Beer Challenge!

Trip Start Aug 29, 2010
Trip End Oct 04, 2010

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Friday, September 10, 2010

Today we left Berlin for Prague. We traveled by train, which was a very relaxing trip through beautiful countryside. Lots of rolling hills, trees, and old houses on either side of us most of the way. Otherwise, the trip was uneventful. We got ti Prague, stopped at the ATM to get some Czech crowns (they don't accept euros even though they're in the EU), and took a cab to our hostel, which is pretty nice though we're still in an eight-bed room.
When we loaded up on various tour advertising, Barry noticed something called the Beer Challenge, a tour through various Prague breweries talking about and drinking Czech beer. It was 530pm at the time and the Challenge started at 6, so we decided why not, and headed out. Great decision. I'll just give s brief overview of different aspects of the night, which ended around midnight.
First, the beer. Very cheap and very, very good. We had several different ones throughout the evening, and learned both that beer as a drink is over 9,000 years old and modern beer as we know it originated in Bohemia. We were even able to try some beers directly from the tank! Most interesting was at the oldest brewery in Europe, called U Medviku (at the little bear), which was around since 1466, where we were able to drink the original Budweiser, called Budvar. It was absolutely delicious, not something I'm used to associating with Budweiser... Also they have a beer called X33, which is 12.5% alcohol and surprisingly tasted of apricots. Was quite good and easy to drink. Most of the beers were almost unbelievably cheap, we're talking a couple dollars max for really high quality beverages.
Next, the people. Our tour group was very interesting, and there was a lot of good conversation the night through. The tour guides themselves were Christian, a half-Swedish half-Czech with a Scot wife, and Justin, an American from Boston with a Czech girlfriend who he brought and told me not to speak Russian because Czechs hate Russians. Additionally there was a Spaniard whose name I didn't catch who was apparently training to lead the tour in Spanish. For the other tourists, there were two Aussies from Adelaide in the middle of a seven month trip around the world, an American in the Navy who is stationed in Spain on vacation, an American on his way through Europe towards Syria, and a Japanese girl and her mother. An eclectic bunch. But the topic of conversation was far reaching throughout the night, from politics to history to beer to flamenco to Communism to everything else. Learned a lot and had a great time.
Lastly, the places. Wandering the streets of Prague itself is pretty awesome. The city, which managed not to be destroyed in WWII, is a unique blend of old and new, and all the streets are pretty narrow and winding. The bars were very cozy and had a warm feel to them. Most interesting was the final stop, a bar called Propaganda. This place was covered with old Communist posters, ads, busts of Lenin and Stalin, various books, and a giant map of the world decorated to look like a war room display of impending nuclear holocaust. We got a mini tour around the place, which was surprisingly big, and there were many interesting things to see, to many to list.
After the Challenge, we walked back to our hostel with our new Navy friend who was also staying here. We were very happy to have noticed this tour and happier still to have gone on it. One of our favorite events in Europe thus far for sure!
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Margarita on

Really? You didn't know about the Chech beer?

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