Exploring Kutna Hora

Spring Break is finally here. After almost two months of living abroad, we finally have a welcome respite from our schoolwork. If I was home, I’d probably be sitting on my couch watching Netflix and taking daily Dunkin Donuts runs. Here, it’s a different story. This will be the third weekend that I am traveling, and every trip brings about new experiences and places to cross off my bucket list.

I’m sitting on a train heading to Munich, Germany as I write this post. The fact that there’s WiFi in the coach has provided me with just the right amount of motivation to sit down and blog. We’re traveling through the Czech Republic countryside, and it’s just the beginning of our six-hour journey.

Experiencing new-found motivation to blog this afternoon.
Image courtesy of gifize.com.

A few weekends ago, my study abroad program offered a free trip to Kutna Hora, a medieval Czech city about an hour and a half outside of Prague. Between the 13th and 16th centuries, the city was the center for silver mining and coin minting. The day trip included a stop to the Italian Court, the main location for the minting process.

The Italian Court in Kutna Hora where the coin minting process took place.

The Italian Court in Kutna Hora where the coin minting process took place.

View of the Italian Court where the mining and minting of silver occurred.

View of the Italian Court.

My roommate experiences what it was like to mint a coin in medieval times.

My roommate experiences what it was like to mint a coin in medieval times.

The city also includes St. Barbara’s Church, an impressive display of gothic architecture whose namesake comes from the patron saint of miners. It is also one of the most famous churches in Central Europe, although each church I’ve seen has been equally impressive.

View of St. Barbara's Church

View of St. Barbara’s Church

View of the path leading to St. Barbara's Church which reminded me of Prague's Charles Bridge.

View of the path leading to St. Barbara’s Church which reminded me of Prague’s Charles Bridge.

Two of my friends from the program strike a pose with St. Barbara's Church in the background.

Two of my friends from the program strike a pose with St. Barbara’s Church in the background.

What all of us were most excited to see was the Sedlec Ossuary, a Roman Catholic chapel that is decorated with the bones of 40,000+ people who died from the Black Plague in the 14th century. The church had an eerie feeling to it the moment I set foot inside. I also couldn’t grasp the concept of 40,000+ skeletons until I was greeted by skulls and bones rearranged in decorative shapes and placed throughout the church.

Bone decoration in the Sedlec Ossuary.

Bone decoration in the Sedlec Ossuary.

Even the ceiling was adorned with the bones of plague victims.

Even the ceiling was adorned with the bones of plague victims.

There were four enclosed sections within the church that housed an impressive amount of skulls and bones.

There were four enclosed sections within the church that housed an impressive amount of skulls and bones.

Although there wasn’t much to do in Kutna Hora besides tour the landmarks and admire the architecture, it provided us with something to do on a sunny Saturday afternoon. I know I’ve said this before, but the fact that the trip was free was a big influence on my attendance. We might as well take advantage of it while we can because it will be a rude awakening once I fly back to the States.

-Morgan

A “Last Holiday” experience in Karlovy Vary

I have seen a very limited number of Queen Latifah’s movies. But, the ones I have seen are often referenced by the family members I convinced to sit down and watch them with me. I still remember her antics with Steve Martin in Bringing Down the House; I even convinced my grandmother to watch this film after I used Steve Martin as the selling point.

Queen Latifah and Steve Martin in Bringing Down the House.  Image courtesy of cinemablend.com.

Queen Latifah and Steve Martin in
Bringing Down the House.
Image courtesy of cinemablend.com.

But, her film that I have seen more than once and that I still largely remember is Last Holiday. Queen Latifah stars as a woman diagnosed with terminal cancer who decides to spend her life’s savings on travel. It’s only after she spends huge sums of money that she finds out she has been wrongly diagnosed. It’s actually one of the better B-rated films out there.

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