Na zdraví from the beer drinking capital
Trip Start Jan 11, 2011
60Trip End Jul 13, 2011
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On Wednesday, June 15 we woke up and had our free breakfast at our hostel before heading out for the day. Our hostel was pretty far from the city center and the main tourist attractions so Brian and I walked about an hour to get to Prague Castle which is actually a series of buildings on top of a plateau surrounded by a wall. We made it there just in time to see the changing of the guards complete with a small band and a mini-parade. Then we bought a 'short tour' version of Prague Castle which included the St. Vitus Cathedral, the Old Royal Palace, St. Wenceslas Chapel and Golden Lane. The Old Royal Palace was intriguing to walk through as so many different ruling groups have used it over the years. It was the also the sight where a priest was thrown out of a window to kill him which initiated the 30 Years War. Golden Lane was pretty and interesting. They had a lot of old armor and weapons there front the Medieval Ages. Brian and I each were able to fire a medieval crossbow (I was more accurate of course, haha). After the Golden Lane we also saw an old prison that was within the Daliborka Tower before leaving the Castle. We then walked down the hill past a small vineyard and down toward St. Charles Bridge. We stopped along the way to get our Prague/Czech Republic souvenirs. The Charles Bridge is famous mostly because of how old it is. The pedestrian only bridge was built in 1357 and has 30 statues on it dating from the 18th century. After we walked up and down the bridge seeing various street performers including the 'Bridge Band' we headed toward a place to eat. We stopped near the Franz Kafka museum to see the 'Piss' sculpture with two stylized figures peeing in a puddle shaped like the Czech Republic. Then while Brian read for a while in an English bookstore I took a nap in some grass soaking in some sun. After that we walked along the river for a while until we got to a big outdoor picnic area overlooking the city. There we each had a few good Czech beers and a kielbasa sausages as we read and enjoyed the view. As the temperature started to drop we decided to make the long walk back to our hostel. That night we read and spent some time online before going to bed.
We woke up on Thursday, June 16 with the intention of going to Plzen (also spelled Pilsen by the Germans) to go to the birthplace of pilsner beer and do a brewery tour of the Pilsner Urquell Brewery. However, after walking all the way to the train station we discovered that all of the public transportation employees were on strike for the day. Therefore we made a reservation to go on Beer tour in Prague later in the day. We then went to a nearby park for we read for a couple of hours. I was reading the Mummy by Anne Rice and Brian, at the time, was re-reading a favorite book of his online on my phone. After a couple hours of reading we headed back to our hostel to make lunch. We the left of our noodles from the first night with some good sauce, bread, and grapes. We also tried the Budweiser Budvar beer with lunch. The Budweiser Budvar beer originated in the Czech Republic and then when the Anheuser-Busch group opened up a brewery in the USA they used the Budweiser name because it was synonymous with good beer. I would say, without a doubt, that the Czech version of Budweiser is much better than the American. After lunch we read for a little while and took a brief nap before walking toward the city center. There was a small traditional food festival going on in a big plaza. We sampled a kielbasa and took some photos in front of the astronomical clock from 1410 while waiting for our beer tour to start. Our beer tour was quite fun and informative. We got to try five different Czech beers in three different local restaurants/bars. Two of the places were microbreweries that brewed some great beer. We also learned a few things on the tour like that the Czech Republic drinks the most amount of beer per capita of any country in the world. We also learned where the term 'proof' comes from to describe the amount of alcohol in a liquor having to do with the fact that a liquor burns when it is at least 50% alcohol and therefore can be 'proven.' Along the tour we bought a couple of cool beer glasses. After our tour we headed back toward the city center. We had some a really good potato dish with meat from the traditional food festival along with one more kielbasa each. Then we walked back to our hostel, read and went to bed.
On Friday, June 17 we woke up, had cereal for breakfast at our hostel, packed up all our bags and then headed off for the train station. We left Prague in a train headed toward Berlin at about 12:30pm.