Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Kutna Hora

It was a "yeah right" day today. "It was lovely and sunny yesterday so I don't need to put my raincoat in my backpack. " Yeah right! I went to Kutna Hora, and it rained from the moment I stepped out of the Ossuary until I left the town!

I mastered the foreign signs at the Railway station and got my train ticket successfully. I ended up in the same train compartment as an Aussie couple. The young woman's mother cycled for four months in Europe, after starting on a very difficult Jordan road. She loved cycling in France. This is the kind of inspirational story I love to hear!

I enjoyed the train trip out into a rural area, passing villages, woods and farms. At one stage there was a lot of police activity near the tracks. The young couple had seen a VIP in town yesterday, complete with a circle of bodyguards. Perhaps he was visiting where we passed today.

When I got to Kutna Hora I opted to visit the Ossuary first, then walk the few kilometres into town to see all the other main sights. I didn't know it was about to hose down with rain did I! The Ossuary is one of a kind. It contains a lot of bones. The cemetery got rather full after plague and wars. In this chapel they have been arranged somewhat imaginatively - a coat of arms, a chandelier etc. Macabre. But I had to see it.

The walk into the main part of town was interesting albeit wet. I should have found out about the bus, but hindsight is a wonderful thing. I passed housing blocks and a lot of the buildings had the feel of the Communist era, though there were also new supermarkets etc. The middle of town was quite different and it is really being all done up for the tourist market.

The main place I was aiming for in town was the St Barbara Cathedral which was at the highest, furtherest point. There was a lot of evidence of the former wealth of this silver mining town along the way. The mining museum looked interesting but doesn't open until April!

The St Barbara Cathedral was impressive. (Fortunately I hadn't come yesterday as it is closed Mondays!) St Barbara was the patron saint of miners. There was an altarpiece in 3-D, with a "Last Supper" in it. Some fresoces featured miners. There was a statue of a miner wearing a bulky leather apron that he used to "slide down" into the mine, for his 12 - 14 hour day, six days a week. There were beautiful wooden carvings on the sides of the pews and discretely beautiful Renaissance confessionals.

I was totally drenched and decided I needed to aim for the faster 3pm train home rather than the two hour journey by slow train at 4pm. Trouble was I got lost finding the bus station. Finally the words "This stop, next bus" provided some relief knowing I would soon be out of the rain. I took the metro once back in Prague for a fast trip back to the hostel and a shower and complete change of clothes!
Signing off for now!


  1. We're enjoying following your exploits Margaret. Where to next?

  2. Don't forget to take your plastic mac next time :-)

  3. Don't worry I had my raincoat firmly into my backpack today- and wouldn't you know it, it never rained! River is high in town though and they have put up barriers in low lying areas. Not sure if this is abnormal or normal melting snow stuff, but a lot of the locals were looking at the amount of water in the river today.

    Great you were brave enough to comment Helen! Next is Florence on Friday, flying there via Munich.