In Cesky Krumlov... another place I need to see again. I climbed this tower, too. Phew!
10. It helps to speak some German if you go to the Czech Republic.
A lot of younger people do speak some English, but you'll find it's not as prevalent there as it is in other western European countries. Bill and I have noticed that a lot of people speak German and some speak more German than English. So, if you've been trying to come up with a reason to try harder to learn German, that's one right there. It might help you communicate better in the Czech Republic.
9. It's still super cheap to visit the Czech Republic!
Although it's in the EU and its economy has picked up in recent years, the Czech Republic still has its own currency. And it's still really a cheap to visit this country. For our three nights in a rented house, food, gas, and beer, we spent about $635. And we didn't economize. If you're looking for cheap and work at it, you can really score a bargain by visiting the Czech Republic. However, if you want to save money when changing money, don't go to a Wechselstube. Visit a bank or ATM instead.
8. There's a lot to do in the Czech Republic... so much so that you may have trouble choosing.
Especially if you like beer, which Bill and I do. You will have plenty of breweries to tour, beers to taste, and even some to soak in it if you are so inclined! But if beer isn't your thing, you can still visit churches, museums, zoos, and take tours of other historical sites.
7. If you are an aviation or military buff, you should try to visit the Air Park in Zruc-Senec.
For about five bucks a head, you and your buddies can walk around a very cool museum where there are tanks, airplanes, helicopters, and the like. In the summer, there are guided tours, though in the winter, you are less likely to encounter crowds. The museum has been open since 1993 by a father and son and is continually expanding.
6. I love garlic soup!
Garlic soup is a Czech treat and it supposedly cures hangovers. That's a win for me. I would also imagine it's great for when you're sick with a cold or flu.
5. Parking is cheap or even free.
I was surprised to find out that parking at Pilsner Urquell is free. The nearby parking garage, which is within walking distance, is super cheap and secure. It also has clean bathrooms that are free to use.
4. I'm still fit enough to climb 301 stairs and not collapse.
3. It's okay to do yard work on Sundays.
This is only a surprise if you've lived in Germany for awhile. I'll probably go through another culture shock when we move back to the States someday.
2. What Czech cities lack in aesthetics, they make up for in heart.
I'll admit my first impressions of Plzen after a nine year break were kind of negative. It's an industrial city and there are lots of factories belching filth into the sky. There are lots of ugly communist era buildings. There's plenty of trash and pollution that we don't necessarily see in Germany or France. However, once I was there and mingling, I realized that Plzen has sort of a scrappy charm that appealed to me. I noticed the ugly factories less and focused on the older architecture, the delicious food and beer, and the warmth of the people, who were welcoming and kind, especially to our wallets!
*Note- Prague doesn't count as lacking in aesthetics. It's still a beautiful city! And cheap, too!
1. I want to go back... soon!
There are still parts of the Czech Republic I want to discover. High on the list is Brno, which I hear is an undiscovered and unspoiled gem. I've heard it's even cooler than Prague is, which is a tall order indeed. If we stay here long enough and run out of places to see, maybe we'll do a Czech tour of sorts. I think that could be a fascinating trip!
Five Petalled Rose Festival in Cesky Krumlov, back in 2008. That is a great time to visit the medieval town, because people dress for the occasion! This festival takes place in June.