Sunday, July 10, 2011

It’s not all about beer but close

I got to go to Prague for a work conference and decided to stay in the Czech Republic for the weekend. I did not want to stay in Prague so had to decide where to go. With my love of beer and a town called pilsen it did take much of a search to pick a place. Really this is not my first time to Plzen but the last time I did not get off the train. It was somewhere around 20 years ago and my first time in the Czech Republic and I took a train going to Prague from Cheb a small town on the German border. The train only stopped long enough to buy a couple of Pilsner Urquell beers from the window of the train. I had never heard of this beer before that and it has stayed one of my favorite beers to this day. In my search for a place to go I found a piece in the New York Times that was titled “Beer’s Not the Only Thing on Tap” and this is true but beer was one of the main draws for me spending the weekend in Plzen. I really enjoyed the tour of the Pilsner Urquell beer brewery.

The highlight of the tour was drinking a glass of unfiltered and unpasteurized beer brewed in the old way and kept in one of these huge wooden kegs. It was a shame that I could not enjoy a full glass of this lovely beer.

Prior to going on the brewery tour I visited the cathedral in the center of town, went to a brewery museum and visited the puppet museum. I have to say I really enjoyed the puppet museum. They had a couple of video displays of puppet performances that were a lot of fun to watch. I also had a wonderful lunch of beef stroganoff in a bread bowl with a couple of the local brews.

On Sunday prior to catching the train back to Prague I visited one other place that was one of the reason I picked Plzen the Great Synagogue. In the traveling I have done I have visited a lot of different places of worship but have never been inside a Synagogue before. This is the 3rd largest Synagogue in the world and the 2nd largest in Europe. It is a surprise to me that none of the top 3 are in Israel. It was an interesting visit but I was not overly impressed but now at least have a point of reference that I can compare any other Synagogues I visit in the future.

I had a really good weekend in Plzen and was really happy I picked it. Plzen had enough to keep me busy for the weekend and was not overrun with tourist the way Prague seems to be now.

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