So as you know we just recently (as in less than a week ago) went to Prague in the Czech, to visit my family. Well in posting pictures on social media we learned that another friend of ours was going to be in Prague the following week. So fast forward to now.
**I didn’t feel like lugging my monster of a camera around so yeah.. sorry for the lack of real photos. Bad photographer… I know.
In a very, last minute, fly by the seat of my pants, sort of way – I planned a quick overnight trip. I messaged the kennel where Bravo stays well after their usual hours, knowing the owners just had a baby a few days before. I didn’t have high hopes of getting in touch with them to request drop off the following morning. But I guess luck was on my side (and I am friends with the owners… I think that probably did the trick) and one of the employees that knows Bravo, and myself, was still there and set everything up. So I just needed to find a hotel and make some plans and reserve a table at our favorite restaurant in Prague, Restaurant Rainer Maria Rilke. Another road block, it was booked up for the entire night. I tried two more that were also booked up and finally settled on a fourth option that I could book a table for. I don’t even want to know how many minutes that ate up on my German prepaid phone… But I was able to book our dinner at U Mlynare, and I will tell you all about it in due time. I am actually not sure how I was able to call them… I have not gotten it to work calling the check again.
We got up and got everything packed up Friday morning… someone was moving slow and put us 15 minutes behind schedule… not me. But we got Bravo dropped off at the kennel and set out for Plzeň, also called Pilsen in German. This would be our first stop for a visit to the Pilsner Urquell Brewery. Now if you know me at all you know I don’t drink. So why you might ask would I want to go to a brewery tour. Well if you know me well, you know that watching ANYTHING be made fascinates me. I would even enjoy making beer myself… there is an art and a science to cooking and brewing and such – and that is right down my alley. As I expected we got there 15 minutes late and I had to adjust my plans. I had wanted to go on an earlier brewery tour and then go on the underground city tour after lunch. Which leads to one of my only complaints about the tours. They are NOT set up to book more than one together. I expected it to be easy to book each option and the times line up. But no. They overlap each other so you end up with big gaps in between. But, this is nothing I can help, so we booked a later tour for the brewery and decided to check out the museum and have lunch while we waited.
We wandered through the town of Plzeň to find the brewery museum, which ended up being a nice treat. We both wished we had a little more time to spend reading all of the info. But once we walked through we made our way back to the main brewery grounds to go to the restaurant Na Splice, which we learned is the largest in the Czech. We ordered quickly because we only had about 35 minutes to order and eat before walking across the street for our tour. I had originally ordered the chicken dish and asked our waitress how long it usually took to come out and explained we didn’t have a lot of time. She was very short with me and a bit rude – almost as though my question was an insult. I explained I wasn’t upset of it took longer, but I would simply change my choice to something quicker – no biggie. I did end up changing to a beef, cranberry, and dumplings (no, not what your thinking of. They are nothing like American southern comfort food dumplings. But I prefer Czech dumplings which are more of a very very soft french bread usually in whatever sauce the dish is served with). I don’t know how the chicken would have been, but as someone who really doesn’t usually like beef, the dish was amazing! Billy ordered the pork with bacon and a black beer sauce and I had a bite… amazing! I still can’t get over the fact after 15 years of not eating beef and pork, there is so much I like, especially in the Czech. But we ate quickly (but still enjoyed our meal) and did finish in time to get to our tour. And despite the waitress with a bad attitude (but she did work hard, I saw her running more than once) the food and atmosphere were wonderful. And the price didn’t hurt either! We had both dishes, and vanilla coke for me, and two beers for Billy (we had vouchers for these from the museum so they were free) for around 400 Czech Krona (around 16 USD).
The Brewery tour is done extremely well and reminds me a lot of the tour of the Jim Beam facility in KY. You start out with a little bit of history and then load up on a bus to take you around the grounds. I found it really interesting that this location was also the original location. In most cases once the brewery grows it also has to move production so that it has the necessary space. Pilsner Urquell, however, stuck to its roots and ended up able to remain in its original location which makes the history that much more relevant as you are walking through. We got to go through the modern bottling and packaging facility and watch as hundreds and thousands of bottles flowed through. From there we got a history lesson in brewing and got to see how it is done now and also how it was done then. They even continue to brew in an original way (and I mean in a cave dug out underground with wooden barrels) to make sure the new product remains true to the original. Everyone also got a glass of the beer brewed in the original fashion which was unfiltered and unpasteurized. I did taste it for the sake of knowledge and it does taste a bit different. It has a tangier bite at the end I think. But, alas, I hate beer… so, the husband got one small sip short of two cups. All in all, a tour worth going on regardless of your taste for beer.
Once our tour was complete we got back on the road and set off for our hotel closer to Prague. I swear… the Czech highways remind me of Pennsylvania… always in construction and delayed. Our 45-minute drive to the hotel turned into more like an hour and a half. Billy slept and woke up to ask, what took so long?! Well… traffic. But I just pop in my book on tape and time just goes right on by. So as long as I am not late, it really doesn’t bother me.
One thing I am not sure I will ever get totally use to while driving in Europe though… I have seen more men peeing up close and personal than I ever thought I would. While we sat in traffic at a stand still a car came whizzing up beside us in the emergency lane and came to a screeching halt next to us and two men jumped out of the car (keep in mind I am talking about RIGHT next to our car). Of course my first thought is “oh crap we are going to get robbed”… because you know, that makes since with all these other people stopped around me and stuff. Still my first response was to check the doors are locked and then wake Billy up. But before I could give him a good shake I realize both men were unzipping their pants instead of breaking my door down… which still took me by surprise. But yeah… I guess they just really had to go. I averted my eyes and felt a little bit silly as traffic started moving again.
As we pulled into our quaint bed and breakfast, Dvur Hoffmeister, out in a small town I realized something amazing… I had accidentally booked a bed and breakfast that was also a stables. Now, if you know me, you know this means I had accidentally booked my personal paradise. And it was. I WILL be going back when I can. It is probably my favorite place I have ever stayed. The rooms are adorable and feel like you are at home. But a really nice, adorable, farm house in Czech home. The staff are very kind and make you feel welcome right away. After we checked in we made our way up to our room to get our stuff put away and catch a quick nap before heading to dinner in Prague. The room was everything I had hoped for when I booked and more. I just can’t say enough about this place. It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside just writing about it.
Of course, I had to go snuggle some horses before we got back in the car. So horse snuggling is exactly what I did. The facilities are really nice and well maintained. It is a predominately English riding stables. From my very brief walk through it looks like they do a lot of hunter jumper training – but they call it parkour. (Sorry if this is wrong, I didn’t ask, so there could be a translation error here) You can also take lessons while you are there. I didn’t get an exact quote but I think its around 300 – 400 Krona for 30 min. They also have quite a few ponies for the little ones with short legs.
Just watch my storie… I walk through and show it all 😉
Anyway, we drove into Prague and found parking, much easier than expected. I did find a parking lot while planning everything but I didn’t have high hopes. Last time we drove into Prague parking was a nightmare. This time, we drove right in, pulled in and parked and walked another 5 min to our Restaurant – U Mlynare. Our friends were already there waiting so we probably didn’t NEED to have made reservations, but better safe than sorry. This was a great choice for dinner. We ended up sitting and chatting for hours, and we didn’t feel like a burden or like they wanted us to hurry up and leave. We quickly figured out what we would be having. I cheated… I picked the place out so I had looked online and made my decisions before I ever even left my house. I had the venison in a rose-hips sauce. I order venison any chance I get because it’s so uncommon to have in the states unless you are friends with a hunter who will share. Well, it did NOT disappoint. It was a little bit fattier than most of the venison I have had before, but once I trimmed that off, it was amazing!!! I have fallen in love with Czech food, I really can’t get enough of it.
After a long visit, we got back in the car and drove (about 30 min) back to our hotel where we crashed for the night. We woke up well rested and not wanting to get out of bed the next morning. But breakfast was calling my name. So we got up and got ready and made our way down the lovely stairs full of art to find breakfast. I love German and Czech breakfast. There was a lovely spread of meats and cheeses with lots of fresh tomatoes and other veggies. I also had some french bread with mine and then she offered to cook up whatever we wanted, eggs pancakes, etc. We just had eggs, and they were probably some of the best eggs I have ever had. I am going to have to up my egg cooking game now… I am apparently slacking. Sadly the end of breakfast marked our time to pack it back up and head home. I did NOT want to leave and made Billy take one more walk through the stables to love on some horses before we got in the car to go home.
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