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Published: September 21st 2009
First shot of the morning.
We went to Karlovy Vary today. Karlovy Vary (also known as Carlsbad) is a spa town, and has various springs whose waters are reputed to have healing powers. It’s a gorgeous town, really, mostly nestled in a little valley. There’s a pretty large Russian population there (I think Vlasta said over half of the property is owned by Russians), so everything was written in Czech and Russian, as opposed to the Czech and English of Prague. I would have appreciated a little more time there, but I suppose I’ll get to that later.
The first stop in Karlovy Vary was the Moser glass company. We took a little tour of the factory, where they hand-make their glass. It was really like going to watch them blow glass at Stifel at home, but on a bigger scale, I think they had six ovens there. And the skill level was a good bit higher. The glass really was very nice. We got to see some of the pieces in their gallery with beautiful engraving. Apparently this company has provided glassware to the Pope, and various royal houses. We went to the shop after our tour, and I was almost afraid to
These are the different types of liquor we sampled.
move. I don’t think I saw anything in there for less than $100. And those were tiny cups about the size of shot glasses. Everything was really pretty, but I don’t think I could ever really justify draining my savings account on a nice set of glasses…
Following the Moser company was a tour of the Jan Becher Museum. Jan Becher was the creator of Becherovka, which is a liquor made only in the Czech Republic, and I believe only in Karlovy Vary to be more specific. It was originally created as a medicine and has over 20 different kinds of herbs in it. The guide at the museum told us that only two people in the world know the recipe for it, which struck me a bit like something out of The DaVinci Code. At the end of our tour we got to try three of the liquors they make: Lemond, Original, and a Cordial. The Lemond is their newest product, lemon flavored and sweet. I was not a fan. Then we had some of the original, which burned just as much as the first time (this is what we had on the opening night). The last
one we had was the cordial, which they said was some ridiculous percentage of sugar (I want to say 40%?). It was like drinking syrup. Vile, vile, vile on its own. I’d have to say the original Becherovka was my favorite by a fairly large margin.
After the Becherovka (by the way, I think I’ve spent more time in breweries than classrooms on this trip), we had lunch. Yea, three shots before lunch. Fun country. After lunch we went around to the springs and tried them. Well, some people tried them. I tried the water from the first one. It tasted like blood. Salty with a bit of metallic taste, either copper or iron, and about 30 degrees Celsius… I was done after that. We climbed to the top of a hill behind the town in the afternoon and got some really nice photos of Karlovy Vary. Also got some nice photos of the rain moving in before it hit us. I just have a slight complaint about that climb: no one knew we were going to be hiking to the top of a relatively large hill, so a lot of people didn’t have appropriate shoes. I think
Russian Orthodox Church. Unfortunately I was not able to visit.
we should probably be informed of things like this beforehand so no one wears flip-flops on those excursions (or they could just start wearing tennis shoes everywhere, whichever). After the climb we only had about an hour and a half to wander around the town, which didn’t seem to be quite long enough. It was a beautiful town, and definitely somewhere I’d appreciate visiting again.
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