Tag: Czech Republic

Karlovy Vary: Part 3

Day 5

After another five hours in the car, we arrived in Karlovy Vary, or Karlsbad, a Czech (and a few times in history, German) spa resort town. Lovely! Beautiful buildings (all spa hotels), and a cute downtown shopping area flanking a river, we stayed right in the heart of it in the nicest hotel we had for the trip. Once we figured everything out at the hotel and got the right currency (not on the euro), we walked across the street (literally fifty feet out the hotel door) to the spa for a three hour treatment including wading in a mineral water pool, massages, mist inhalation treatment, and an oxygen treatment (I am in the midst of an ongoing bronchial infection, and Herr was hoping these treatments would help). An interesting experience with plenty of Russians and unlimited tea.


Herr and his friend went out that evening after a tasty dinner at the hotel while I stayed back to take a third attempt at my homework (*le sigh*). I didn’t last long before I passed out, and Herr came back a few hours later slightly disappointed, having found the town’s train station was a modern design not pleasing to the eye. Lucky for him though, he saw the city at night.

Day 6

The hotel let us keep our prime parking spot after we checked out, so we didn’t waste time in exploring. We hadn’t realized this at first, but the town really does have a lot of springs; so many that the city capped several of them making them “everlasting” spigots of nasty spring water, free drinking for anyone who can tolerate spring water. 😛 Our first stop was to Diana Tower for a commanding view of the area. We took the first funicular rail of the day and were the only ones in the tower. A nice way to start off the day. The town was still waking up when we came back down, so we made our way slowly toward a Russian Orthodox church with shiny gold-colored onion domes and all.

Spa hotel.Orthodox church.

The road looped back to the river, where we stopped in several shops. Earlier I found what I was told later to be a “spa wafer” (I had one about 10-12 inches round), so I was determined to pick up a box (of smaller ones!) for later. We finally figured out what the little porcelain “pitchers” were too; the town is littered with stands and stores selling “pitcher”-like items, but really they have a long drinking spout (like a built in straw I suppose) with a hole on the top. You use these to fill up with spring water at the various heated springs along the walk! Like I said, the water is not terribly pleasant, but it was worth trying! I haven’t seen “spring-drinking” activities anywhere else yet. 😉


Piled in the car again and back for Germany, we didn’t quite make it in time to stop by Ulm Muenster (although we did a lot of walking already). Herr and his friend walked around Speyer the next day then went off to Paris the day after. I had a lot of work to catch up with, but aside from missing the train back to Germany, they seemed to have a good time.


One of the final places my brother and sister-in-law wished to see before leaving Europe was Prague. We had difficulty acquiring transportation, so we had a trying time finding our way in the Czech Republic. The language is not the easiest to read… we finally arrived at our hotel around 2 a.m. Despite our short stay, we did enjoy it.

We left around 9 a.m. to see the castle, a unique and large structure. The gardens boasted a variety of trees and a view of the most identifiable cathedral inside the castle grounds. The castle itself is like a small city built in many eras of European architecture. Like a lego castle, really. The view of the city was the best.

Prague castle.
Castle cathedral from castle gardens.

View of Prague from the castle.

We made our way through the shopping area along the riverside towards one of Prague’s famous bridges, Charles Bridge. Unbeknownst to me, Prague is a fantastic city for shopping. We did buy a colorful glass vase and a leather purse for me, but I wish we could have spent much more time to leisurely shop. Once to the bridge, we continued to shop at the artisan booths along the way.

Charles Bridge.
Charles Bridge.

We amused ourselves with some of the architecture on our way to the Hard Rock Cafe (we have quite a vast collection of the glasses now), a new restaurant there (only a few weeks open). Afterwards, we walked through a market in a cozy plaza, then walked around the old Jewish quarter. It is mostly shops now (a lot of chandeliers and jewelry), but many synagogues and small signs of the World War II treatment of Jews were still visible.

With the sun setting, we walked along the river to the opera house before heading back to the hotel. It is a city I would like to visit again just to shop, like Paris. 😛

Monument in front of opera house with castle in sunset.