This is started on the bus out of Karlovy Vary (KV) to Plzn (pron. Pilsen as in beer! – as if we need more). Better compact this or we will be here all day. (and posted at 4.30pm 8 June from the Best Western in Plzn)
6 June – got bus from Prague to KV which took 2h15min or so. Unfortunately on the way there were some very heavy downpours and when I arrived it continued to dribble form time to time, so I had to take shelter while walking to the hotel. This seemed to take an hour around the curving hillside way, with rain stops and false turns as LP map not that complete. This morning on way back to bus station with no stops and very brisk (and knowing where I was going) it took 20mins. Anyway with the bad map and the weather I had a very bad opening impression of KV. The room at the hotel Heluan (no idea about the name – almost Chinese?) was a huge old room about 6m x 6m with very elaborate cornices and creaky timber boards under – and all manner of hewed woodwork – the bedstead, the wardrobe,
the cabinet with the frig in and TV on top, almost pedestal mirror – very emperor style. And all this for 50Euro=$68AUD – I think Mon-Tues. rate, unlike the possible Vegas weekend rate, must be much cheaper.
The price included wifi and I tried for ages to work this out, despite password – finally did on last day – there were 3 routers and you could connect only to one (the other 2 required a username and believe me I tried every likely combo to connect. This would have meant problems with onwards bookings and even checking very useful Czech bus/train times on line. Anyway the weather was not veery bright so did a bit of walk up and down – there are shops and hotels along both sides of the river Tepla but most of the fancy ones on my side, not to mention all the spa points I think. All over the place people wander around with silly looking little narrow teapot things – you fill these at the various bubbling water points, with temps marked, and sip thru the “spout”. The Russians in particular seem to do this town – or maybe they prefer all the
flash designer shops in a compact distance and can also claim the tourist refund of 16% VAT on the way out? Most people in shops and restaurants speak German and Russian (its Karlsbad to the Germans). After going along to the Grand Hotel Pupp (who or what?) and seeing the somewhat decaying Spa no.1 Building (where the Emperor had his private bath) returned to the hotel. As weather was still dodgy decided to eat a typical Czech meal next door – meat lovers plate – one quarter roast duck (not bad) and roast and smoked pork in gravy, with hot red and white sauerkraut with a rather dull potato dumpling. Even had a rather monster piece of homemade blueberry cake (more like thick flan). And of course 300ml or whatever of some beer or other.
7 June – the day was sunny so decided to go to town of Loket, with castle, as KV was somewhat limited in terms of scenery – lots of ornate 19C buildings and fancy shops but. Loket is only about 25mins/20km away and cost all of 22Kr/$1.25 to get there. The country side here is certainly very green and generally flat (although Loket is
(Emperor's bath not shown)
on the bend of a rather deep river valley) and lots of trees. The castle certainly dominates the hill in the middle of the town as you will see from the snaps. The town itself is rather picturesque. Not too sure I would stay there in pref. to KV though as last bus is about 5.30pm or so back to KV. Maybe if you want to chill completely and read books and drink beer. Wandered around and seemed to be little to eat at 2.30pm, other than a kebab (pass). Plenty of beer possible – had a Florian micro-brewery dark unfiltered, unpasteurised later while waiting for the bus. Just as well the town also had the only free public toilet in the Czech republic! – I used it twice. The castle is the main attraction so went up there and inspected the torture exhibits – now know all about “the rack” and what it does to your internal organs. There is quite an extensive porcelain museum and a good view over town from the tower.
Got the 5.30pm bus back to town after Florian beer. Had thought of staying another night in KV but then decided that only so
much shops and old buildings you can do, and I was not “doing the waters”. So after finally getting wifi working and being able to book next night in Plzn. The weather forecast is supposed to be quite heavy storms across Europe but it aint happening yet although rain forecast for last 2 days (not that I am complaining).
Dinner was at the Embassy Hotel – which out the front has endorsement and snaps of Robert Redford, Morgan Freeman, Robert de Niro etc etc to name a few. I had an entrée of smoked salmon wrapped around a spear of white and green asparagus. Then the roast pheasant, which I have not hd since my Dad shot em in the country in NZ almost 50yrs ago during the brief 2-3 week shooting season and we often had to pick shotgun pellets out of them! This was very good – supposedly with bacon inside but it was very mild – with a red cabbage roll with currants and juniper sauce and gravy and mashed potato. A large glass of Austrian Veltliner white (TG wine not beer). Dessert had to be had as it sounded so strange – hot strawberries with
that same church
concert on there
green peppers and caramel sauce and some icecream. Sliced strawberries, little evidence of green pepper, but plenty of caramel sauce. Made a change. With a decaf espresso this came to about $55 with tip. So eating here on a grander scale (when available) is certainly cheaper!
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