Budweis - The Original

Trip Start May 30, 2012
Trip End Nov 07, 2012

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Saturday, June 30, 2012

Two of the reasons we decided to stay in Ceske Budejovice, (also known as Budweis) were because 1) it was close to Cesky Krumlov but not as touristy, and 2) it is the home of the original Budweiser beer called Budvar. In Canada the USA, this beer is called Czechvar, not Budweiser. The American Budweiser beer company is separate from the Czech city of Budweis it is named after. Anyways, we were lucky enough to take a tour of the Budvar factory. There were only three of us on the English tour so we could ask as many questions as we wanted. It was quite interesting and we could take pictures of whatever we wanted to. I guess the Czechs have nothing to hide about their beer. We were taken to all the facilities of the beer making process, including the well where they get their pure water for the beer. We also saw the copper/stainless steel tanks where the hops are added, and the 3 degree celcius rooms where the fermenting is done. Our tour did include a cup of brand new Budvar beer. It hit the spot on a warm day.

As cool as that was, the story of the day comes from earlier that morning. While Jess and I were waiting for the bus to go to Hluboka, an older man in his seventies overheard us speaking English and he asked us where we are from. When we told him Canada, his eyes lit up and in his Czech accent, he said "me too." Turns out he and his wife are from the Czech Republic, but have spent 40 years living in Halifax. He was very proud to be Canadian, but also very proud of his Czech heritage. When I asked him and his wife what language they spoke at home, they said they tried speaking English at home \, but when they got really angry at each other, they couldn't express themselves so they said "to hell with it" and spoke Czech. We talked with them all the way to Hluboka. He pointed out the house he grew up in as we drove by, and they both gave us advice on where to go and how to stay safe.

Once in Hluboka, we walked to a beautiful English Castle that some royals used as a hunting lodge. There were deer heads made of stone everywhere with real antlers attached to them. We stopped by a knife shop just down the hill from the castle and talked to another older Czech couple. They owned the knife store and the lady (the only one who spoke English) told how her husband makes the knives and puts the unique designs on them. She also told us how every Czech probably had this certain fish knife at one point when they were young. The fish knife tradition went back 113 years. They were very warm and friendly people.

We spent the rest of the day walking around Budweis and enjoying our last night there.

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