I love this door So Much.

Day 18: Kutna hora! Today is mostly about the bone cathedral. If that is not your thing, don’t click through.

Eric and I headed out to acquire the car, and the rest of folks went back to “Bake Shop”, the bakery we got breakfast at the first day. Navigating back to the apartment was but a small taste of the insanity that was driving in Prague. The GPS couldn’t find its satellites, so we were navigating by the blue spot on the phone, which was rather laggy and also not entirely clear on one way streets. I love how well Eric and I work together, and I love how easy-going Carolyn and Tish and Kendra were about the navigational… excitement. There was much laughter, only some of it hysteria-tinged, and a whole lot of going in circles and other geometric shapes. We did eventually make it out of the city and onto a highway, and on our way to Kutna Hora, a couple hours later than we planned. We stopped slightly out of town to find an ATM and a post office, then it was on to the ossuary.

It was just as decrepit and awe-inspiring as I remembered. I’m not sure I really have words to add to that. I find it respectful and beautiful and holy and I found the Japanese tourists posing for kawaii-face pictures in front of the pile of skulls to be kind of appalling and horrid, but everyone deals in their own way. I loved identifying the bones used for various ornaments, and talking about the kind of reaction Temperance Brennan would have. They had an exhibit of bones that hadn’t been used for the decorations that had evidence of grotesque trauma (usually war-wounds) that had apparently been survivable, given the amount of bone remodeling (that was a VERY LARGE HOLE in the top of that skull, but it had apparently not been fatal).

There is something amazing about the repeating patterns that are possible with so many extremely similar and yet beautifully unique objects.


I love the border of sacrums.

The modifications to this bone are almost subtle.

And I really love this creepy little dude in the scapular cape.

The mad (deaf) monk apparently signed his work.

The chandelier reportedly has at least one of every bone in the human body.

I’m not sure what’s with the crowns.

People like to lean through the cage and throw coins into the skulls.

I love how the tower of skulls has a base made of a sculpted fake skull. Definitely adherence to the theme.

I also love the mandible rosettes.

Just hanging out with my skull and my trumpet!

We went to the upper chapel as well, which I’d missed last time – the chapel was nothing special, but I found the art they are currently displaying to be kind of fascinating: the stations of the cross done in cubist/communist propaganda poster style. (I failed to get pictures, but I hope Tish has some.)

We stopped at a gift store and got skulls and I was tempted by an arm bone just because it was such a lovely shape for threatening people with.

Then we attempted to navigate to the restaurant Kendra had found for us, which turned out to be even more hair-raising than navigating in Prague – it had all the same pedestrian/one way street issues with the exciting addition of “incredibly narrow” and “uphill”. Eventually we made it to the vicinity of the restaurant, which was decorated like a renn faire, played horrible versions of Irish folk music with occasional forays into Dixieland, but had possibly the best food we’d had that week. They had an incredibly extensive menu of food including various goulashes, game meats and local specialties. Unfortunately, the service was on France-standard time, which took up much more of the afternoon than we’d planned.

After lunch, we spent an hour wandering in and out of the tiny shops along the road. There were jewelers and wooden toy makers (we got a wheeled wooden ungulate for Isaac) and a shop full of rocks and fossils for Eric and all sorts of shiny things to stare at.

When we drove back to Prague, dropped off the car, and started walking back to the apartment, we saw this:

unrelatedly. Apparently it was just a thematic sort of day.

I’m going to put the non-bone pictures in another post, so stay tuned for past 2…