Pilsen, Czech Republic --Trains win the day in Europe. So when it was time to head down to Pilsen, I used my trusty EuRail pass and invited a travel blogger friend of mine who was living in Europe to join me. The only thing I knew going into Pilsen was that they were famous for their beer and they were to be honored as the 2015 Culture Capital of Europe.
The journey south from Prague to Pilsen took just over and hour and a half. Once there it was an easy walk to downtown and Hotel Rango. While the streets were under construction for the upcoming festival in 2015, I found Hotel Rango to be a great central place in Pilsen. They had a fantastic breakfast option and an even better dinner downstairs in what used to be an underground cellar.
I was lead on a fantastic walking tour of Pilsen by Jitka Bilkoba, she was not only a wealth of knowledge but allowed me to stop (a lot) to take photos everywhere. When you're my tour guide you don't get away without letting me take your portrait, so I grabbed a quick snap of Jitka as she made a wish on the "Pilsen Angel" gate outside of The Cathedral of St. Bartholomew in the Pilsen city square.
During the walking tour we had a few bonus surprises came across a farmers market, a wedding at the town hall, a Greek Orthodox service and I was able to play with puppets!
Beer! I guess Beer could probably be it's own entry (or maybe even it's own Website) but for the sake of time, I'll try and sum up my delicious tour of Pilsen's with Beer Goggles on (that's a good thing). I was able to get an tour of the Pilsner Urquell factory in Pilsen, we learned some history, walked underground and saw the process...oh and also drank the best beer of my life! Unfiltered, Unpasteurized and tapped directly in the Oak Barrel (Pictures Below). http://www.prazdrojvisit.cz/en/
I love the opportunity to explore areas at magic hour. Rani and I found a very cool taxi driver who escorted us through outside of the city. We found ourselves climbing old castles, talking with local kids as they were lying in the grass on a hill, picking apples off trees and feeding fish with a loaf of bread. The countryside of Pilsen was magical! Be sure to get out and explore.
Before leaving Pilsen I was told about a monument thanking America for the their actions in WWII. After finding it I did a little research learning more about how important a role Pilsen played during that time. On May 6th, 1945 the 16th Armored Division of General Patton's 3rd Army liberated Pilsen from Nazi control and remained there till November helping the Czechs rebuild. To this day the people still are very thankful of Americas action and sacrifice during WWII.
Thank you for your charm and history. Until next time Pilsen...