Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Cheap thrills in the Czech Republic! Part five

There was one thing I remembered from our first visit to Plzen.  In 2009, I remember Bill driving down a main drag and seeing a large "Thank You, America" memorial.  Unfortunately, I had forgotten to bring my camera with me on that trip and, at that time, didn't own a smartphone.  I was hoping we'd get to see the "Thank You, America" memorial on this trip, since it kind of makes me feel a little pride for my country.  It was built in 1995, fifty years after the United States Army, led by General George Patton, liberated Plzen from the Nazis.

Sadly, we missed the memorial, not because I didn't have my camera, but because apparently it recently disintegrated.  I can't help but be reminded that the memorial's decline is not unlike the decline in the United States right now.  It seems almost symbolic.  But anyway, for those who would like to see a photo of Plzen's "thanks" to America when it was still standing, follow the link.

I am heartened to report that the memorial is being repaired and will be reconstructed with French marble, which I guess is sturdier.  I guess the materials available in 1995 were of poor quality, which doesn't surprise me, since in 1995, the United States was sending Peace Corps Volunteers to the Czech Republic.  That was a time when things weren't as prosperous in the Czech Republic as they are now.  Anyway, the memorial will be back at some point, probably as good as new.  Hopefully, our country will likewise be repaired in the coming years.  Incidentally, there is also a museum and memorial for General Patton, for those who are interested.  In fact, I saw a lot of references to America in Plzen, including a street named for Franklin D. Roosevelt.

We came back to our little cottage with beer, wine, "crocketts", breakfast pastries, and other odds and ends.  I had looked in vain for Chodovar beer in the Kaufland.  They didn't have any of that.  They did have some interesting wines, though.  We picked up a couple of bottles from Bulgaria, as well as a couple of Czech wines.  We tried the Bulgarian merlot, but the others will have to be tested later.


Potato croquettes.  We discovered these on an earlier trip to the Czech Republic.

Because we were really full from lunch and it was cold outside, we decided to stay in and watch the Winter Olympics on the big TV.  We had "crocketts" for dinner.  What I call crocketts are actually potato croquettes.  They are all kinds of delicious.  We discovered them in June 2008, when Bill and I visited Passau, Germany for my 36th birthday.  Passau is not far from the Czech border, so on the big day itself, we drove into the Czech Republic and visited Ceske Budjovice and Cesky Krumlov.  We had lunch in Budjovice, which is where the "original" Budweiser is made.

I don't remember exactly what we had for lunch on that visit.  I probably had duck because I love it.  But I do remember that whatever we had came with a side of potato croquettes.  Our waiter pronounced it "crocketts", which we thought was funny.  I know you can get potato croquettes in Germany, but somehow they seem different in the Czech Republic.  I actually went hunting for them at Kaufland.  It wasn't easy, but I finally found them in a sea of frozen pommes.  There were only a few bags.  I guess the Czech people love them, too.

We watched skiing, including multiple replays of Czech skier Ester Ledecka, an adorable snowboarder and Alpine skier who won gold in the Super-G competition.  She was so cute, because after she finished her run, she looked absolutely stunned to be in first place.  She had borrowed the skis on which she won her medal.

We also watched multiple interviews with Czech men's figure skater, Michal Brezina, who is married to a retired American skater and trains in California.  I got a huge kick out of his hair.  I probably enjoyed that as much as I did his long program.  It was a treat to get to watch the Olympics, since we don't get local TV.  I guess if we could watch them at home in Germany, we might have been more inclined to eat dinner on the town.

After a few hours of Olympic coverage, chowing down on croquettes, and drinking Bulgarian wine, we went to bed.  I was determined to do more on Sunday.

Part six

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