Have your cake?

Eat it, too.

Not Filling You Full of Hot Air...

Posted by JoeyBreak

...The Czech Republic is fascinating. And forgive me for only showing a few pictures; I have almost a thousand already!

I spent only a few days in the beautiful city of Prague but it was rainy and quite cold. I used the power of the internet to find a mass in English on the Sunday morning before I left and it was in the beautiful Kostela svatý Tomáše (St. Thomas church). I left Prague and went to see the castle in Karlstein, just southwest of the city, but didn't take the whole tour because of the entrance fee. You should know that if there was a fee to take a tour, I usually didn't take it. Most of them didn't allow photographs to be taken anyway. The exception was for the three brewery tours I went on. More on those later.

On my way up the castle through all of the tourist shops, I learned of a unique geographical feature near the castle called Velká Amerika and realized this was where I wanted to hike to. After I took some pictures of the castle, I began my hike. It was only a couple kilometers from the castle but one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. Here's a few pictures from that journey...

After that I took the train to meet up with Martin, the man whom I met on the airplane, in his home town of Příbram where he let me crash at his place. It was a Sunday but there were a few pubs open so we went for a few beers. His roommate also named Martin, joined us. In the morning, he showed me around his hometown, introduced me to his sister and niece and brought me to the amazing and beautiful Svatá Hora or Holy Mountain. Forgive me for not being very descriptive. There just aren't enough words to write about them in this thing. The great part of this is that had I not met Martin, I wouldn't have even known about this and missed it!

From there I was on my way to the city of Plzeň to do a tour of the Pilsner Urquell brewery. Martin even contacted his friend, Petr, who lives in Plzeň, to see if he could meet up with me and show me around. Petr, along with his girlfriend, picked me up at the train station. We dropped off my luggage at their apartment because they offered to let me stay at their place for the night and then Petr and I walked around the city center for a bit. The next morning I walked to the brewery. Forget what you've heard in America, this was truly the birthplace of the pilsner beer which means it is the "true" pilsner. When that was over, Petr and I met up and had a couple of beers while chatting about the country and his worldly travels. He even showed me to the cowboy-western style bar in the city. The only thing missing was American Country music.

After Plzeň, I was headed to the southern part of the Bohemian region to Český Krumlov because the locals had told me how beautiful it was. It turns out there was a brewery there as well! At the tour I actually met a couple guys from Canada and UK. There hostel had raft tours and they invited me. This was a blast. It wasn't so much as whitewater rafting as it was a "pub float." There were places to stop of along the river to get beer or food or whathaveyou. I was originally going to kayak it by myself but I'm glad it worked out this way. There ended up being like 23 people onto three rafts and I was on a raft with a Scot, an Aussie, a Brit, and a Canuck (not the one who invited me). One more was on the raft with us but I don't recall where he was from. The raft was too small for all of us but I paddled at the front and it was just a lot of fun. I'm happy to say I didn't drink to get drunk on the trip and kept my wits about me. Got some great pictures too.

Hit up the Budějovický (Budweiser) Budvar brewery in České Budějovice on my way to Mikulov. Pretty much the original Budweiser too, if you want to read up on it.

The town of Mikulov is actually in the south of the Moravian region in Czech Republic. It is known for its wine (so the locals said) so I was here to taste it. The nearby farms are mostly grapevine fields which is probably a good indication! The wine I tasted was delicious. I wrote their names in my journal for reference. I came to find out that the town actually has some rich history as well. It also used to be a great place for Catholic pilgrimages because of Svatý kopeček or Holy Hill. The pathway up to the church on the hill has a separate monument with statues or paintings for each of the twelve stations of the cross. It's really unique. There are no longer services in the church :( but the views of it and the city below are very nice.

And finally, the last picture I took in the Czech Republic. The sun was casting light through the gray clouds onto Svatý kopeček and a pleasant surprise was flying through.

I loved that every city had tons Christian statues or monuments or a grand church in the center of it. Every rural highway and intersection I saw had six feet tall or higher crucifixes made from concrete or metal or both! I highly recommend a vacation here and hope I can come back some day. Better get here before they change over to the Euro money system.



Kyle0101 said...

wow! Man these are some great pictures. However I feel like you are visiting a little too many brewery's and may develop a drinking problem when you get back state-side, haha, just kidding. Keep updating this thing when you get a chance i pretty much check it everyday, i'm sure you're busy though. Oh and I better see some sweet pics of the golf course you play when you get back to dublin!! If you play that is, but how could you pass up a round of golf there? Talk to ya later.