I was on the way to Brno, another main place to visit while I was in Czech Republic. Brno is a city with a lifely student populations. It is a nice place to head to and although it is kinda quiet though! It has a balance of standard of living and also price since Prague is more expensive. I was leaving Cesky Krumlov and taking the bus to Brno, which requires a transfer in Ceske Budejovice, another city in South Bohemian. It is larger than Cesky Krumlov and only 30mins away by bus. To get around Czech Republic, one of the best way is to take the Regiojet also known as student agency in the past since it is started by some Czech students for affordable travels. The bus were nice and good, prices were cheap, which I will do a comparison of bus operators in another post soon. Since I was going to connect here, I was like, why not head to the city for a walk? Another selfish reason was also to visit the famed Czech beer brewery, Budweiser Budvar Brewery and also learn about the production.
I choose to take an early bus out from Cesky Krumlov and arrived after a 30mins ride. The bus station in Ceske Budejovice is located at the top level of Mercury Centrum shopping mall. It is huge and have a large supermarket as well. I managed to lock up my baggage and had like 5 to 6 hours before my next bus to Brno. It was located on the fringe of the city centre and the walk there was roughly about 15mins. While there was a walk, the main street is lined up with shops, it is prefect safe to do so. It was a tat quiet in the city, at first I had thought that it is probably too early but it seems to stay the same throughout the day. It did get much more lively after lunch, but still kind of quiet for my liking.
I went to the main square of the city which was this very grand Přemysl Otakar II Square. It felt very imperialistic and very impressive. It was quiet and desolate though. You could count in peace the amount of people walking past though! Another great sight in the square was the unique town hall with 3 spikes. Since I did not had breakfast and was rushing to the bus, I found a great cafe where I had a nice omelette and a coffee. Prices is cheap as per the norm. You have to keep in mind that unlike Cesky Krumlov, Budweis is not a touristy town, on the good side you get to really feel how the locals are living and their lifestyle. With these being said, I went on a quest to find my magnet and it prove to be a challenge!
There wasn’t much to see in town and I could complete it in an hour or so. I decided to make the journey to the Budweiser Budvar Brewery. It is the famous brewery in town and also in Czech Republic. It is quite a walk from the city centre, roughly around 30 to 45 mins. The HQ and the main brewery is located here. For the non group visitors, you can join a tour at 2pm every day and the price of the tour is only about 4 or 5 euros. You get a tasting as well. There was some time to kill before the start of the tour which I spend admiring the museum and also the mini cinema there.
A nice Czech lady took us around the facility and explain very in depth to us the process and also the history of the company. She is really nice after talking a little, I know that she is actually an intern and doing the tour as part of something of her job, something like an extra activity, really can tell her passion for the brewery! It is really impressive to see the huge volume of beer that is going pass the facility here. The amount of crate and bottle here are mind blowing. We all had to don there vest to ensure our safety as there are vehicles and machines going on inside the brewery. I also made friends with this Korea lady who was really nice. She is a teacher who quit her job to travel around Europe for around 6 months. Take about a crazier Wanderluster than me!
We started out by knowing the process and the ingredients to brew the beer. From the ground water in the region and the hop cones. There were all in these gigantic bronze vats that towers over us! We then took visit to this musty wet cool place which is located underground where the beer was being fermented and kept. There were stored in these large metal vats that could hold up to 5000 liters. Nothing seems to be better than getting a fresh pint of beer after walking around and talking. That was simply too refreshing.
Last but not least we took a walk through the bottling facility where it starts with them recycling the beer bottles and then washing it and selecting out the broken and spoiled ones. Something that I am really surprised was it was in fact cheaper to use beer bottles than cans one. Perhaps this is why in Europe it is much more common to find those small bottles. It was also said that the brewery could only use make their beer bottles and not of others. I probably should have asked how the sifting out is done! It is a playground for the guys to see all these bottles of beer and cans that are all ready to be drank!
With this, I bid farewell and made my way back to the bus station for the journey to Brno, but not before grabbing a coffee and a cake prior to the journey. Let me know how you all find Ceske Budejovice? While it could be a miss and there is nothing much, if you are passing by, do visit the brewery, it is pretty interesting!