Today we have a guest blogger, my travel companion Adam McQueen:
I’ll be taking over for John today to provide a different perspective and give John a little break.
Some days start off better than others. We were due for a stretch of bad luck since John embraced the local superstition and rubbed the gold dog on St. Charles bridge expecting good luck. Those things never work. So, against all logic, reason, experience and advice, we took the Smart Car into town again. And what would have been a 10 minute tram ride turned into an hour drive. As I tried to navigate us to a large American style breakfast we ended up on a pedestrian only street. We passed a cop going the other way and when he didn’t flag us down we hoped we were safe. Not so. There were a couple cops on foot that pulled us over on the other end of the square. 1000 Kč later we finally found some parking and got breakfast served by a nice Czech woman doing a terrible Irish accent.
That’s the last time we drive in Prague.
After breakfast we drove out to the amazing Czech countryside. Its tough to still be irritated about a traffic fine while cruising down tiny tree lined back roads through towns untouched by tourists.
We ended up at Konopiste, the home of Archduke Franz Ferdinand before his famous assassination. The archduke was an avid hunter and had over 100,000 mounts lining the halls and rooms of his castle. The only way to see the inside is on a guided tour and the only guided tours were in Czech. So I am sure there are many interesting facts about the duke or the castle, but we don’t know what they are. It was worth it to see the huge collection of trophys and weapons.
From there we set out again across the country side to Sedlec Ossuary. Over 40,000 people unknowingly contributed to the macabre art within. The small chapel was filled with pyramids, banners and a chandelier all made exclusively from human bones. It was hard for me to connect these intricate displays with the idea that these bones once had names, parents, and dreams. The poorly translated info guide had a surprisingly evangelical tone, which seemed out of place in a town with many lingering affects from the decades of communism.
As we made our way back to Prague we stopped in Kutna Hora for some groceries and beer. John really needed some dark beer and it’d been a few days since I’d sampled some local blue cheese. You have to rent grocery carts just like the lugage trolleys at cheap airports.
After getting completely lost on the way back into town, we finally made it to Natalie’s apartment to hang out, watch the UEFA championship and just relax.