Edit Blog Post
Published: July 19th 2013
After having visited Prague a few times already, but really not that much more in Czech Republic, I decided to branch out a little this time. First stop is Plzeň, the home of Pilsner beer. On the train ride to Prague I find a pretty good conversation partner in Gary, an Australian Indian from Melbourne. We chat about the finer (ha!) details of Australian culture and he provides me with some insight about what kinds of shit he has to take as an Australian with his background. Quite interesting, as so far, I hadn't heard the Australian Indian perspective firsthand.
I change trains in Prague and hop on the train to Plzeň, where I arrive one and a half hours later. My host Rufina picks me up from the train station. She's Belarussian and in Plzeň to study Arts. We visit the famous Great Synagogue, which is the second largest synagogue in Europe (after the Dohány Street Synagogue in Budapest). It is an interesting mix of different styles, from the Moorish ceiling to the onion domes reminiscent of Russian orthodox chuches. By the time construction started in 1888, the Jewish community was about 2,000 strong, whereas the present number is
a little over 70.
While I content myself with strolling around the centre and admiring the architecture of Naměstí republiky, the central Square of the Republic, one of the reasons for travelling Czech Republic is the beer, of course. And beer is also the main motivation for most tourists to visit Plzeň. I don't know if I need to mention that the town is the birthplace of Pilsner beer, which was first produced here in 1842. So while we're walking about in the heat, I may pretend to be supremely curious about the architecture, but really, I can't help thinking of beer at the same time. I convince Rufina that we must stop at a pub for a quick brew. The good thing about being in Plzeň is that the Pilsner Urquell is fresher and unpasteurised. If you're really lucky, it's unfiltered. I'm not, at this point in time, but the Pilsner is crisp and runs down smoothly, which is all one could ask for.
We continue on to the Pilsner Urquell brewery. It's too late for a tour, so we go to the brewery pub-restaurant and eat a snack while I try a few more beers. The
dark Kozel may be nothing new to me, but it's still tasty and strong. I have a Master special semi-dark for the first time. It's pretty damn good, but has a rough time following the Kozel.
Rufina takes me along to her friend Anna's place for dinner. While they prepare a gazpacho, I try taking a nap on the couch, which proves not that easy, as Anna's dog persistently attempts to rape my leg. Anna and Rufina are not only both Belarussian, they are also raw vegan. While we enjoy the really great gazpacho they tell me more about the real or perceived health benefits of their diet. They stress how good it is for the liver, which only gives me pangs of conscience, seeing how beerophile I've been on that day.
After dinner, their friend Sasha, number three of the Belarussian mafia, picks us up to go to a nice little pub around the corner. He's kind of cute in his shy way, as he asks me myriad questions in passable English. It's great that I can also practice my Russian with them. This is when I realise my listening skills are actually not that bad, just
the speaking remains rather tough. I have my last beer for the day and decide to take it a bit slower the next couple of days. Or maybe not, we'll see.
Tot: 2.373s; Tpl: 0.071s; cc: 36; qc: 138; dbt: 0.1004s; 2; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.8mb