Trip Start May 05, 2007
Trip End Aug 02, 2007

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Flag of Czech Republic  ,
Saturday, June 23, 2007

Plzen would be better recognized in its Germanized spelling, Pilsner; this town is the home of the famous beer Pilsner Urquell (originally a Czech beer but marketed under its German name).  Pilsner beer has been brewed here since the 1100s, but the modern variety emerged in the mid-nineteenth century.  The town itself was nice but nothing special, but the Pilsner brewery made it much worth a trip.  Visitors get to see much of the beer making process and taste unfiltered beer in the actual beer cellars.  The whole Pilsner complex is basically a tribute to the drink.  Because beer is so central to the Czech Republic (really Bohemia), it makes a great stop!

We took the 10 am bus from the far western Zlicin station (serves domestic western Bohemia).  Upon arriving in Plzen after the hour bus ride, we wandered throughout the town center and down by the river to the brewery before hopping in line to buy tickets for a tour.

This was actually my favorite day trip that we took.  The commercialized brewery was so neat...everything in the factory and the cellars made the trip a little corny (ok the manequin figures they have in the cellars were really corny though they're common in the region - they were also all throughout the mine shafts in Ostrava).  But the brewery tour was still exciting.  To be honest, I didn't like the unfiltered beer (actually gave it away), but it was a nice thing that they let you try it (unfiltered beer is supposed to be the freshest, purest beer but they can't sell it because it only lasts 2-3 weeks).

After the tour, we ate in the restaurant at the brewery, which was actually quite good, though over-priced, bought cheap steins as souveneirs, and ran (literally ran) to the bus station across town to catch the 6 pm bus.
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