Tours and tortures.

Trip Start Aug 24, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Thursday, October 25, 2012

Another great thing about our cheap b&b is the fantastic breakfast on offer. It's European style of course, with breads, cold meats and spreads. But there is also toast, cereals, fruit and yoghurt on offer. It may as well be all you can eat as there is so much on the table! Excellent way to start the day.

Since reading in Lonely Planet there was a brewery in Cesky Krumlov, Chris has been planning his visit to it! So at 11am we were at the gates of the Eggenberg Brewery. We were expecting a few other people to show up but there was only us and another couple with a baby. Europeans start them young. Then it transpired that they only spoke Czech while we only spoke English. So it was a private tour for us! A few minutes later a man raced in the back door of the brewery and introduced himself as Rosta. He was 74 years old but certainly has the energy and enthusiam of someone 30 years younger. Rosta started by showing us where the original non-pasturised, unfiltered beer is made, the way it was when the brewery started back in the 17th century on the same site. He told us that no computers are involved and a master brewer tastes it at every step to decide more hops, more mash etc. Then we went into the cellars where the beer is sitting in barrels. Rosta flicked the tap on and insisted on us tasting the beer straight from the keg. Apparently in summer it is possible to taste from all 90 kegs. Rosta said that 'Asian men' must be 'put in cart with one wheel' (a wheelbarrow) and pushed out after only 10 tastes...but Czech men will taste from all 90 barrels! At the end of the cellars is a tunnel that leads to a nearby monastery. Back in the day, the men of the clergy would visit the brewery by tunnel and come home rolling drunk unseen by members of the public. And there was also a tunnel to the nunnery for the same reason. Conveniently ending in the same place, coincidence....?

Tickets for our private tour were only $10. And they also included coupons to take to the beer hall next door for a couple of jugs of beer. Chris also paid a little extra for a gift pack of 4 beers. Unbelievably cheap! To accompany our beers we ordered fried camembert with cranberry. Haven't had this since we left NZ. Couldn't pass it up for only $4.

Next stop was the Torture Museum. We were worried it could be in the same vein of the tacky Ghost Museum we had the bad fortune of visiting in Prague but it was better than we were hoping for. It had the potential to be tacky with some of the displays of mannequins but it had just the right mix of informative displays, creepy atmosphere and examples of torture instruments. One of the first displays was a chastity belt which was not usually used an instrument of torture, however could only be worn for a few days before chafing and difficulty cleaning oneself after bodily functions would lead to infection. Its most frequent use was women on the road choosing to wear it to protect themselves to protect themselves from rape. Other displays were of specialised instruments for removing fingers, taking out tongues, lashing and racking. There were plenty of copies of old drawing illustrating how to carry out punishments. About halfway through our visit, everyone else left. It was dark and creepy enough that I made Chris stick close to me!

For dinner, we headed to a place called U Dwau Maryi, translating as The Two Marys. The tavern is right on the riverside under the castle and has been there since the 17th century. Most of their recipes use millet and buckwheat, which was in common use in the medieval ages. Rather tasty and filling.
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