Archive for the ‘UK’ Category
Well I’ve obviously been relaxing a little too much to update my blog. And for someone not really in travel mode I’ve still covered a fair bit of ground. Prague was great, I caught my family again briefly then flew to London to hang out with friends and sort out the Uzbek visa. While I was there I popped up to Edinburgh to catch up with someone else. And now I’m in Riga with Brett and we fly to Uzbekistan tomorrow morning.
But let’s start at the start: Prague. A beautiful city full of historic buildings but I wasn’t the only one to think so – it was swarming with other tourists. I wandered the old town during the day and hung out with my friend in the evenings when she was taking a break from school and paid work. We checked out some performances of the Prague Fringe festival and watched a couchsurfer play a gig at a little bar around the corner.
On a day trip out of the city I went to Kutna Hora, a small town an hour outside Prague. The first settlement was a monastery in 1142 and by 1260 people began to mine silver in the area. The city grew quickly in the ensuing centuries and even rivalled Prague as the most important city in Bohemia. These days it’s a pretty sleepy little town but people come to see the Sedlec Ossuary, which contains the artistically arranged bones of around 40,000 people. Back in 1278 the abbot of Sedlec monastery went to Jerusalem, brought back some holy earth and sprinkled it over the cemetery. News of this meant that Sedlec was THE place to be buried, and people from all over Central Europe were interred. Plague in the 14th century and wars in the early 15th century meant the cemetery had to be enlarged several times and in 1400 a new church was built with an area to house remains that had been dug up to make space for new burials. In 1870 a private family took ownership of the church grounds and employed someone to tidy up the bones. The results speak for themselves – chains of skulls, a family crest fashioned from bones and a chandelier that contains every single in the human body. It was interesting, but a little creepy.