I have officially less than two weeks left in the Czech Republic. I leave Wednesday, May 20 for the UK and Ireland, and while I was almost wishing I were going straight home, now I'm excited about that again. Still don't really know what I'm going to do there, but it'll be awesome, no matter what!
Anyway, I've been to three different places since the last time I wrote. Kutna Hora, Karlovy Vary, and MORAVIA. Now, Moravia is actually an entire region of the Czech Republic, but I'm not altogether sure of the towns we saw, because it was a guided tour and they neglected to mention where we were.
Kutna Hora: has a bone church. As in, a church decorated with the bones of 40,000 people. It's pretty much exactly like it sounds - picture a small chapel with a quaint chandelier containing each and every bone of the human body ("even the tiny ear bones"). And picture a garland of skulls and pelvises trailing across the ceiling. Yep, it was weird. And strangely underwhelming.
Kutna Hora is also famous for it's medieval silver mines, which we were lucky enough to get to tour. Usually they're not open for tours at this time of year, but some small group of EU ambassadors (!) were in the area so we got to do the tour with them. It's kind of crazy the kind of information our program director can find out. I swear that man knows everyone. The silver mines were uber-cool and creepier than the bone church. We donned white robes and shell-shaped hardhats and descended. There were all kinds of the clearest underground streams that looked like still mirrors and stalagmites and stalactites and extremely narrow passageways and plenty of opportunities to hit your head. The coolest part was definitely when the tour guide brought us into the widest part and had us all turn off our lamps. Complete and utter darkness. I don't think I've ever seen/not seen such darkness before, where there's literally no difference between having your eyes open and having them closed. Insane.
So yeah, Kutna Hora's a pretty cool town. Much cooler than Karlovy Vary, where we went a week later. It's a spa town, and it seems that spa-ing is pretty much the only cool activity available in Karlovy Vary. We took a tour of the town and sampled the "healing" mineral waters, most of which tasted like vomit or metal, take your pick, and bought cute little mineral water tasting cups, which are curved and have a straw in the handle, which is pretty freaking precious. My friends called me Karlovy Vary (or Karlsbad, the German name of the town) all day. We bought some snacks and ice cream and laid in the park for about 4 hours. No kidding. Not a lot to do in Karlovy Vary.
But the day after KV, we went on a Moravian Extravaganza! Four towns in 6 hours! The first place we went was Moravsky Krumlov, which contains half the name of my favorite Czech town, Cesky Krumlov, so I thought it would be really cool. Sadly no, but it does contain one of the most amazing art exhibits I've ever seen. Alfons Mucha, the famous Czech painter (you'd definitely know his work if you saw it, google him) took it upon himself to paint 20 canvases containing the entire history of the Slavic people. And okay, that's impressive enough, but these canvases. They are HUGE. 18 by 24 feet. Even one of them is the biggest painting I've ever seen, but there are 20. It's absolutely crazy. I could post a picture, but it doesn't really do it justice. If you ever have the chance to go to Moravsky Krumlov, be sure to check it out. Actually, I don't know why you'd go to Moravsky Krumlov except to see them...'cause there's nothing else there.
After that, we went to Milukov (I think) and had lunch and hiked up a beautiful hill. I was wearing completely inappropriate shoes (story of my life) but it was worth it. From the top you could see Austria and many, many rolling yellow fields of rapeseed, which is quickly becoming my favorite plant. I want to dance through those fields, but apparently most humans are highly allergic to unadultered rapeseed oil. So maybe I won't do that. But it won't stop me from dreaming!
We drove to another town after that and hiked around a lake this time, and saw some Turkish-influenced architecture with Arabic inscribed on the sides. Then we headed to the Moravian countryside and did a wine tasting. All in all, it was a really fun day. We spent the night at the little villa where we had dinner, and came back the next day. Great weekend. And I promptly spent the next two days holed up inside because of course it was RAINING when we came back. And it's not like at home, where it can rain and still be warm because of all the humidity in the air - no, here when it's cloudy, it's also cold. Not okay with 40 degrees during the day in May. Not cool, Prague.
AND NOW I HAVE LESS THAN TWO WEEKS AND WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH MYSELF!? Things that remain to see/do:
1. Prague Zoo
2. See an opera
3. Watch sunrise at Charles Bridge
4. See some black light theatre
5. Brenov Monastery
6. Bohemian Paradise
7. Karaoke in Prague
8. Revisit all my favorite parks
So much to do, so little time. Then Ireland and Scotland!