Medieval Castle

Ivan, Lil Dave and I had breakfast made by Helena on October 30, 2011.  We had toast, boiled eggs, vegetables, yogurt, bananas and tea.  We had a tasty morning cake. 

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It was lots of food. Helena has definitely spoiled us!

Tomas drove us into the town.  We said thanks to him and then walked into Špilberk Park.  The leaves are such beautiful colors since it’s fall.  It’s lovely to see! 

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In Vegas, we don’t really get colors like this.

We walked up to Špilberk Castle

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Ivan paid for the whole package for us.  We checked out the exhibitions first.  A weird exhibition was a firework competition held at the castle.  We would rather see this competition live than see the pictures of the fireworks. 

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The exhibition wasn’t very exciting.  We weren’t allowed to take any pictures, but I did anyway. 

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Most of the exhibition had lots of descriptions which we didn’t feel like reading in the English translation book.

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We walked to the roof top where we saw a nice view of Brno.  Too bad it was a foggy day out though.

Ivan, Lil Dave and I came upon an underground medieval restaurant called Stredoveka Krema

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It was cool there.  Ivan and I started off with a hot cherry and an almond mead.  Lil Dave wanted a banana mead, but they didn’t have any.  Lil Dave got a banana soup though – so he was happy.  Ivan and I shared a really strong garlic soup.  Next, we shared a weird groat puree with nuts, gingerbread and honey.  We ordered a trout, but the waitress didn’t hear right I guess and gave us meat.  I don’t think she was paying attention.  The trout came out later on.  Lil Dave enjoyed his banana stuffed chicken.  The trout was really tasty.  For dessert, we had a lovely Czech dumpling filled with plum jam with gingerbread and honey. 

Ivan and I bought a bottle of wine at a wine shop.  Then, we got a Tin Tin comic book for Tony which was written in Czech.

We got the tram back to the apartment.  We met the two daughters Veronika and Magalena.  Everybody had dinner which was cabbage, dumplings and pork.  It was a good meal.  We were still stuffed from our late lunch earlier.

We gave the wine to Tomas and Helena.  Ivan also gave them the book for Tony.  He seemed to like it, since he kept staring at it.

Tomas and Helen had a play to go to.  Magalena, Veronika and Tony stayed.  Veronika chatted with us while we drank wine.  I showed Tony how to play Angry Birds on my smartphone.  He really liked it – but he wasn’t too good at it.  He didn’t mind though!  We said goodnight to Tony.

Ivan and Lil Dave used the internet.  I worked on the blog.

Tomas and Helena came back later from the theatre.  We drank wine with them and chatted.  The family would be waking up early tomorrow since it was a work and school day.  Ivan, Lil Dave and I said thank you and goodbye to Helen and Tomas.  We had a wonderful experience in Brno due to this lovely family.  They are the sweetest people ever.  Hope they can come visit us sometime in Vegas.

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Brno

On October 29, 2011, Ivan, Lil Dave and I woke up at 9:30 am.  We packed up all our clothes.

We walked to the train station.  The train left at 10:39 am headed to Brno, Czech Republic.  Ivan and I ate sandwiches and cheese on the train.  Ivan and I watched Human Centipede II.  It was a 2 1/2 hour journey.

Tomas, a Couchsurfer we’re staying with, picked us up at the train station with his son Tony.  How sweet of him!  We drove to their house a short drive away.

We met his lovely wife Helena.  They also have two daughters, but we’d be meeting them tomorrow.  They’re at a hotel practicing folk dancing.

Helena cooked us a nice Czech lunch.   Ivan had vegetables, dumplings and fish.  I had beef goulash, dumplings and fish. 

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It was my first time having beef goulash – it was tasty!  For dessert, we had delicious apple strudel.

Ivan and I played with Tony and the cat Fidela.  Lil Dave had fun feeding the cat.

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Tony doesn’t speak much English, but tried to spell Ivan’s name in coffee stirrers.

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Later on, we went to the downtown with Tomas by tram.  We walked around and I took some pictures.

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Brno is a quiet city. 

We stopped at Pegas for a beer. 

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Czech Republic has very cheap beer.  We chatted and drank our beers.  Lil Dave had a sip of mine and started acting tipsy afterwards which I’m sure he wasn’t.

We got the tram back to Tomas’ house. 

Soon after, Helena had lots of food for us for dinner.  There was cauliflower soup for a starter.  We also had cheesy pasta.  It was enough for the whole family, but it was actually just for me and Ivan.  We felt so spoiled.  The pasta was very good.

Later on, we had cheese, popcorn and wine.  Tomas got us to try the local plum brandy which was really strong.  We chatted with Tomas and Helena about life and Couchsurfing.  They’re such friendly people.  It was about 2 am, so we decided to call it a night.

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Pub Souvenir

Ivan, Lil Dave and I went to Lehka Hlava (which means Clear Head) for lunch on October 28, 2011.  It’s a vegetarian restaurant.  Ivan and I got the set menu which came with vegetable soup and vegetable stew.  We also ordered cous cous patties and goats cheese with cranberries.  The starters came out fast.  But, then it took 50 minutes to get our main courses.  Ivan asked the waitress where the food was.  She got offended and said that there’s only one small kitchen.  That’s ridiculous!  They shouldn’t have so many tables if there’s only ONE small kitchen.  The food was ok, nothing special.  I would definitely not return to this restaurant for the rude and super slow service.

We walked around the city taking pictures.  I took many pictures of the statues on Charles Bridge. 

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We saw a band there with a guy playing the washboard. 

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I want to learn how to play the washboard.  I would lovely to learn how to play the washboard.  There’s a lovely view from the bridge.

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Next, we walked to the Old Jewish Quarter.  Ivan and I bought a magnet for Ivan’s mum Denise.  We walked around looking for souvenirs.  I bought some really cool magnets for my family.

We saw a great stall selling some kind of sweet snack.  It’s called trdelnik.  It’s a sweet pastry covered with sugar.  We got one with chocolate inside.

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Later on, we went to Kratochvilovi.  It’s a great cheese and wine shop.  Ivan and I ordered cheese and two glasses of white wine. 

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We ordered pesto gouda and Beemster.  The pesto one was alright while the Beemster was delicious.

We walked to the Old Town Square.  Ivan and I each had an espresso at Starbucks to wake up a bit.  Lil Dave was sad that they didn’t have banana espresso.

Ivan and I met at the tourist office for the beer tour.   The group headed to Bohemia first to pay.  The tour is €14 for adults and €12 for students which includes 4 pubs and 3 free Czech beers.

Our guide was a young man named Tijo.  The group headed to U Templare for our first stop.  TIjo told us about the rules of drinking in Czech Republic.  I only remember that you should look at each other when you toast and hit glasses.  You have to place your mug down and then take a drink.  TIjo recommended a few beers to try.  Ivan and I each tried the Gambrinus which was actually quite nice. 

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I’m not the biggest fan of beer – it’s definitely an acquired taste.  We chatted with a guy from Brazil.

We walked to the next bar Lokal. 

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Tijo told us about a few beers to try.  Ivan and I each tried the Pilsner Urquell.  It was quite bitter.  We talked to an Asian couple who live in Austria and a few Americans.  I liked this bar since there was cool etchings on the wood panels.

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Our next stop was the restaurant U Medvidku.  Tijo told us that we would have to pay for our beer and food here to make it easier.  He told us a few beers including a 12% sweet beer called X.  That’s one strong beer!  Ivan and I ordered a dark Budvar (the Czech Budweiser) and an apple strudel.  The Budvar was dark, but it didn’t taste like a dark beer. 

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It was actually good.  The apple strudel was tasty.  Lil Dave enjoyed his banana strudel.

A band started playing music. 

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They stopped near tables and then moved along to the next set of tables, so people could hear them better.

Everybody ate their food and awhile later it was time to head to our last bar.

The group headed to the Iron Curtain which everybody calls Propaganda Bar.

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I took a bunch of pictures.  We were at this bar last night on the pub crawl.  Ivan and I each tried a different beer.  I got the fruity one which didn’t taste fruity at all. 

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We talked to Tijo – he noticed that I was taking notes during the tour.  I told him about our travel blog.  We said bye to Tijo.  He asked for the blog address.  I hope he gets to check it out!  We had a great time on the pub tour.  It’s lots of fun drinking new beers, chatting with people and seeing some cool pubs.

We walked to a sandwich shop nearby.  We picked up four tuna and egg sandwiches.   Two of the sandwiches would be for our breakfast in the morning.

We walked back to the apartment and ate our sandwiches while watching a show on the laptop.

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Prague

We were rudely woken up at 8 am on October 27, 2011.  There was REALLY loud construction noise going outside the apartment.  How annoying!!!  I went back to sleep while Ivan didn’t.  I woke up at 10 am.

Ivan and I went to find breakfast really quick.  We wanted to check out a free walking tour at 11 am.  We stopped at a vegetarian restaurant called Country Life.  Ivan and I shared a tomato soup.  Lil Dave got a banana sandwich.

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We walked to the Clock Tower to meet for the Free walking tour.  Our guide was a crazy, funny Swedish and Czech guy named Christian.  We checked out many places in Old Town including Old Town Square, Church of Our Lady Before Tyn, St. Nicholas’ Church and the Estates Theatre. 

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Then, we went to the New Town such as places like the National Museum, Republic Square, Powder Tower, the House of the Black Madonna and the Museum of Cubism. 

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We stopped at Bohemia Bagel for lunch.  The bagels are expensive and very plain here.  I wish they had the bagels from Jerusalem – those are 1000% better!

The group started walking to the Old Jewish Quarter. 

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Here, we saw the Spanish Synagogue, cemetery that has 3 levels of bodies buried there and the Pinkas Synagogue.  This was a great 3 hour tour.

We walked so much during the tour.  Ivan and I went to the store to buy thicker jumpers (sweaters) since it was REALLY cold out.  Ivan and I bought jumpers at C&A.  Our guide was right that clothes were expensive in Prague.  Luckily, our jumpers were on sale.

We went to Café Colore for lunch.  Ivan and I shared a kulajda soup which is Czech.  It was a tasty soup which came with mushroom, potatoes and egg.  Lil Dave got a salad with bananas and chicken.  Ivan and I shared a warm vegetarian salad with beetroot, walnuts and goat’s cheese which was rather boring.

We walked back to the apartment to get some rest.  Ivan and I took showers.

We walked to the Old Town Square to find the Beer Tour which is run by the same company who do the free walking tour.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t find the right tourist information office.  We seemed to have missed the tour by a few minutes.  Ivan thought we should try a place that had entertainment and dinner.  Ivan asked the tourist information office about it.  The lady gave us a map.

We tried to find the place, but we gave up.  It’s not easy to find.  Ivan and I checked out restaurants in the area to see which one was the best choice.  We ended up at U Schnellu.  It’s so strange that you can smoke in restaurants and bars in Czech Republic.  Ivan and I shared a boring onion soup for a starter.  We also got marinated Camembert, baked trout and grilled vegetables.  Lil Dave got marinated bananas and a banana kebab.  The food was good.

Ivan and I went to Starbucks to get an espresso.  We needed to be awake for the bar crawl.

Ivan and I went to the Clock Tower to meet up for the Clock Tower Bar Crawl.  We didn’t see many people there.  A Mexican guy took us to the first bar which was below the Old Jewish cemetary in a church.  Apparently, there were people already there for the bar crawl.  The Mexican guy asked us if we had a flyer which provided a discount.  We didn’t, but he said that we should tell the lady that we found out about the crawl through him.

The church was pretty cool.  Most of the people were in group at the bar crawl.  There wasn’t a central table like in the last Clock Tower crawl we did in Krakow, Poland.  It would have been better, so everybody can chat and get to know each other. 

The first 2 hours of the crawl includes free drinks.  There was absinthe shots, beer, wine with vodka and rum (sounds like a deadly combination!) and alcohol with mixers.  Ivan and I had a beer, but it wasn’t good.  We got a rum and coke which was alright.  We decided to get a absinthe shot. 

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There was a crappy band playing in the church.  It was so loud and stuffy in there from the smoke.  Ivan and I popped outside for a breather.

The group left the church at 11 pm.  We headed to our next bar which was the Iron Curtain.  This is a cool bar with 200 old Czech and Slovak Communist art and junk pieces.

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It’s a great themed bar.  I wish Vegas had something like this!  Ivan noticed our guide Christian from the walking tour there.  We said hi.  Ivan thought he didn’t look happy to see us AT ALL.  Ivan and I walked around to check out the cool décor.  Ivan went back to talk to Christian.  He was with a friend.  Ivan asked him about the map above the main bar.  The cities listed were important during the war.

We went to our next bar where we got another free shot of something watered down.  I don’t remember the bar’s name or anything.  This bar had cheesy music playing.  I was dancing around.  I met two girls on the pub crawl named Steph and Ely.  They were really sweet.  I danced with them.  Ivan was talking to two American guys.  Ivan wasn’t sure if we got left by the pub crawl group.  It seemed like we were at this bar for a really long time.  The music started getting really good.  A few minutes later, somebody from the pub crawl said it was on to the next bar.

The last bar was super packed.  We tried to get in, but somehow were denied access since it was so busy.  I guess we had to be with one of the guides to get in.  Ivan and I really wanted to get in for some reason.  One of the guides helped us get in with Steph and Ely.  The bar was soo crowded.  Ivan and I only stayed a few minutes, before going back upstairs. 

I exchanged e-mails with Steph.  I told her she should visit Las Vegas.  We said bye to them.  We headed back to the apartment.  Thank goodness for the GPS and Google Maps (which can now be cached – what a godsend!).

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