After four of the most intensive weeks of my life (was it really only four weeks?!), the CELTA course was finally over, and we were free. Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
I was completely branaddled (‘brain addled’, for those who don’t speak Laura), but I only had accommodation for another couple of nights, so got straight on with it. The day after finishing the course was spent wandering around central Prague. Of course, I say ‘the day’, but what I really mean is ‘well after midday’. I met Robert and Katherine for lunch at this incredible Afghan restaurant (their daal was the first I’d ever tried, and it blew my mind. Or what was left of it, anyway), then walked up toward the old town. Later on, I headed down toward the astrological clock like a good little tourist; and that’s pretty much all I did with my day, other than buy a gorgeous illustrated copy of some of Pushkin’s works in Russian.
Prague | Прага:
My mission for the next day was to head out to Kutna Hora, where one can find the Sedlec Ossuary. I said farewell to my housemates, though I’d be seeing R the next day in Vienna. Even now, 18 months later, I’m still looking forward to our next catch up: all we did was argue, but there was a lot of (fraternal!) love in there as well. I’ll never forget leaving everyone on a night out to catch the last metro home, and him asking if I’d be alright before interrupting himself with “of course you will, you’re Australian!”. That was a lovely wander actually: there’s few things I love so much as being in the middle of a foreign, unknown city in the middle of the night, with no idea where I am, no knowledge of the language, and a plan: it’s like complete freedom. So I wandered through the other-world of midnight Prague, and eventually bumped into a German guy who spoke Russian and could give me directions home.
—annnnd we’re back. Sedlec Ossuary is an absolute must-see if you’re in the Czech Republic, though Kutna Hora is also well worth the visit. The Ossuary is, as the name suggests, a sort of underground bone cemetery. The story goes that during the Crusades, someone brought back some holy soil from Mecca to Kutna Hora. People wanted to be buried near the holy earth in order to increase their chances of going to heaven etc (or just covering their bases, given that they were presumably Christians), and the cemetery surrounding the church quickly started to overflow. The bones were then all collected together, and later on, a purportedly blind monk uncovered them, cleaned them, and started to build things out of them. Hm. But imagine I said that in a way that wasn’t creepy.
After visiting the Ossuary and having adventures in a nearby café, I went for a wander around the rest of the town. There’s a lot of very old churches and a cathedral to check out, and the centre of town is quite lovely as well: full of cobblestones and pastel houses as in Prague. I also went to a ‘traditional’ Czech pub (Pivnice Dacicky), which was the freaking best thing ever. Though I had just gone back to vegetarian, I couldn’t resist trying the specialty dish, svickova: my curiosity won out. It’s tender beef, slow-roasted in cream, served with dumplings, cranberry sauce and whipped cream. Freaking amazing. (I later asked Zdenek, the chef from my CELTA course, to send me the recipe—it’s definitely on the to-do list!).
Kutna Hora | Кутна Хора:
That’s pretty much it for my month in the Czech Republic: next it was off to Vienna, to spend a couple of days with Robert and Paul. Because that totally happened.