We left Budapest having about two weeks to get to the UK and just through all the CoVID hoops to get in. We zinged across the rest of Hungary and Austria to get to the village of Cesky Krumlov in the southern Czechia. We got to into the scenic village with a 14th century UNESCO castle on the river in the middle of the town in midafternoon. The river twists lazily through the middle of the town with quaint B and B’s and restaurants on the edge of the river. It was so busy we decided to find a campsite and walk the town the next day. There was a campground on the narrow Vitava river just outside of town. We rode up to find a beautiful area right on the river, and it was incredibly almost deserted.
The campground had a bar and a restaurant with well kept facilities. Choosing a site back from the river in the shade of a large tree we watched as floats and canoes floated lazily down the river. After about an hour the craziness started. Groups of kids floating the river started to arrive pulling their colorful craft up on the beach. Each one had a large plastic barrel with a waterproof top securely in place. In each barrel were their clothes and camping gear, including a tent. As they started to set up their camp in small, private circles, the available space decreased. My bike was luckily parked about 2 meters from the tent with a clothesline attached thereby securing some space for us. After watching this unfold there came a time that no matter how I would have tried to move my bike I wouldn’t have made it out. The night was fun with beer flowing, plenty of food and music and dancing into the night. We were thankful for our earplugs as some partied until dawn.
The next morning, we walked into town to visit the castle and wander the town. The castle was interesting as all the intricate detail seen from afar was painted on. Clever, but disappointing. Plus, everything to see was alacarte, so above what my budget would allow. We found a brewery with a really cool owner and spent some time with him and people watching. The boats were plentiful on the river with everybody enjoying the day. When we returned to the campsite the crowds were again gone, on the river to the next stop, I would suppose.
There is a church to the east of Prague that seemed very interesting. It is in the town of Kutna Hora and is called the Sedlec Ossuary. We have visited several places with displays of bones, but this was the first for a church that had run out of burial room. The following is from Wikipedia.
“The Sedlec Ossuary (Czech: Kostnice v Sedlci; German: Sedletz-Beinhaus) is a Roman Catholic chapel, located beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints (Czech: Hřbitovní kostel Všech Svatých), part of the former Sedlec Abbey in Sedlec, a suburb of Kutná Hora in the Czech Republic. The ossuary is estimated to contain the skeletons of between 40,000 and 70,000 people, whose bones have, in many cases, been artistically arranged to form decorations and furnishings for the chapel. The ossuary is among the most visited tourist attractions of the Czech Republic, attracting over 200,000 visitors annually.
Four bell-shaped mounds occupy the corners of the chapel. A chandelier of bones, which contains at least one of every bone in the human body, hangs from the center of the nave with garlands of skulls draping the vault. Other works include piers and monstrances flanking the altar, a coat of arms of the House of Schwarzenberg, and the signature of František Rint, also executed in bone, on the wall near the entrance.
Along with Sedlec Abbey and the rest of the Kutná Hora city centre, it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, because of its unique Baroque architecture.
In 1278, Henry, the abbot of the Cistercian monastery in Sedlec, was sent to the Holy Land by King Otakar II of Bohemia. He returned with a small amount of earth he had removed from Golgotha and sprinkled it over the abbey cemetery. The word of this pious act soon spread and the cemetery in Sedlec became a desirable burial site throughout Central Europe.
In the mid 14th century, during the Black Death, and after the Hussite Wars in the early 15th century, many thousands were buried in the abbey cemetery, so it had to be greatly enlarged.
Around 1400, a Gothic church was built in the center of the cemetery with a vaulted upper level and a lower chapel to be used as an ossuary for the mass graves unearthed during construction, or simply slated for demolition to make room for new burials.
After 1511, the task of exhuming skeletons and stacking their bones in the chapel was given to a half-blind monk of the order.
Between 1703 and 1710, a new entrance was constructed to support the front wall, which was leaning outward, and the upper chapel was rebuilt. This work, in the Czech Baroque style, was designed by Jan Santini Aichel.
In 1870, František Rint, a woodcarver, was employed by the Schwarzenberg family to put the bone heaps into order, yielding a macabre result. The signature of Rint, also executed in bone, appears on the wall near the entrance to the chapel.”
As we were leaving the town Melanie ended up with a case of deli belly. I a nearby town we found a nice hotel with good WiFi, a bar, restaurant, and nice people. We ended up staying here for a couple of days while Melanie got her legs back under her.
Time was getting short, and we had to head west toward the UK. Just after crossing the border into Germany, we made a stop for fuel and to get something to drink. Being unable to stay inside the station we went outside to an old wooden barrel and drank our coffee and Coke. We found a campground about 1.5 hours away and headed that direction. The roads there were small and enjoyable to ride. I went in to sign in and that’s when I realized my wallet was gone. Lost, again. I had used it for fuel and that is probably where I had left it, but it was getting late. We hustled back on a not to enjoyable, quiet ride only to not find the missing wallet. We searched everywhere but it was gone. We finally gave up and found a campground nearby and, after cooking dinner, cancelled all my credit cards. I had made a mistake of placing all three of my cards in one place. At least Melanie had hers.
About midway through the following day a received a message on Messenger. A man on vacation with his family had found it in the toilet, with all the cash missing. He didn’t know how to contact me, but his young daughter went searching on FaceBook and found me. He wanted to send it to me but, as we really didn’t know where to send it, we rode the three hours north to his house. His daughter met us at the door. She loved travel and maps and was overwhelmed by our journey and story. She had started following us and we left a sticker with her. Such good people in the world.
We were to meet up with world traveler/blogger/vlogger Kinga Tanajewska, (http://onherbike) in Bamberg. We met for a drink and a bite to eat in a touristy area of the city and after Kinga gave a great walking tour of the area. She was so nice with a great laugh. It was a wonderful evening out.
Next morning it was on the UK and The Overland Event.