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4 Oct

Our trip to the Czech Republic and some thoughts on it

Yes, I know it has been a month today since we came back from our last holiday and no updates on it. So sorry for this as have been thoroughly busy with all sorts of things.

Anyhow, cutting it to the point, the trip to the Czech Republic has been amazing. While our last trip was in Budapest, this was for sure better than the Budapest trip. Though I did not have so much shopping possibilities on our way back, I enjoyed the trip itself.

Brno

Our aim was to get to Karlovy Vary, but since it is a long ride from Romania till there, we stopped in Brno for two nights before the Karlovy Vary arrival.

Our stay in Brno

We stayed at a wonderful and very unique hotel – the Noem Arch. It seemed an interesting stay as it is actually called – “Noem Arch – design hotel” so yes been wanting to see what is all that about. The stay was very nice, the rooms were like some crew cabins and it was kind of fun. However, we did not stay in the hotel too much as had just little time and wanted to visit the city.

The visit

I made a plan of course for our Czech Republic trip. I got to the conclusion that planning really saves a lot of time and gets you see more than if you do not plan ahead.

So with the printed plan in my bag, we called a cab from the hotel to take us to the first visit from where we started. The Spilberk Castle and garden were our first stop. From there we moved on to the next ones. It was a nice and interesting visit, a must for sure as you can see the entire city from the top. While the cab leaves you at the entrance of the park, you have to walk to get all the way to the top. There are nice views for sure, a café and restaurant, a lot of people and you feel a lot like in Prague where the castle side is.

After a couple of hours at the Castle we visited the Nuclear shelter that you can find at the bottom of the other entrance of the castle. I was mostly impressed with this as both the feeling it gives you, as well as everything you see there give you chills. In a good and bad way at the same time. For everyone for whom this would be their first visit to a nuclear shelter, you absolutely have no idea of what to expect and of how impressed it will leave you. You will for sure have mixed feelings regarding everything you see there. A separate post on it will follow.

Then we got hungry and in looking for a restaurant – we did not plan the restaurant thing ahead for Brno, we ended up at McDonalds for the first day … as did not find any restaurant we liked.

Though a rainy day, on the second day we got up and decided to take the car, park it in the city and tick the rest of the places on the list. This time, we knew ahead what restaurant we will be going to.

Places we saw:

  • Mintmaster’s cellar
  • The House of the Lords of Lipa
  • Klein Palace
  • Church of Saint Thomas
  • Low Beer Villa
  • Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral
  • Moravian Museum
  • Cabbage Market Square (actually it was where some of the spots were located)
  • Parnas Fountain
  • Burgeruv Dum
  • Degenuv Dum
  • Plague Column

What we did not see but it was on the list was the Technical Museum. We did not see the Zoo either, as we did not have time for it and this is why we did not put it on the list either.  However, we will be coming back for sure as it is a great city to visit, to relax, to enjoy and to eat in.

This time we ate at Potrefená husa restaurant. It is a nice restaurant, in the city center and we were amazed to see how many people were there. The food was great, the ribs there tasted wonderful and the beer as well. I highly recommend it. It serves traditionally Czech food and it is very tasteful.

Takeaways:

A beautiful city where you can truly enjoy visiting places, eating good food and drinking very tasty beer.

Karlovy Vary

The next morning, we got up, ate and starting the road trip to Karlovy Vary –  our final destination, where we stayed for 6 days. It is widely known that Karlovy Vary is the Jewel of the West Bohemian Spa Triangle.

Our stay in Karlovy Vary

We actually did not stay in Karlovy Vary, but in a small town near it – 7 km away from Karlovy Vary. We did this as we wanted a wellness and spa hotel where we could feel pampered away from the city crowd (as Karlovy Vary is a very crowded little city)

This is why we stayed at Golf & Spa Resort Cihelny, a wonderful hotel where we thought we could play gold as well. J We actually did not as they had very strict rules regarding your gold outfit from the shoes to the clothes….and we were not prepped for this either. L anyhow the room was all white, with a biiig king size bed.

The visit

Of course in order to be effective and enjoy Karlovy Vary and the Spa as well, we split the days. Some were for Spa while some for visiting.

On our first day we visited:

  • Vridelni kolonada
  • Market Colonnade
  • Hot Spring Colonnade
  • Mlynska kolonada
  • Cat Memorial
  • Vyhlidka Karla IV
  • Monument to Karl Marx
  • Nova Louka – Street – the street where all the shopping was going on J a beautiful street indeed
  • Evangelical Church of St. Peter and Paul – unfortunately it was in renovations, but it is a wonderful church. We are very sorry we could not visit it inside but we are glad we saw it at least from outside.
  • Holy Trinity Column

What I did love about our first day of visit is the interesting architecture we could see there. Everything is so royalish and embellished, and they have these Colonnade that are very long and wide and interesting to see. In the touristic area, where all the designers shops were, there are a lot of hotels – even a Hotel Romania J and each building is in different colors. So yes, this was something I really liked.

Then the other day we visited the Christmas House. Actually this location is right outside of the Karlovy Vary city. First day we arrived we passed it by and I laughed as did not know that was it and thought “Wow there actually are more people like me with a love for Christmas so big that they have a Christmas tree in the middle of the year” (well I do not have, but would sure like to have one all year round).  But well, yeah… that was the Christmas house, so no … there are no other people like me. While we though we will stop by the Christmas house in our way to the restaurant :)) after a half a day of Spa, we actually spend more than 2 hours there. In a Christmas house. So yep, it is a must!!! This place astonished me! It is gorgeous and who thought of opening it and have the Christmas feeling year round had a great idea! Each of us did more than 100 different photos here. About this will tell you in a separate post!

As it is said who visited Karlovy Vary and did not go to the Diana Observation Tower, did not visit Karlovy Vary, we went to the Diana Observation tower on another day. Well we went because of this and because of its name of course 🙂  that it was on my list.  As high expectations as we had about this, as big disappointment we had. We went with a funicular up and down (a scary experience, will not happen again for sure), we got there, but unfortunately it is not so well kept and preserved as to be a go to point. It could be far more beautiful than it is at this point. It is an old touristic attraction from Karlovy Vary but I highly recommend more investments into it to be done.

The restaurants

This time around we did our homework and ate in some great places.

Highly recommend the Restaurace U Tomáše. The food is perfectly cooked, the staff is very nice and the atmosphere is pleasant. Though it is in the city center, we did not find it expensive.

One day we felt like pizza and went to Pizzeria Palermo. It is a wonderful place with very good, authentic Italian cooking. I for one never had such a good pizza in my life. So yep, totally worth it for you to go and try it out.

Another great place to try here is the BAGEL Lounge. It is still in the city center and it is a great place for a quick lunch. The onion rings are great and the lemonade is also very good.

We also went to the Diana Restaurant when we went to the Diana Observation Tower. While the food was rather ok, I cannot recommend it. It is better to stick to visiting and seeing Karlovy Vary from the tower and then get back to the city and eat.

Takeaways

Karlovy Vary is a great city, people are very nice and warm. It is a very touristic place, if you choose to stay in the city you have to be ready to face the crowds. For us, it was the perfect choice that we did not stay in the city. It is very green, it has many places to visit, very tasty food and a lot of good restaurants. It is a must once in a lifetime.

Conclusions

Czech Republic is one of the countries we will visit again for sure.

What about you? Have you ever been to the Czech Republic? What have you visited? If not, would you want to go?

 

 

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Diana Sterescu
1 Comment
  • Madalina Oanta

    Great story 😊. I have been to Prague and indeed was a wonderful experience. The Czech Republic has a lot of history and places to visit.

    October 4, 2018 at 2:58 pm Reply

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