Thursday, December 8, 2011

Kutna Hora, Kostnice Ossuary

This blog post I am very excited about sharing.  

We had time on our return trip from Prague to go thru a small Bohemian village named Kutna Hora.  It surprises me how many people are unaware of this place, I assure you it is all real, authentic and incredible.

Brief background of Kutna Hora located here.

Kutna Hora contains several centuries old churches and was originally designed as a monastery.

The village contains a specific church called the Kostnice Ossuary, pictured here.

If you look closely you'll see that its skulls and crossbones at the top of the steeples, we'll get to that in a second.

The story is that a figure in the history of the church visited Golgotha and brought back soil to put around the church.  Golgatha is the site at which Jesus Christ was crucified.  It became so popular to be interred at this church that the attending monks began to disinter remains in order to accommodate last wishes of others.

Overtime this has resulted in some of the real life creepiest graves ever.

So here's the question, you've got all these new people in the soil, what do you do with the good parishioners bones that you evicted from their place of rest?
You get creative.

Incredible right?!?

There is still a functional sanctuary in the upper room of this church which was also beautiful.

With a balcony that overlooks the ossuary.

Makes me think of the Dr. Suess book "Oh the Places You'll Go!"

Life is exciting, I hope you are exploring and adventuring, there are too many things in this world to see and experience to be sedentary!  

Let us see what we can see, lets get where we can go.  There are things in this world that I have to try and to know!  I fear that i'll miss them, that they may pass me by so lets see what we can see whilst the time is neigh!  (not Dr. Suess, I tried...)

36 hours in Prague

Two days ago we returned from a quick family trip to Prague, or Praha, as it is known here.   The Christmas festival in the city center was on the EU Christmas time bucket list; so we can check that one off.  For those of you wondering how, when or if we still are squeezing in education time, we are.  I know I owe a post or two on the progression of homeschool, but remember, everything we are doing here is education.  Just not the education most of us are used to.  More on that in the homeschool post coming soon.

So, small town boy that I am, saturated by media and uneducated to a certain degree, whenever some one said Czech Republic or Czechoslovakia, my fist thought was something like this...
Boy was I wrong.

Prague, and the portions of the Czech Republic that we saw, were beautiful, interesting and emanated a vibe of history and wisdom.  I am sure that there are the "unpretty" parts; Prague ain't one of them.

We stayed in our most interesting apartment/condo so far.  It really could've been a super nice place; it had high ceilings and smooth walls, hard wood floors and was located in Prague 1 (closest to the center of Prague.)  I felt totally comfortable there, but I may have been the only one.  The bathroom was a large room, that had no shower, only a tub with a movable head on it.  There was a bidet in the room, but I don't believe any of us were brave enough to use it.  The bedroom consisted of 5 smaller than twin beds; it was pretty comical and fun for everyone to be in close quarters I think.
Okay, some shots from the city and the Christmas market; let me first say the streets and the city buildings are very tight, there is no wasted space.
 So when you drive a medium sized american SUV, you kind of stick out...
It took about ten minutes and an 80 point turn to get wedged in there.  We get some really funny looks driving our huge american automobile into some of the places we are not supposed to drive, that our GPS doesn't really indicate when its bad form to roll into some areas.  But its a big vehicle, so I put on my golfer duff and look mean and I think everyone assumes that I am a driver/bodyguard for some VIP family of girls.  Its working out so far.

Ok some shots from in and around the city...

Grace with some interesting Praha graffiti, note the resemblance...

Yes, we met one of the local "police" when I decided driving the wring way up a  one way street would be a good decision

The Christmas festival in Praha is a real show; live music, crafts for kids, figures dressed like angels, devils and Santa's running around.  It's a great venue if you are a "people watcher" like I am.  

It was c-c-c-c-c-c-cold out, so Ry got to wear her new hat and gloves.

As always, the food is ridiculous, some of the gifts are really interesting and the people are great.  We have not had one bad experience here, overall, the people have been enormously helpful and tolerant of the language barrier.

The next morning we did some exploratory driving, trying to get to the mini-eiffel tower that overlooks the city.  As I mentioned before we just drive around wherever we want and attempt to look important.  We accidentally drove right up to the gates of the Prague castle, just in time for the changing of the gaurd.

We did find the observation tower as well!

It was a great investment of time, we are blessed to see these places and enjoy another corner of the world.  I feel so fortunate to be able to develop these memories with Brandy and the girls.

More to come!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

International Chocolate Festival

Monday we planned to go to the Christmas Market in Heidelberg and I planned to blog about it, neither of which happened.   That trip will have to happen another day.
 on Tuesday we went to what I consider the only thing that could possibly be better than a Christmas market,  the International Chocolate Festival in Tübingen, Germany.  That’s right an entire festival devoted to CHOCOLATE!  Not too hard for this city to move to the top of my "Favorite City in Germany" list!  

For more information on the Chocolate festival click Tübingen ChocolArt 

At the entrance to the festival

Chocolate covered strawberries on a stick...Oh My!

Ryley loved them.  Look at that happy face!

The girls at the entrance to "Chocolate Candy Wonder Street"

Warming up! 

Is she paining with chocolate?  Yes, yes she is.
I just had to take a picture of chocolate shoes.

A group of people attempting to make the largest cookie every made, they planned to make it large enough to make the Guinness Book of World Records.  Pretty cool!  

Here are some pictures of some of the buildings in Tübingen.  
Just beautiful!
Above is the Rathaus (City Hall), the oldest building in the Marktplatz dating back to 1435. 

Grace just had to have her picture taken in this "hand chair".  It actually turned out to be a pretty cool picture!

For more information on the city click Tubingen,Germany