Prague Travel A Visit To An Authentic Czech Beer Hall

My local experts Jitka Simkova, owner of Prague Walks.com, together with her colleague Karel had given me a great introduction to Old Town Prague. The day was getting late now and the air was definitely getting cooler.

We had turned around in the middle of the Charles Bridge and started walking eastwards again. As Karel had another appointment he said goodbye, and Jitka and I continued our walk through the narrow streets of Prague. We strolled through the cobble-stoned Karlova Street (also referred to as Charles Street) that was teeming with people. I marveled at the many bars, restaurants and souvenir shops. Many of the shops sell marionettes, a typical Czech souvenir. Jitka added that years ago one would have mostly seen imported Russian matroshka dolls, but nowadays Czech crafts and the tradition of marionette-making have returned. The Don Giovanni Marionette Theatre is also located on this street.

Karlova Street is also part of the Coronation Route, or the Royal Route, that Czech Kings took for their coronation proceedings. The route started at the medieval Powder Tower, passed through historic Celetna Street, across Old Town Square and then Karlova Street to the Charles Bridge from where the royal procession went through Lesser Town on the other side of the Vltava River, finally all the way up to Prague Castle.

On a side street we stopped at the House of the Golden Snake which Jitka explained was the first coffee house in Prague in the 17th century. As we were walking through the streets I commented that I had been reading that Prague is now the sixth most popular urban tourist destination in Europe, after London, Paris, Rome, Madrid and Barcelona. This was not at all surprising to me because Prague’s extensive historic architecture, the many sights and the great entertainment opportunities make it a world class tourist destination.

Steps away I looked up and saw a sculpture of Siegmund Freud hanging in the air, about five or six stories up. Neither one of us had an explanation for this surprising sculpture.

As we were walking through the old streets of Prague Jitka also pointed out the Police Headquarters which is a building that many people have very dark memories of. Even Vaclav Havel, the first democratic president of the Czech Republic, was incarcerated here. My expert guide mentioned that the country has seen a lot of change in the last 20 years, morphing from a Communist one-party state under Soviet influence to a free-market oriented Western democracy. Most of the changes have been good, but some people in the Czech Republic have had problems adjusting to the new changing times.

Jitka also explained that beer making and beer drinking are great Czech traditions. The most well-known Czech beers are Pilsner Urquell and Budweiser (the original Budweiser, not the American brand brewed by Anheuser-Busch). In keeping with this theme, our destination tonight was a typical Czech beer hall called �U Medvidku�, which means �By the Bears�.

We entered this large building which stems back to the 15th century, and took a seat in the corner by the window. Dozens of locals were spread out in this 550-seat restaurant which has a very cozy feel due to the vaulted ceilings. Jitka explained that this is one of the most historic restaurants and beer halls in all of Prague.

Milan, the restaurant manager, came over, and started to give us a tour of this historic establishment. We walked through another room with vaulted ceilings where an accordion player was playing a tune that sounded very much like �Roll out the barrels� that had the entire crowd singing and clapping with him. People here mostly seemed to be locals and they were definitely having a great time!

We came into the microbrewery portion of the restaurant where Milan explained that the restaurant brews two types of beer on site: Old Gott, a lager beer with 5 % alcohol, and X33, a dark malty beer with a 12.6% alcohol content, according to Milan and Jitka, the strongest beer in the world. Only 800 litres of Old Gott are brewed here a month, and 250 litres of the strong X33 beer. Milan had me taste the X33 variety, and given that I don’t usually drink alcohol, I started to feel light-headed very quickly. I did though really enjoy the sweet heavy taste of this brew, and Milan added that women usually prefer the X33 beer while men indulge in the Old Gott brew.

Then our restaurant guide Milan took us upstairs into the attic which holds a large room with impressive Gothic-era wooden truss ceilings. Milan explained that this is the cabaret room that can be rented by private groups for special events. Back downstairs we checked out U Medvidku’s store: a large refrigerator holds an extensive selection of Czech beers, according to my experts the most outstanding beers in the Czech Republic. Pilsner Urquell is, of course, famous all over the world, as is the original Budweiser beer. Other brands on display include Red Drak (the red dragon), and Kelt, a dark yeast beer with hemp.

I was also intrigued by a display of beer cosmetics. Jitka explained that beer makes a great cosmetic ingredient, and not long ago the first beer spa was opened in the Czech Republic. Apparently Czech doctors recommend drinking two beers a day to stay healthy. Jitka added that members of the Czech nation are the biggest beer drinkers in the world, ahead of the Bavarians, who are actually not a nation. Finally, she indicated the �beer is the Czech Herbalife� which made me laugh out loud. Obviously brewing and drinking beer is an essential part of the Czech national psyche.

On our way back to our table, Milan showed me the large storage tank that holds Pilsner Urquell, one of the main staples at the U Medvidku Beer Hall. I also watched how beer is drawn from the tap in the expert Czech manner. Then it was time to order dinner and I requested Milan’s advice. He suggested that we try a few typical Czech dishes: pork tail with garlic, potato pancake and marinated cheese, with a delicious fruit dumpling for dessert.

The meal was delicious, and the marinated cheese, despite its very strong smell that reminded me of Limburger, tasted great, and I enjoyed my first foray into Czech cuisine. Milan had put two additional pints of beers on our table, and despite the fact that I normally don’t drink alcohol, I seemed to develop a bit of taste for this Czech national drink. Jitka and I had an enjoyable conversation about life in Prague and shortly before 10 pm we were ready to head home.

Jitka took me back through the narrow, romantic streets of Prague to Wenceslas Square and headed home. I decided to take a brief walk through Old Town which looked so appealing in the warm soft glow of the night-time street lights. The streets were still teeming with life; locals and tourists were out and about, enjoying Prague on this Monday night. The night-time view of Old Town Square, anchored by the landmark buildings of the Old Town Hall and the Church of Our Lady before Tyn, was priceless. Prague definitely lives up to its reputation of being one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

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Czech Republic – A Bohemian Paradise

While choosing your next vacation spot, consider the Czech Republic. Landlocked on all sides by Poland, Germany, Austria, and Slovakia, Prague is the capital and largest city. Although Prague is most visited by tourists, the surroundings areas also offer great attractions.

With beginnings dating back to the Neolithic era, the Czech Republic has been the setting for many battles and wars. Most of these were religious wars during the 15th and 17th centuries, eventually leading to a ban of all religions except Catholicism. The Czech Republic, still part of Czechoslovakia, was considered a communist state, but was returned to democracy in 1989 with “The Velvet Revolution”. The separation of Slavia and the Czech Republic gave it it’s independence in 1991 and is now part of the European Union.

The Czech Republic hosts comfortable climatic conditions, cultural-historical monuments, and attractive nature that makes the Czech Republic a highly sought after vacation spot. Although the forests and mountains have been cultivated since ancient times, you can still find wild areas that are untouched. This adds to the attractiveness of the Czech Republic. There are natural wonders, caves, and beautiful vegetation to explore while in the Czech Republic. Most travellers consider the Czech Republic to be one of the most relaxing vacation spots in Europe.

The Czech Republic is littered with historic sights. It seems that every town has it’s own castle. You will also want to visit the Sedlec ossuary. Although a bit morbid, this interesting place houses human bones from the plague area. You might want to check out the town of Telc. Telc has a gorgeous town square that is one of the most beautiful in Europe.

Don’t miss Petrin Gardens while in the Czech Republic. Possibly one of the most idyllic spots in the city, the Petrin Gardens offer amazing views of the state. There is a rose garden planted around a children’s maze on street level, while on top there is an observatory and two formal gardens. Also, there is an Observation tower modelled after the Eiffel Tower. From here you can observe the magnificent views. This is quite a climb uphill, so ride the cable cars up and enjoy the beautiful sight filled walk down.

The Czech Republic is known for it’s sporting events. Some of the most famous sportsmen and women are featured in the Czech Republic. Sporting events include such favourites as the Golden Spike, The Prague International Marathon, Motor and Horse racing, and winter sports. You can also find sporting activities while on vacation in the Czech Republic making this a nice fitness retreat as well.

The Czech Republic is also rich in music and literature. Having musical roots in opera and symphony, you can also treat your ears to the traditional music of Bohemia and Moravia. Often the two genres combine for an interesting combination, sure to please. Literature in the Czech Republic has an interesting history. Although a lot of writers were from the area, they wrote in different languages. This set them apart and made their works to be considered of a different country.

Although the cuisine in the Czech Republic isn’t exactly considered for the health conscious, there are many dishes that you can enjoy while there. The main courses of Czech meals consist of meats, with pork being a main favourite. Czech meals usually consist of a soup, main course, and dessert. The beverages range from beer (the national drink), orange juice, apple juice, soda, coffee, and tea with sugar and lemon. These decadent meals are full of tradition and worth the few extra calories.

There are a ton of things to occupy your time during the day in the Czech Republic, however, the nightlife is far from lacking. Night time entertainment includes pubs, dance clubs, casinos, jazz clubs and much more! You will be able to find night time entertainment, no matter what your fancy!

The Czech Republic is rich in history and has a beautiful landscape. This is one of the most versatile and interesting places that one can visit in Europe. Travelling to the Czech Republic isn’t a task, due to it’s local. You won’t want to miss the beauty and relaxation that is offered with a visit to the Czech Republic.

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Travel To The Czech Republic – A Short Holiday Guide

You’ve almost certainly heard of Prague, one of Europe’s most beautiful and historic cities, but what about the rest of this small country in the heart of the continent?

Here are ten observations to encourage a visit the Czech Republic, to help start your holiday planning and further research.

Old city: Prague is great for walking and soaking up the atmosphere – and if you travel midweek or off-season, it isn’t over-crowded. The medieval streets and squares are a showcase of architecture ranging from Gothic to Art Nouveau, and a trip across Charles Bridge to Prague Castle offers striking river views and lots of street entertainers.

Modern city: Prague has all the attractions you would expect in a European capital, including museums, concert halls, opera houses and a wide choice of bars and restaurants.

Hearty food: International food may have come to Prague and other major centres, but try typical dishes including roast pork and dumplings, and many varieties of sausage.

Have another beer: The Czechs are Europe’s greatest consumers of beer per head of population, with brands that have been exported or imitated around the world. The type of lager known as pils originates in the city of Pilsen, with Pilsner Urquell being one of the best-known brands.

Wine too: Czech wines are little known in the UK, but the Moravia region produces some fine whites.

Spas: The curative waters of the Czech Republic have been known and exploited for centuries, and now there is strong emphasis on beauty therapies and wellness treatments as well as taking the cure. The Western Bohemia spa towns of Karlovy Vary and Marianske Lazne are also elegant places for a few days’ relaxation and exploring the surrounding countryside.

Go golf: Golf has developed rapidly over the last decade and there are now around 80 courses to choose from. Royal Golf Club Marianske Lazne is one of the best.

Boutique style: Large, impersonal hotels are now very much in the minority, while boutique hotels are booming. Chateau-style rural hotels are also growing.

World Heritage: Twelve sites are recognised by UNESCO for their cultural significance, only one of which is in Prague. The historical centre of Cesky Krumlov, in Southern Bohemia, makes a memorable trip.

Beyond the borders: The Czech Republic shares frontiers with Austria, Germany, Poland and Slovakia, all of which are EU members. It’s easy to cross borders to discover more of Central Europe.

The Czech Republic is a small country with a big heart, that has been transformed over the last 15 years into one of the most welcoming and accessible countries in Europe.

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