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The Czech Countryside and 80p beers!

After finally getting over the worst case of the runs i’ve had in my life, we made a new plan and headed for Telc in the Moravian area of the Czech Republic. Telc (pronounced Telch)

Cesky Krumlov Castle Complex

Cesky Krumlov Castle Complex

is a very cute little town with a Unesco World Heritage listed old town square and a renaissance style castle. But after taking advantage of the free wifi and free washing in Budapest all morning, we didn’t make it to Telc until after 5 so sight seeing was out. Instead we settled in for a couple of local ales that immediately reinforced Bretto’s notion that Czech beers are the best in the world! And at only 80p a pint, how could you not love it?! Because we were so excited about how cheap everything was, we decided to go out to dinner at the fanciest (and only) hotel restaurant in town. 2 ginormous meals, 3 pints, an apple juice and 8 euro later, I drove to our campsite while Bretto gave me really shitty directions (“it’s left here I know it, it’s so familiar to me” – “um, no Bretto, the sign right in front of your face says it’s right”). The next morning we got Krcma v Satlavske – the best meat grill in Czech!Krcma v Satlavske – the best meat grill in Czech!

Krcma v Satlavske – the best meat grill in Czech!up early enough to go and see the town’s only other attraction (cos you can only walk around a 100 x 200 metre square for so long), the Water Castle. Our tour was very confusing at first, because we couldn’t understand why we had to follow a Czech tour when it said the tour was in English. As we found out later, they do all the tours like this in the Czech Republic – you simply take the next available tour and if it’s not in your language, you get given a booklet to read instead. Unfortunately this makes for a boring tour because you don’t see much as you spend all your time reading and then catching up to your tour group.

 

TAVERN IN ŠATLAVSKÁ STREET

TAVERN IN ŠATLAVSKÁ STREET

Once we had exhausted all the possibilities of Telc, we moved on with the plan we decided on the day before, and drove west to visit Cesky Krumlov which was been recommended to us by several friends and other random travellers. The town is all cobbled streets and cute shops crowned by a huge castle with an elaborately painted turret, and surrounded by mountains and a river that snakes its way around the old town. Cesky view over Cesky Krumlov from the Castleview over Cesky Krumlov from the Castle

view over Cesky Krumlov from the CastleKromlov Castle is probably the biggest attraction in town, but like most of the castle’s we’ve been to, you have to book a tour to see the inside. This time though, the tour really was in English and it was the Spanish and French people who had to read the guidebook. Our tour guide spoke very well but she had such a strange accent and was telling us such random stuff that Bretto and I were basically pissing ourselves the whole time.

This one time, she took us through the biggest hall of the castle where the nobles used to hold fancy balls, and explained to us the ‘amazing’ ceiling. We looked up and saw that it was painted to look like it had roman columns leading up to an ‘ornate’ ceiling. It wasn’t really painted that well but she was 100% serious when she looked at us all and said “It’s not actually real. It’s an optical illusion”. No way!!! Thank god she told us, just in case we mistook a painted roof for a ‘real’ roman style colonnaded hall with marble reliefs on the ceiling!!!

Unfortunately after being in Italy and France, we didn’t find the Czech Inside the Pilsner Urquell brewery and surrounded by the copper kettles heating up the beer to 700 degrees

Inside the Pilsner Urquell Brewery

Inside the Pilsner Urquell Brewery

celciusInside the Pilsner Urquell brewery and surrounded by the copper kettles heating up the beer to 700 degrees celcius

Inside the Pilsner Urquell brewery and surrounded by the copper kettles heating up the beer to 700 degrees celciusidea of grandeur very grand at all and it even sometimes felt like it was a bit cheap – painting facades instead of constructing reliefs, hollow fake marble alters instead of 2 tonne marble bench tops. The outside of the castle was painted to look like bricks, the tower had painted vines and other decorations, even the “marble” was fake and constructed over wooden frames. Don’t get me wrong though, it was still interesting to see and the town is great, it’s just that the Czech idea of an amazing renaissance castle is actually very plain and quite small compared to the French and the Italians (and even the English). But we had a very enjoyable visit to the castle, and admired the view over the town, walked through the beautifully manicured grounds and stared at the Castle’s captive bear waiting for it to do something interesting (it didn’t, and they never do when you’re watching – but as soon as we left I bet it got up, danced on it’s hind legs, and then played a flute).

We had lunch at an amazing grill place which was a meat lovers paradise (Bretto was beyond pleased!) where all the one of the springs in Karlovy Vary filled with ‘magical’ spring water.one of the springs in Karlovy Vary filled with ‘magical’ spring water.

one of the springs in Karlovy Vary filled with 'magical' spring water.

one of the springs in Karlovy Vary filled with ‘magical’ spring water.

one of the springs in Karlovy Vary filled with ‘magical’ spring water.orders were cooked over an open log fire grill in the middle of the restaurant. The taste was awesome and Bretto has vowed to build when we finally get a place! After a very satisfying late lunch we decided to leave and head 20kms away to Sumava to do a much anticipated (and very much needed!) hike in the morning along the Povydri Trail where the Iron Curtain seperated the east from the west. But in the morning, we woke up to a very wet and drizzly day and so headed on to Plzen instead to visit the Pilsner Urquell brewery. The tour was very cool, loved seeing the production of the first lager in the world and the best part was, after the tour we all had a sample of the original, organic, unfiltered version of the lager in the factory’s old storage cellars. Bretto was in beer heaven. After our tour, we decided to move on to Karlovy Vary just to the west of Prague after seeing the only camping site on offer in Plzen (let’s just say creepy doesn’t even begin to describe it). Our new campsite was so pretty, just a little spot on a beautifully Tasting the unfiltered brew in the breweries cellars.Tasting the unfiltered brew in the breweries cellars.

Tasting the unfiltered brew in the breweries cellars.manicured lawn behind an old traditional wooden hotel. Sooo much better! Karlovy Vary is famous for it’s hot springs and in the morning wed rove in to town to taste the water that would cure all our ailments. There are about 10 around the town and everyone walks around with special ceramic sipping cups drinking from the ‘magical’ springs pouring out of fountains all over the town. The only thing ‘magical’ about the water is that people actually come to this town to drink that disgusting shit! It comes out of the tap hot and it tastes like salty soda water with a rotten egg smell. Neither of us felt healed by lunch time, only sick, so we left the magicalness behind, and made headway for Prague – yay!

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