The Czech Republic. Day 2. Karlštejn & Plzeň.

Early in the morning we weak up and take the car. Our first stop is to add another traveller to our trip. A friendly car mechanic from Czechia. He will join us for the next two days.

Next stop is the Albatross Golf Resort, there we split. My two apartment mates will go for their second golf course. My new friend and I go to Karlštejn a Gothic castle founded in 1348 by Charles IV.

In the short drive, I find out two things. Even my new friend English is not excellent we can understand each other. The other one is that he drives impressibility well. It is not just his confidence behind the wheel. But, it is the way he looks at the crossing and his awareness of the surroundings. His expertise is noticeable even to me.

My friend makes an unplanned stop at Velká Amerika an abandoned quarry that is 800 meters long and 100 meters deep. It is an impressive view. The 1964 Western Limonádový (Lemonade Joe) was filmed in this location. A place can change from a beautiful view to an interesting experience if you can find an emotional link with it like a movie, a song or some other connection.

View of the quarry from above.

We arrive early at Karlštejn. There is already some tourists waiting outside for the doors to the castle to open. Once inside, we need to choose from three different tours at the ticket office. I will prefer to be able to visit the castle on my own, but this option is not possible. We choose “The private and representative rooms of Emperor Charles IV (Basic tour)” as does not need to be booked in advance. The tour’s 55 minutes duration fits our schedule perfectly.

The guide moves the group of people from room to room. The pace is good enough. We get an introduction to the room and have the opportunity to ask some questions. Just one or twice we need to wait for the previous group to move on. The castle is beautiful and has great views of the town at its feet.

After the visit, we go back to meet with our two golfer companions and continue our route to Plzeň. At arrival, all the group checks in a hotel. We have an apartment rented in Prague, but, we will spend the night in Plzeň. To go back to Prague at night and travel the next day in the morning will have consumed too much time.

We booked a guided tour to the Pilsner Urquell brewery. The brewery historical cellars are impressive. The underground facility looks more like a maze than a cellar. The rest of the visit is also interesting from the historical and engineering perspectives. And, at the end of the visit, we get rewarded with a taste of unfiltered and unpasteurised beer directly from the barrel.

We finish the day at the brewery restaurant. I have the opportunity to try some delicious traditional Czech dishes – and beer – by recommendation of my local friends.