Trapped behind the 20 ft walls of the castle fortress we deliberated about how we would get over them. We’d circled the walls for almost an hour thinking that we’d stumble across an entrance to no avail. The only option left was to risk the treacherous steep mud pits of the dark castle forest in shoes that I can only describe as inappropriate for the quest. Result – a slip-slidey time and a few mini heart attacks in that moment when you think you’re about to fail.
The forest opened into the narrow cobbled streets below the Prague Castle where we twisted and turned onwards and upwards to stumble across the experimental coffee house of the late ‘Edward Kelly’. This man was an ambitious alchemist and self proclaimed spirit-medium, who turned the attic of his house into a laboratory to create magical elixirs. These potions are ‘designed’ to aid the body and spirit, making you younger or healthier. Worth a try in my opinion. As we entered this pseudo-laboratory/coffee house it felt like a mystical haven for witches and folklore characters. Mr Kelly’s formulas decorated the walls in many languages, and reminded me of ancient hieroglyphics telling stories of past spirits. The result of this visit was a coffee that tasted like metholated spirits for my friend Millie, and a Moroccan coffee with far too much cardamon for me.
The quest continued to the castle and eventually we were successful and the view was worthy; however in this case, the journey was more important than the destination.
Following this was a trip in search of the ‘Bone Cathedral’ in Kutna Hora, an hour by train from Prague. No train trip is complete for this team without a last minute mad sprint through the station yelling for people to wait who don’t actually understand us. Always an adventure. Make sure you know your platform well in advance when you don’t read Czech – Lesson learned!!
The cathedral houses the bones of approximately 40,000 people which have been artistically arranged to form decorations and furnishings for the chapel. Four enormous pyramids of bones are in the corners of the chapel, and were built by a half-blind monk in 1511. There are also numerous skulls on display to show the impacts of war weapons on them. This was the most interesting part of the visit for me.
The ‘Bone Cathedral’ is the most visited tourist attraction in Bohemia and has only been available for viewing since 2009. It was another worthy journey, and provided an opportunity to see some more of the Czech Republic instead of just staying as a city dweller.