Too Many Brewery Tours Are Never Enough

Trip Start Aug 31, 2012
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Trip End Oct 07, 2012


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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Today we had an 8am train from Ceske Budejovice to Pilsen with the main goal of going on the Pilsner Urquell Brewery Tour.

We arrived around 10:15 and quickly grabbed a city map and sought out the Urquell Brewery with the aim of joining the 10:45am English language tour.

After turning the map several times we decided we had a rough idea where we had to go and made it to the brewery about 10 minutes before the tour and purchased our tickets and waited for it to begin.

Compared to the Budvar tour, the Urquell tour had all the hallmarks of a global beer company (SAB Miller) - flashy video presentations, massive scale and a big bus to transport everyone around the facility to do the tour (Budvar was all on foot).

Our guide was great and explained the ins and outs of the brewery, it's history and current operations. The main downside was the size of the group with about 50 people, most who didn't seem in any way interested in what the guide had to say and chatted amongst themselves but each to their own I guess.

We saw the production line and then ventured into the labyrinth of cellars before finally reaching the ultimate goal of a sample of the good stuff from one of the maturation casks.

The benefit of sitting at the front of the class was realised here as we were both able to grab our tasting cup from the tray holding the big plastic cups.

Let that be a lesson to the kids out there. Pay attention in school and you too may very well get to drink from the large cup of beer whilst those who don't show interest have to make do with the thimble-sized vessels! :)

We completed the tour and proceeded to Pilsen's centre square for a quick walk around and happy snaps before grabbing some lunch and catching another train on to Prague.

To say it was a sh#t fight to get a seat would be an understatement. It seems everyone in Pilsen was wanting to get to Prague on the 14:08 train and the main issue was finding a cabin not only with free seats but space to store our backpacks.

We did a few laps of the carriages before doubling back and find an 8 seater berth with only 4 people and even more importantly, free space on the luggage storage shelves.

We took our seats and as we progressed more and more people boarded until we had 8 people crammed in to a space that should not hold 8 people. We made do given it was only a 2 hour train ride and finally arrived in Prague.

We headed in the general direction of the apartment and finally found it even though it wasn't sign posted. We waited for a few minutes before some guy who didn't speak English opened the door and told us to follow him.

We climbed several flights of stairs before arriving at our apartment, filled out some paperwork and paid the rent before he disappeared out the door. I assume we're all good for our 3 night stay.

The location is excellent being only 2 minutes from the Charles Bridge and the hustle and bustle of the old town right outside the front door.

Once we settled in we went to the local Tesco to grab some supplies before returning to have a quiet night in before we venture forth to explore Prague for three days from tomorrow.

So far, I'm getting a great vibe from this place.
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