Sunday, October 6, 2013

Koněpruské Jeskyně (Koněprusy Caves)

Last weekend, we took the train southwest of Prague to Beroun and then a 15-minute bus ride to Koněprusy Caves, a series of caves discovered in the '50s and since opened to the public. We went with a few members of the Prague Branch -- it was really helpful to travel with Czechs, so they could help us get where we were going -- and went on a tour through the caves. I don't have pictures because taking photos cost extra and we're cheap. They probably wouldn't have been great, anyway, and you can see photos on the website linked above.

My favorite part of the tour was the last cave, which was used in the 1500s to forge counterfeit Czech coins. Someone needs to write a historical novel about that!

After the tour, we walked 7 kilometers (almost 4.5 miles) to Srbsko and caught the train back to Prague. I know that looks like a scary Czech word, with all those consonants, but you just pronounce all the letters -- it sounds like "Serbsko" with a rolled "r." There are some difficult-to-pronounce words in Czech, but some of the consonant-heavy ones are actually really easy.

It was a beautiful fall day, sunny and breezy, warm in the sun and a little bit cold in the shade. The Czech Republic has public footpaths similar to the ones we loved in the UK, and it was a wonderful walk through farming country, villages, and forest. It was awesome to be out in the clear country air after a couple of months in the city!

The colored glass window at the Beroun train station:

Phin and Jacob outside the caves before the tour:

Jacob, Phin, and Seth on top of the cave exit:

Our whole group with friends from church:

I love walking through people's fields.

Small houses on the edge of a forested area.

I liked this stone house. Or maybe it's a barn.

Our walk through a village neighborhood:

In Srbsko we came to the beautiful Berounka River and saw some people out with their horses:

We walked across the bridge over the Berounka River and watched a group of kids dressed in traditional Czech dress singing and dancing to Czech songs as part of a village celebration of St. Wenceslas Day and Czech Statehood Day. The kids, ranging in age from about 4 to 18, sang and danced and accompanied themselves on double bass, violins, French horn, clarinet, piccolo, and a bagpipe-like instrument made from a goat skin with a carved-wood goat head on it. They sang, played, and danced with a lot of confidence and ease and sounded fantastic.

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