What I learned on holiday – part 2 (and happy birthday, Richard!)

I’m back home – have been for over a week! Had a Sunday to relax unpack and get organized before heading back to work again on Monday… for as long as it lasts as my hours will soon be cut drastically (I knew that would be happening so no dramatic feelings there)… Anyway, that’s a whole different kettle of fish…

The past week and a half have been busy outside work too, getting stuff running again here, organizing kids to get them ready for school, see family again, etc. Yet I still desperately try to hold on to the holiday feeling and uploading some pictures here helps with that. 🙂 So, here are a few more things I learned on holiday:

Human bones can be decorative

We visited Sedlec Ossuary in Kutna Hora. The small church boats an interior that is decorated with the bones of 40.000 (!!) people!

08-03 IMG_3159 Kutna Hora (Medium)
For more info see their website: http://www.ossuary.eu/index.php/en/ossuary

People wanted to be buried there because it was believed that the cemetery was sprinked with earth taken from Golgotha where Jesus was crucified. When the graveyard became too full, bones were dug up and used as decoration for this church. Yikes. It’s one of those places where you feel uneasy yet fascinated at the same time. Not unlike what RA has done with the character of Francis Dollarhyde…

Churches, especially old ones, remain fascinating to visit

Such beautiful things to be seen! The Kutna Hora Cistercian cathedral had beautiful 15th century art and murals, beautiful stained glass windows and a lovely winding staircase tucked away into the corner.

08-03 IMG_4553 Kutna Hora (Medium)
Those 3 towers in the background of this stained glass window are the towers of Kutna Hora cathedral

08-03 IMG_3989 Kutna Hora (Medium)

Judaism is dead in the Czech Republic

There are memorials to murdered Jews during WWII, there are old towns with Jewish quarters where there are no more Jews, there are synagogues turned into churches, there are Jewish graveyards, there is Terezin (Theresienstadt) concentration camp… only in Prague have I seen signs of a living Jewish community, everywhere else it seems dead. Judaism is history and something to be displayed in a museum and it makes me feel so indescribably sad…

08-06 IMG_3810 Trebic
Synagogue in Trebic that is now a museum
08-11 IMG_4161 Terezin
In Terezin (Theresienstadt) – the place where the dead were prepared for cremation.
08-06 IMG_3876 Trebic (Medium)
Inscription on a Jewish tombstone in the Jewish cemetery in Trebic. This is something my mother always says and I love it. ~ “When you live remembering your loved ones, it means they aren’t dead, they are just far away. Only those who are forgotten are dead.”

My favourite Czech word so far is “pozor”

‘Pozor’ means ‘Beware’. You see ‘pozor’ on many traffic signs and all around you and it’s one of the few words of Czech I can make out when I hear Czech being spoken. I have taken a liking to it for some reason, I love the way it sounds and it’s easy to pronounce and throw out there whenever the mood arises. We even bought a sign with the word on it… (šelma means ‘predator’). Quite appropriate for a cat-loving family like us.

08-05 IMG_6059 Kutna Hora mine

I have developed a taste for vodka

vodkaWhen we holiday in France, we sample local wines. In the Czech republic local drinks seem to be beer and vodka. I’m not too much of a beer drinker (although I’ll drink one once in a while) but I did try the vodka. I didn’t think I’d like pure vodka very much (so far I have only had it mixed with something) but boy did I take to it! DH and I often drank a small glass before bedtime. One night we decided to stargaze and look out for the meteor showers that were passing by. The kids saw some of it, then crashed into their beds after a long day. DH and I then proceeded to sit there and sip vodka, gazing at the sky together. When I got up to walk to the bathroom… man, the world swayed! And I hadn’t been feeling like I was even tipsy or anything. I saw a few shooting stars go by then… 😉

I love sunset time!

08-04 IMG_3541 Prague day 2 (Medium)
Prague just after sunset
08-12 IMG_8626 Sunset
On our way ‘home’ to our campsite.

Whatever happend to penmanship over the centuries?

We saw 16th century grafitti (and more examples than this one!) on the walls of a castle we visited (Pernstejn) and the writing just looks far more decorative than writing generally does nowadays…

08-08 IMG_7029 Pernstejn castle (Medium)

Fountains are indispensable in summer!

Especially on hot days (and we had some) they make for welcome refreshment, especially for my daughter who sometimes had it tough in the heat. I regularly cooled her off with rubbing water in her face and neck but it was even better to come across a fountain. Or a working water pump.

08-10 IMG_4119 Jindrichuv Hradec

08-06 IMG_3797 Trebic

Our caravan/trailer can withstand a freak hailstorm

One moment we were sitting out in the sun, the next moment we had to rush inside when a downpour started followed by a hailstorm with quite large hailstones! It sounded terribly loud and we could hardly look through the windows, it was raining so hard. The hail lasted for a few minutes and then it poured for a while afterwards until the world was all cool again… and beautifully foggy.

08-09 IMG_3984 Camping (Medium)

My kids can only take so much of having their picture taken…

08-09 IMG_4013 Camping

But luckily I can also take pictures without them knowing…

08-10 IMG_4085 Jindrichuv Hradec

I am a master wasp killer… 

08-13 IMG_8632
My breakfast table wasp trap and the staggering result of during-breakfast-wasp-trapping.

… and I look OK with a safety helmet on.

07-27 IMG_2579 Tabor

I can read 6 books on a 3 week family holiday!

And it’s not like we just sat around doing nothing. We did loads of stuff and had many outings and saw many, many things. On Richard Armitage related books – I also read Edith Wharton’s “Summer” and I have got to say I can totally picture Richard in the role of Mr. Royall! I am already looking forward to seeing this!

I still have books left to read – I finally started on the Call the Midwife books, but reading tempo has alas drastically slowed down now that ‘real life’ has started again…

Finally: not something I learned, but something I wanted to say:

Happy belated birthday, Richard Armitage! I was thinking of you, honest! Just as I have done every year on August 22nd for the past 8 or 9 years…

RA SD Comic Con
“44? Who? Me?”


12 thoughts on “What I learned on holiday – part 2 (and happy birthday, Richard!)

  1. Looks like a wonderful holiday. And so typically Dutch – the caravan 😉 Just kidding. It’s a great way of seeing the world, I think.
    Prague is wonderful – lovely sunset picture there.
    And kudos for having the time to read six novels. It must have been a holiday with the perfect mixture of sightseeing and relaxation.
    Welcome back!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wasp trap – it was just sweet red juice. They’d struggle for a while and then drown. My husband was surprised at my zeal. I mean, I do alright with wasps, don’t really panic around them but when they keep on zooming around your head or sit on your food when you want to take a bite, that I do not like and so I trapped them. Also, there were just so many, I had to do something…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You had me at Vodka! 😉 … no, actually at that “bone church” – great picture! I once visited a church in southern Bavaria where in niches in the church skeletons of saints/priests (don’t know, it was long ago) lay like in snowhite’s glass coffins, the ribs wrapped in brocade. Fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh, I think I know what you mean! We saw something like that in a Czech church as well, can’t recall off the top of my head which one, though.

      Vodka – skol! Oh wait, skol is Danish, I think.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Servetus

    Safety hat: did you down into the 16th c. mine near Kutna Hora? I loved that place. Also the stained glass windows with mining themes in them in one of the local churches. (Once upon a time I was very interested in sixteenth-century mining.)

    vodka: were the stars shooting or was it the vodka shots? (just kidding)

    happy belated Armitage day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks.

      Yes, we did go down that mine. It was narrow and winding and at one point the guide told us to switch off our helmet lights and it was so very pitch dark! That mine was fascinating.

      On the vodka – not sure. 😉


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