Trip Start Dec 29, 2005
25Trip End Aug 20, 2006
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Other Czech towns: Pilsen, Cesky Krumlov, Karlstejn--
Two hours northwest of Prague is Cesky Krumlov, where we toured a major glass factory which supplies a good part of Europe with a wide variety of tumblers, designed glass, and beer mugs. The owner gave us a full walk-through of the factory after telling his story. Labeling of glasses is also done here, as beer in Europe is served on draft in specially-shaped glasses chosen by the beer company, along with beer logo. This is sometimes applied manually and sometimes automatically. At the end, we were given a set of six Stella Artois glasses and three German Soccer Team commemorative glasses in anticipation of the World Cup.
Next was a very short stop in Pilsen, the birthplace of pilsner beer. Driving past the brewery, we saw a very old, Roman-esque entryway into the facility where the very tasty Pilsner Urquell is brewed. Nearby was a famous restaurant pub which introduced the beer. Otherwise, the Town Square was beautiful, as in all European towns, with a cathedral and that special architecture. A large synagogue was just a block away from the townsquare's cathedral. Not so touristy, it was nice to walk around for a few minutes in more of a "normal" town.
Only a couple hours by train was Karlstejn, where large storybook castle towered on the hill above town. Walking through the small town, past stores of all sorts, we reached the castle. Taking the tour, we confirmed it was, indeed, a castle.