Books, Bones and More Bones

After a long day driving across Germany on Easter Sunday we arrived at our destination, the Basilica in the Bavarian town of Waldsassen only to discover the 10 jewel-encrusted skeletons we came to visit were totally obscured by scaffolding and plywood partitions recently erected to begin the enormous task of renovating the church. We could barely make out these treasures once our eyes adjusted to the darkness.

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So, sadly, my worrisome premonition that all might not be well with the Waldsassen skeletons turned out to be true–sigh. It was such an out-of-the-way place.  Well, they’ll be back on view sometime in 2017 if anyone else is tempted to venture here. We were still happy we’d come to Waldsassen though, as there is a most magnificent 17th century library in the abbey next door,

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complete with tooled leather volumes, fresco-ed ceilings and wonderfully eccentric carving.

We awoke the next morning to…. SNOW! IMG_0966

UGH! The Bavarian countryside, as we could see from the train,  was completely coated in white. I hope, dear Boston, that you are DONE with the white stuff, if so maybe you have us to thank. We feel we have brought it with us.

We arrived in Brno, the second largest city in the Czech Republic last night. Fortified by a typical Czech breakfast of, well, EVERYTHING. We headed off for the Brno ossuary

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50,000 souls, whose skeletons were placed in the underground passageways beneath the church as a way of addressing the lack of space in Brno’s cemeteries, overwhelmed by the plague. (Among other calamities). This ossuary, second largest in Europe, was recently rediscovered and has been open to the public only since 2012. Just a couple blocks away from the Brno ossuary is the equally incredible and eerie Capuchin crypt where naturally mummified monks layIMG_20150407_121439633

 

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side by side.

Besides the mummified Capuchin monks, this crypt hold the beautiful bejeweled St. Clementiane with a waxen face:

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Brno may be the city of bones, but I cannot sign off from this posting without an image of the infamous Brno dragon which hangs from the ceiling of the old city hall. You might have another idea of what this creature is, but you would be wrong.IMG_20150407_132138980_HDR

4 thoughts on “Books, Bones and More Bones

  1. So glad to log onto facebook just now and find a new posting. Sorry the Waldsassen skeletons were not to be seen. What a drag! Reminds me of the place we drove to in France only to find the garden locked up tight…can’t wait for more!

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    • Yup, remember that disappointment well, how we peered longingly through the bars of the locked gate. Oh, and Abbie, remember the reovation/closure of Le Maison Bleu in Dives sur Mer? Seems it’s bound to happen at least once on every adventure like this (and if it’s just once, you’re lucky) , so I tried to steel myself for this eventuality beforehand. So far the Waldsassen renovation has been our only disappointment.

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  2. Jess, GREAT post, GREAT photos…..I will see if I can find my photos of jewel encrusted skeletons in glass boxes from Austria…..love being able to ‘travel’ with you!

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