Bud

Trip Start May 14, 2012
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Trip End Jul 23, 2012


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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Saturday, July 14, 2012

Today we left vienna behind us after the longest stay in any one place on our entire trip, and it was starting to get familiar which just wouldn't do. We aimed for a brewery on the way to prague called Budweiser Budvar. Rumor had it that there was a bit of fire between this bud and the one in the states but it was also supposed to be one of the original and larger breweries in Czech which made it an interesting destination. We left a little later than planned which left us tight to arrive by 2pm for the only tours of the brewery offered all day which meant some efficient driving. Watching the minutes tick slowly down, able to shave minute by minute slowly off of our destination time, we passed the Danube river valley as we drove up through Austria into south-central Czech. This area of austria was pleasant – we passed a brief section of wineries and castles overlooking the mighty river on its large gently sloping banks and then it was gone again.



We hit two major roadblocks due to construction which threw a wrench in the hard work done by speedy driving to the point where we realized we would be arriving late (so we drove a little less speedily). As we drove into Ceske Budejovice (the city where budweiser had its origins) all we had to go on in finding the brewery was that it was "3 kilometers north of the old town square" which was fairly useless in a european city definitively deviating from a quadrant system. We rolled the windows down, however, and made jokes about following our noses (leaning on some Highwood Distillery experience) and crazily rolled directly up to the place. Not quite realizing we were at the front door because it seemed too strange that we had actually just driven straight here, we took a couple minutes by driving around the side of the massive facility and then back to the same spot to park. When we went inside, it was quite dead except for a couple employees running the reception and the gift shop, and after pleading for her to let us join the tour 15 minutes late and her rejecting us, we settled for the multimedia extravaganza which, we were told, was a decent second to the tour.

Not quite knowing what we signed up for, we watched a short video on the brewing process that budvar uses and then stepped into what looked like an elevator while the receptionist said to us “this is the best part.” A few long seconds after the doors closed, we realized the elevator had four panels resembling a glass floor, a security camera, and the whole thing started shaking and felt as though we were descending while the glass floor reflected this. The floor and the shaking made us drop “300 meters” to the natural springs which budvar uses for its authentic and quality taste, and then we made the return trip back to the surface before continuing through the exhibit. We walked through rooms of old memorabilia and history which painted out the roots of the brewery originating with special brewing privileges granted by the king of the newly founded city. There was a small room which had an interesting walking bridge with planks like piano keys but made of glass and walls which had videos splayed across depicting different parts of the world where budvar had spread and found success. The finale was a relatively short fictional 3D film depicting the budvar brewery as THE authentic budweiser despite american imitations. Throughout the entire modern day part of the exhibit , it was readily apparent that american budweiser had hugely impacted the authenticity and success of this brewery. We felt sorry that they had to defend themselves when it was made very clear that american bud had directly imitated them, stolen the name, and then started a law suit dictating that budvar would be disallowed from selling their product by the name budweiser in america.

After having a beer each in a bar directly attached to the brewery, we completed our journey to prague and arrived much later than anticipated; one small stop adding a disproportionate amount of time to our journey. We got a quick but neat view of the city’s downtown because we had forgotten to switch the gps destination to our campsite. After actually arriving at our campsite, however, we were pleasantly met by a nice older host couple and a cozy, small, well-tended, clean campsite which was terribly inviting. We were greeted by a leery white cat who came to inspect our cooking, but he never let us get close enough to give him a pat. The nice couple who owned the campsite let us borrow their table set for dinner, and we had a nice dinner (though we had to throw out the white wine that salko had given us in Mostar because it had started to smell like rubbing alcohol. Sorry Salko. After that, we sent Colin a quick message, hoping to meet up the next day but having not a clue what time of day that would be without a time or a place so we ended up just going to bed and decided we would just head into town the next day and play it by ear.
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