Saturday, October 15, 2005

Recently, I've been reminded that there were some places in the Czech Republic which I'd been meaning to go to, but missed during my trip to Prague in 2002. One of them was the lovely medieval town of Cesky Krumlov (a UNESCO World Heritage site), which we didn't manage to go to because my friends wanted to catch the England vs. Brazil World Cup game (yes, even while backpacking. England lost.). The other was Kutna Hora, another UNESCO World Heritage site and also the town which Kostnice Ossuary, a church made up entirely of human bones, is located in.

The Czech Republic is full of fascinating and strange sites, and one of my favourite memories of that trip is our visit to St. James' Church, where, legend holds that a thief attempted to steal a ring off the hand of the statue of the Virgin Mary in the church. The statue came to life and ripped the would-be thief's arm off for his transgression. As he lay bleeding on the floor, a monk came up to him and offered to heal him in return for his converting. The hapless thief agreed and was miraculously healed. Now why is this church fascinating? Because the thief's arm still hangs from a chain above the doorway to this day. Yes, that's right. A 500-year-old blackened arm bone.

Another place I visited was the cemetery at Vysehrad. My boyfriend at the time, P., wanted to visit Antonin Dvorak's grave and get a picture for a good friend of his, Dvorak's grandson, who had never been to the grave. We spent an enjoyable afternoon wandering around the tombstones, looking for the grave, and took the photo, and went off to have dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant. After dinner, as we were making our way back to the rail station which would take us back to the town centre, fireworks lit up the sky (for what occasion, I still don't know), and P. pulled me close for a passionate kiss.

As you may have surmised from this entry, the travel bug has returned. It's been too long since I had a proper holiday, and even longer since I had a holiday with proper travel companions.

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