Czech out this City!

Trip Start ??? ??, 1994
Trip End ??? ??, 1994

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Flag of Czech Republic  ,
Sunday, May 22, 1994

Mariánské Lázně is the Czech's Republic second biggest spa town. It is a lovely town located in a valley surrounded by forests. Marianske Lazne has numerous 19th century buildings, large parks, well-marked paths to the nearby forests and lakes, and perhaps the best 18-hole golf course in the country.  The city reached its prime in the 19th century and attracted such celebrities as British King Edward VII, Mark Twain, Thomas Edison, Richard Wagner and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.  I like this YouTube video  

This picturesque park-like town is dotted with fountains, colonnades and elaborate spa houses.  Under communist Czechoslovakia the spas deteriorated from neglect, though today, along with its sister spa towns of Frantiskovy Lazne and Karlovy Vary, Marianske Lazne is again flourishing. You should see the stunning interiors of Hotel Nova Lane.

There's no question that "spa" is a big focus in Marianske Lazne and it doesn't come cheap.  Overall your dollar still goes far in this country, but the spas cater to a wealthy crowd.  Foods and accomodations (except in the deluxe hotels) are still fairly cheap.

Healing springs:

The top attraction of the town are its healing springs (as much as 100) and they have been known for their mineral-rich waters that cure circulatory and kidney ailments. It's pretty hard to swallow a sip from one of the wells though - the high iron content makes it taste like you're licking a metal popsicle.  I've only tried the water at the Křízový pramen (Cross spring), a monumental pavilion with a copula bearing a patriarchal cross and 72 ionic columns.


There are churches of most Christian denominations in Marienbad, but I have to say the prettiest ones are the Russian Orthodox churches.  


The water from the Cross, Caroline's and Rudolph's Springs is piped to the Colonnade for the drinking cures and every time I was there you could bottle it up for free.  If you forgot your bottle you can buy one of their souvenir cups.  It's special and hard to describe, but above the handle there's an opening, kind of like a pipe and serves like a straw.  A truly unique souvenier :).  The Colonnade itself is a beautiful semicircle of walkway enclosed by a impressing structure of cast iron and glass.  During winter months the Collonade looks simply magical.

The singing fountain:

This fountain dances to classical orchestra tunes by famous composers and even puts on a light show at night.  The fountain sings at the top of every odd hour, between 7am and 9pm, and at 10pm.  It is a lovely sight - you'll love it.   Here's a small video.

Hamelika is the name of a tower that provides you with a scenic view of the Marianske Lazne area. 

Prag is a three hour drive from Marianske Lazne, but maybe you could connect it through a roundtrip or if you don't mind the drive make it a daytrip.  I haven't been to Prague, but every picture I've seen so far shows a very romantic city with medieval charme.  I'm sure you'll find excellent travelogues for Prague if you search this site (not my blog).

Miniature Park

This park is located next to the hotel Krakonos, above Marianske Lazne and you can admire exact copies of famous buildings from the Czech Republic.

Geological Park
This park is located in a forest above the city. The park features typical minerals which can be found in the Slavkovsky Les Nature Reserve.  This reminds me that there were a lot of small neighborhood stores throughout Marianske Lazne selling minerals in all colors, sizes and shapes. 

Hotel Střelnice
Everytime I've been to Marienbad I've stayed at this hotel.  I might not have paid very much attention to the detail due to my age at that time, but I remember that I liked it.  The hotel is surrounded by woods, has it's own bowling alley (only 1 row), tennis courts, cafe and restaurant and it was a short and beautiful 15 minute walk to the center of Marienbad (singing fountain, colonnade & cross spring).  Nowadays the hotel also offers a medical spa.  The spa didn't exist during my stays, but without putting this hotel down I don't think it's spa will compare to those of the big luxury hotels in the city center.  This is not to say that the services won't be good.  I just like you to think of this hotel as a budget option and you might get a better deal on your spa treatments here, but I'm not sure the walls are painted a cozy colour and there's relaxing music playing in the background.   Don't stay at this hotel if you plan to stay in the hotel during the daytime.  However if you like the idea of having breakfast and then leave to see attractions, come back at night and have dinner and maybe some sports at the hotel, then hotel Strelnice is ideal.

Czech out these foods & drinks:
I remember their houskové knedlíky (bread dumplings) a side dish that was served with gravy.  This is something I haven't ever seen anywhere else and it was quite delicious.

Palacinky - these yummy crepes are filled with fruit or jelly and topped with whipped cream and chocolate.  It's so hard to choose, so they made it easy and just give you both :) 
Ovocne knedliky are dumplings filled with plums or other fruit and topped with sugar, cream cheese and melted butter. Also a very tasty dessert.

Karlovarske Oplatky - sweat cream captured between two thin waffles the size of a dinner plate.  These treats are packed and very delicious.  They come in all kinds of flavors and make a uniqe souvenier.

Pivo (Beer) - The Czech Republic is famous for their Pilzen beer.  Give it a try and if you like it then you just discovered yourself a budget "drink" option as beer is often cheaper than a coke or a cup of coffee.

This might sound strange, but it's considered rude if you hold the door for a woman.  A gentleman in the Czech Republic is supposed to first check the place out to make sure it's okay before the woman enters.  How rude to just send your woman in :)

Personally I think that summer is a nice time to visit Marienbad, because you can take full advantage of all the parks and see the beautiful flowers planted all over the city.  Howerver the winter pictures I've seen are breathtaking.  So hard to decide...

PS:  It's safe to walk around the city at night and it's quite beautful

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Where I stayed
Hotel Střelnice
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