accidentally hitting on the children’s father, in front of his wife. Luckily, she thought it was hilarious, unluckily, so did everyone else in our group.
The mining tour was, well, quite an adventure. We started out good with photo passes, white coats and hard hats in sunshine and above ground, but that all changed as we descended a seemingly endless glaringly whitewashed staircase. Then, we were surrounded. The tunnels were dark, dank, cramped, and covered in slime, some of which, of course, dripped down my back, but it was also so very real. I felt transported to another time, another place, another life as we walked in the footsteps of people who died thousands of years ago, working in conditions everyday that we, especially the taller people in our group, could barely stand for thirty minutes.
Finally, we ended the day like every day should end, with another delicious meal and a “dobrou noc” (goodnight) from Evzen.
~ H. Marie Fogel xoxo