It was almost Christmas and still no snow in the Netherlands. I started to feel slightly restless; somehow snow and Christmas are connected in my brain. One cannot go without the other.
Over lunch in the office I started complaining to Deepak how everything is so un-Christmas-y in the Netherlands and how much better it is in Czech Republic. On the spur of the moment we decided to leave office early and drive to Czech to experience the Christmas feeling.
Deepak had never been there and was eager to see the country before going back to India.
For me the trip started once we passed the Mattoni sign. We were officially in Czech Republic and there was SNOW!
We were a wee bit overconfidence about reaching Prague in 6 hours. It can be done, for sure, but not with my car. We had to cut our losses and stay the night in Karlovy Vary. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
Karlovy Vary is just across the borders in Czech and the oldest Spa City of Europe. Supposedly, drinking the spring water is healthy, at least that is what is being said.
Did I already mention there was snow? No? Well, there was snow! And it was freezing
We walked around the city and ended up at the Vřidlo Spring. The hot water comes bursting out of the ground at a temperature of 72˚. Most people cannot drink water at this temperature. In order to do everyone a favour and cool the water down in the different columns to a temperature of 30˚ to 50˚. They recommend to drink the water only from a porcelain cup for the best health effect. The price charged for the cup gave me nearly a hart attack so a plastic cup will do for this once.
The water might be healthy, it is far from tasty. I did finish the cup. Not noticing immediate improvement in my health. Maybe, if we would have been staying longer and drank 3 times a day. Maybe.
In order to get rid of the taste left by the water I decided it was time for a break and treat ourselves on hot wine and cake. Also very healthy! At least one of the cakes had raspberries. Raspberries are fruit and therefor healthy. And wine is made from grapes. Need I say more?
Having our bellies filled with delightful (HEALTHY!) cakes we continued on our way to Prague. One more pit-stop at my all-time favourite castle Karlstejn. The castle is only half an hour from Prague and definitely worth visiting. The castle was build by the Czech King and the Roman Emperor Charles IV for safekeeping the royal treasures of the Roman empire.
On our way we saw a few local kids walking on the bridge giving me the brilliant plan that I could do the same. Well I could, but midway my climb onto the bridge I decided that it was awfully cold. FREEZING! Worse then the cold was the idea of falling in the water. Somewhere I read that in cold water a person can only survive for 3 minutes. Deepak was happily taking pictures while muttering under his breath that I was crazy.
After climbing back onto the sidewalk and we continued our walk to the castle.
Karlstejn castle the little gem hidden between these two hills.
Along the road leading up to the castle are many small shops where you can buy souvenirs. I guess we saw all of them from the inside. I am a sucker for those small glass animals. And one thing which is sold in every shop is glass animals.
Unfortunately the castle turned out to be closed. According to the sign it should have been opened. However, the Czech decided it to call it a day early. It gives a reason to come back once more. We still need to see where Charles the IV kept his crown jewels.
When I look at this picture I feel like going back.
The disappointment of the castle being closed made us look for some comfort in a drink . The best beer comes from Czech and being here was a good excuse to have a beer in the middle of the day.
Even Deepak, who rarely drinks, enjoyed a beer.
After a nice lunch and a beer we continued to Prague. Finally!