Escape of the Week: the Church of Bones

What to do with exhumed skeletons of more than 14,000 bodies from the time of the Black Plague? For woodcarver František Rint, the grisly task was his to handle the bones nearly 300 years after a half-blind monk unearthed them.

The result? The Sedlec Ossuary, or the Church of Bones.

Church of Bones

The entryway to the thousands of bones beneath

Located about an hour train ride from Prague in the quaint town of Kutna Hora (a UNESCO World Heritage site), today the Sedlec Ossuary is one of the town’s biggest draws.

Czech Republic Europe

The lure of Prague

There is a history in Prague — and the rest of Europe — which suspends these places in time. Freezes them in moments only my brain can whisk me to.

The view from the airplane of Prague

Old communists blocks in Eastern Europe, bombed out buildings in the former Yugoslavia which wear their pock marks like badges of honor, of a reminder of the dirty past, hopeful future and the cruelty and beastly tendencies of man.

Here, in Prague, the former capital of Bohemia (it even sounds so whimsical), the winding Vlatava River etches its vein through the city. Graffiti sprinkles crumbling brick; old apartments with grand chandeliers hang in the entry ways to apartments where people who have their own stories and will never meet live; the contrast between what goes on under the veil of darkness and the light of day is apparent and beautiful.

Blog Czech Republic Europe

Daily Wanderlust: The skyline of Prague

Prague. A beautiful, magical city that instantly whisks visitors into a world of old and new merged together. Where palaces and modern life smash together in the most beautifully chaotic way.

The city first took its hold on me in 2002, when I spent time there during my month-long European experience. In the dead of winter, I wandered the streets of the city, being left breathless at the moments I was being caressed with. The little instances where I felt like I was in an entirely other world. The eye-opening experiences I was being treated to.

In 2010, when I returned, it was more of the same. Except this time, it was May and the sun shone down and the grass glowed an electric green as crowds came out en masse for May Day.

Blue skies overhead, I set out to explore the city. To get lost. To wander down alleyways, in search of nuggets of culture I had missed the time before.

It is one of the only cities in Europe I have returned to more than once — and for good reason. There is a charm here, the colors, the shops, and, of course, the views.

The Prague skyline

Czech Republic Destinations Europe

Escape of the Week: Colors of Prague

 

 

I’ve been to Prague twice in my life, and was taken by the city both times.

As someone who is not used to seeing the gorgeous myriad of architecture in Prague (stuff like this just doesn’t exist in America, sadly), every turn down a new street delighted my eyes. The colors. The shapes. The details. The buildings in Prague just leave me in awe.

I took this photo on my big walkabout of the city on May Day. I love how the buildings appear so alive and aged.

Czech Republic Destinations Europe

That One Time in Prague

Prague.

One of the most colorful and stunning cities I have ever encountered.

This visit to Prague marked my second time in the city. The first time was eight years ago when my frame of mind was, well, crap (see “‘Twas the night before London“). It is the only city I have been back to thus far that conjures up memories of  myself as a very different person.

I can recall bits and pieces about my first visit. I stayed at the Clown and Bard. I walked across The Charles Bridge, up to the palace. I peeked through the gates of the Jewish cemetery. I ate pizza and drank Bud (the mmmgood Czech version).  I went to Kutna Hora to check out the Sedlic Ossuary.

And then there were the memories that popped back into my brain while I was there.

Some of those little memories were OK. Like, remembering I went to get sushi near the Charles Bridge. Or, that I stopped into an internet cafe to check e-mail.

What wasn’t expect were those lovely supressed memories. The ones that, when recalled, make me feel like bitch-slapping them across their ugly little faces.

I was on my Prague walkabout when it hit me.

It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon, May 1, so the city was buzzing with celebrations. I had just walked through Prague’s largest cemetery and had turned down another road when, BAM! Right there, smack in my face, was a building.

The Communist-era building hung, gray in the air, rusty and sagging, in front of me. The little porches looked as if they were hanging by nails, as if a foot coming down on it would cause its demise.

I knew this building.

I had come across this building the last time I was there. When my sadness reflected off of the sad structure. I had stood next to this building on Valentines Day, 2002.

A pile of stress and tears due to T (the man who I allowed torment my heart for years), I had walked outside of Clown and Bard to find a phone card so I could call him. Wish him a Happy Valentines Day.

It was nighttime and cold, and I was outside, searching frantically for a pay phone so I could call him and send him my love before he went to work back in Baltimore.

I walked and walked, my desperation growing every minute that passed without coming across a phone.

Then, I walked by the old, depressing apartment building.

It gave me the chills. It intimidated me. It made the area seem so … creepy, so foreboding.

I held the phone card in my hand, an airbrushed little girl with blonde ringlets spilling out of her head. I remember being jealous of her.

I bet, when she grows up, her boyfriend will love her.

I picked up the phone and dialed T’s number.

And then the memory is gone.

Blissfully. Perfectly. Sweetly.

I was brought back into the moment. Walking in Prague. Enjoying the sunny, warm day. Headed to the Lennon Wall.

Creating new memories that won’t be supressed.

Prague was my free therapy.

30 Life Crisis Blog Czech Republic Europe Travel