Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Cheap thrills in the Czech Republic! Part four

I mentioned in previous posts about our Czech Republic trip that this is a country that loves its beer.  Czech citizens drink more beer per capita than any other country, including Germany, Ireland, and Belgium.  This is a country where beer costs less than bottled water and they've been making beer since 993 A.D.  So it's not surprising that a lot of beer lovers come to the Czech Republic to taste their suds and visit breweries.

Bill and I had every intention of touring Pilsner Urquell's brewery, which is based in Plzen.  On our last visit, back in 2009, we toured Plzen's awesome Brewery Museum and really enjoyed it.  But as we approached Pilsner Urquell, I noticed how huge the place was.  Then I noticed all the tours were timed, because they are offered in different languages.  We could either take a 1:00pm tour or a 2:45pm tour.  We could tour Pilsner Urquell or Gambrinus... I actually found myself a little overwhelmed.  I need more than a weekend to do all of this stuff!


The big gate at Pilsner Urquell in Plzen.


Bill figures out the map at Pilsner Urquell.


It's a big place!  Free parking is available there, but there's also a large parking garage nearby that is super cheap.  Bill paid about 70 cents for several hours of parking on Saturday.  The parking garage also has clean WCs.  I was surprised by how civilized it was.


"Man, that's good beer!"

My stomach started rumbling and we decided we'd rather have lunch first.  We walked out of the Pilsner Urquell complex, crossed the large, busy street, and headed toward the Brewery Museum, which has a restaurant.  We ate in the restaurant the first time we visited Plzen, so we knew we'd find English menus there.  It was very busy; consequently, lunch was a leisurely, but delicious affair.  I really love Czech cuisine, which is somewhat like German cuisine, but with more or different seasonings.


The Brewery Museum's restaurant has very good food.  We were spoiled for choice.


I eventually settled on duck leg confit with onion gravy and bread dumplings...


Bill had pork with mashed potatoes and gravy.  That pork was delicious!  Very tender and flavorful.

Although it's a good idea for me to eat before I try to sightsee, I also have a tendency to take too long at lunchtime, especially when there's beer being offered.  We each had a Pilsner Urquell, but then we tried a lovely dark Sladko, pictured below.  It was rich, malty, and kind of like a beery milkshake.



Oh, this was sooo good!

By the time we were finished with lunch, the urge to tour a museum or a brewery had left us.  However, I do want to get back to Plzen if only so we can take the Historical Plzen Underground Tour, which is offered by the Brewery Museum.  I wish we'd done this on Saturday, because it's only 50 minutes and offers a look at about one kilometer of Plzen's 14 kilometers of underground tunnels.  Actually, looking around Plzen, I could see that any visitor who likes beer will be kept busy for several days.  Trying to make a choice of what to see seemed overwhelming, although having seen the Brewery Museum during our first visit, I would definitely recommend that to any visitor.  It's very well-done and translations are offered in 15 languages.  Pilsner Urquell also offers a virtual tour online, for those who'd rather not tour the facility and say they did.



An example of Czech advertising.


I actually took this photo to remind me that there are things for young people to do, too.  Plzen has a zoo and other activities for kids.


One of the prettier views in Plzen.


St. Bartholomew's Cathedral.  It dates from the 13th century and opened in 1529.


Around the square.








Off in the distance, a brand new bride and groom were having a photo shoot.  I felt sorry for the bride, because it was really cold outside and she only wore a wrap around her shoulders to cover her dress.  Kudos to her for not freezing!




For the kids to play on...



The guys in this photo were all dressed in medieval garb.  Bill said they were probably going to spar with each other.

By about 3:00pm, we decided to go to Kaufland to pick up a French press for coffee and maybe a few odds and ends for dinner.  The Kaufland reminded me very much of a Real on Saturday.  It was packed with people.  Still, we managed to find what we needed, including a bag of "crocketts".  I'll explain that in the next post.


I got a kick out of this wienie eating dude.  We bought some of his franks.

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