The Travel Diary is a retrospective blog about our 3-month long wedding trip in 2003. We’re sharing stories about our honeymoon across 11 countries, including accommodation details, recipes, travel stories, and the story of how 2 people started a lifelong adventure together.
After sleeping off a massive amount of pork and recovering for a day while walking through Prague’s awe-inspiring museums and cobblestone streets, it was time to take a day trip out of the city.
Local trains in Central and Eastern Europe are easy to catch without reservations, depending on the route. We would not be on a plane again for quite some time, and I was looking forward to a new mode of transportation, especially one that allows us to sleep if we need to.
Booking an overnight train is better for your budget than travelling during the day and paying to sleep in a hotel at night. If you can get your traveling in while you sleep, you’ll have so much more time to enjoy your destination.
For our first train trip on this adventure, we wouldn’t be overnighting it, just traveling early in the morning and coming back in the evening. Our destination was Kutna Hora, a small town about 2 hours outside Prague. It is a small-ish town with one particularly famous point of interest – the Kostnice v Sedlci (Sedlec Ossuary), otherwise known as The Bone Church.
Kutna Hora is a beautiful medieval town, whose centre is considered a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s easy to get the ABC’s (Another Bloody Castle, Another Bloody Church) after a certain amount of time, but Central and Eastern Europe have some of the most wonderfully preserved and richly storied medieval sites on the continent. That said, we had a mission in Kutna Hora that day. We had come to see the Bone Church.
The Bone Church is within easy walking distance from the train station, and as we stepped on to the cathedral grounds, the solemn beauty of the place was immediately felt. From a warm sunny day outside, we entered into the cool stone halls of the tiny chapel. On either side of the staircase descending into the main room there are small decorations made of human bone – in fact, the entire ossuary is famous for it’s eerily breathtaking decor, consisting of architectural and religious decor constructed with the remains of over 40,000 people. As we descended the staircase, we were immersed in the silent reverence that seems to fill the air there. Little cherubs look down at long columns made from skulls and bones, while a grand chandelier hangs in the centre of the room, currently lit by the candles on the altar and a few rays of sunshine seeping through the few windows in the modest space.
A trip to see the Ossuary for yourself is highly recommended – trains direct to Kutna Hora run regularly from Prague. Check your guidebook timetable, or just leg it to the train station and find out what’s scheduled that day.
After a full day of exploring Kutna Hora, we decided that it was time to head back to the city for dinner. An unusually empty train platform awaited us, but we took this as a great sign that we woudln’t have to wait long for a sausage & beer – little kiosks and carts can be found on street sides and in squares all over the place, but the most deliciously convenient are the ones placed on lonely train platforms after a warm afternoon of hiking around town.
We played dozens of rounds of cards, drank possibly a few too many beer, and just as we were beginning to think we were stranded, a bus full of soldiers heading back to the capital arrived, boisterously joking and kicking a soccer ball around on the platform. Soon we boarded our train, and watched the sun set across a Bohemian landscape as we headed back into Prague for one more day out on the town.