Cesky Krumlov

Trip Start Sep 13, 2006
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15
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Trip End May 25, 2007


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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Cesky Krumlov is a quaint little village near the border with Austria that has done a very good job of selling that "adorable village" image to the hordes of tourists that visit it each year. We enjoyed the town a lot. It had the right mix of history, charm and natural scenery. Plus, being the off season there were other tourists but no crowds.

We stayed in a hostel in the town that, we learned later, had a "party hostel" image. The off season mellowed it quite a bit and we slept in a new wing away from the college kids. We met quite a few Canadians and the receptionist was South African. Her and Julius were able to commiserate about traveling on an African passport (ie visas for everywhere you want to go). One rainy night when we were hanging out and chatting in the lounge some of the young Canadians came in and said that one of the bars was advertising a "Smoking Party". They were thrilled because they assumed that there would be people there selling and smoking weed (Cigarette smoking is so common in this country, there would be no need to advertise it). When we asked them the next day how the party was they said that it turned out to be the name of a local band. Clever name, I am sure they attracted a lot of guys that way. :)

There aren't a lot of sites to see in the town, so we probably saw all the ones that were open. The castle tour was interesting, including an old baroque theatre, only one of two left in the world. Mostly we just walked around enjoying the buildings and the lovely trees in fall colors.

We were able to enjoy some traditional Czech specialties like pickled everything and rabbit. Julius ate a lot of rabbit back in Tanzania but this was my first time. It is interesting how most of Europe eats rabbit but the US does not. It is tasty. Of course everything is washed down with the delicious beer.

An interesting bit of beer trivia - one of Czech Republic's most popular beers is called Budweiser. It is brewed in a town called Ceske Budejovice (Budweis is it's German name), very near to Cesky Krumlov. To save my typing fingers I will paste Wikipedia's article on how there came to be two Budweiser beers:

"České Budějovice has long been well known for the fine beer brewed here since the 13th century. For a time the town was the royal brewery for the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, and beer from Budweis (the German name for České Budějovice), or "Budweiser Beer", attained fame. Beer brewing remains a major industry here.

The largest brewery is Pivovar Budějovický Budvar, which has legal rights to market its beer under the "Budweiser" brand name in much of Europe. The same product is also sold elsewhere under the names "Budvar" and "Czechvar" due to legal squabbles with Anheuser-Busch over the Budweiser brand. The American lager was originally brewed as an imitation of the famous Czech original but over time has developed its own identity and attained remarkable commercial success. Anheuser-Busch has made offers to buy out the Czech brewing company in order to secure global rights to the name "Budweiser", but the Czech government has refused all such offers, considering keeping the Budweiser name Czech to be a matter of national pride."

So, good for Czech Republic for holding its ground against the bigger brewery. I think with how popular the beer is, people in Europe would not be happy at all to see it bought out. And yes, we can attest that it is much better than its American namesake.




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