Over the month, I’m taking several excursions outside of Prague. This weekend was the first! We took a little vacation to Cesky Krumlov, a tiny and picturesque town in South Bohemia. It’s where Czechs take their weekends and summers, and it was adorable.
On our way there, we made a pit stop at Vojna concentration camp. This is the first concentration camp I have ever set foot in, and it was extremely moving to me. It actually was a communist forced labor camp, rather than a Jewish death camp. I had a vague idea that such things existed, but they were never quite concrete things to me. The more and more context I got while visiting the camp, the more horrifying it became. In this location, people who were intellectuals, doctors, scholars, etc, were forced to mine for uranium. Knowledge and thought are threatening to regimes. Outside of the camp, there’s a sign that says Prací Ke Svobodě. Work makes free. The same thing the Nazi’s put outside of their camps.
With a stark contrast, Cesky Krumlov was such a delight. The Vltava flows around the town, and there are lots of shops and food places. We did homework on the river bank, climbed up a huge hill that overlooked the entire place, and explored the castle gardens. Cesky Krumlov is home to one of the only two baroque theaters in the world and it was an incredible marvel. We were able to see how they shifted the sets and how they made sound and visual effects. I didn’t expect to be so impressed, but the second I stepped foot in the theater I realized that it was something truly, truly special and it was one of my favorite tours so far.
Another thing that Cesky Krumlov has is a BEAR MOAT. Like, there’s a moat around the castle and it’s home to two bears. It was one of the best things I’ve ever seen. They are chubby and domesticated and just a lot of fun. We saw only saw one of them, but he was just about the cutest thing in all of the Czech Republic.
After a few days in Cesky, we made a few more pit stops. We made it to a Jesuit crypt, and saw some mummies. My nursing major roommate was LIVING, she diagnosed one of the mummies with colon cancer, and she was correct. I mean, it probably helped because his stomach was swollen like, five times the normal size, but still. The Jesuits tried to heal him with blood letting, and obviously that was really unhelpful. I really hope that dude is in peace, he deserves it.
Another place we went was the Pilsner Urquell brewery. Pilsner Urquell is the most famous brand of Czech beer, and it supposedly the best in the ENTIRE WORLD. Even for a non beer drinker, the tour was really a lot of fun. You got the feeling that you were at the Disney World of breweries. Definitely the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory of breweries. We even went up an elevator. Our guide said it was the biggest elevator in the Czech Republic, which I totally believe because it’s the second elevator I’ve seen since coming here.
The grounds were huge, we toured the place by bus. Our guide let us through these really sensory rooms where we could taste the ingredients, see how it’s brewed and stored, and of course saw the bottle packaging. We all got unfiltered samples from the cellar, and it was my first real taste of beer. It wasn’t the grossest thing I’ve ever tasted, but I’m not sure that I would call it good.