Last Friday, the 28th, was a national holiday celebrating the founding of the Czechoslovak state. At school, as part of the national holiday, we had Wednesday through Friday off. It was a welcomed break!
Wednesday morning, Dan, Alder, and I set off for Karlovy Vary, a spa town a couple of hours north of Prague, close to the German border. The German name of the town is Carlsbad/Karlsbad. We saw many signs in German and heard German spoken. A number of famous Germans spent considerable time in Karlovy Vary, most notably Karl Marx and Johann Goethe.
Karlovy Vary has ties to the film world. Every July, an international film festival is held there. One of its hotels, the Grand Hotel Pupp, has been featured in a number of films but is most famous for its role in the bond film Casino Royale. The hotel in person is breathtaking, it seems to go on forever, and it looks more like a resort you’d see in the south of France.
What people really come to Karlovy Vary for is the hot springs and thermal spas. There are twelve hot springs in town, and every hotel has thermal pools and saunas. The thing to do is to buy porcelain cups, walk down the colonnades, and drink up the thermal water, which is supposed to have healing properties. The water, though, has a very strong metallic, mineral taste, so strong, it was hard for me to swallow it at first. When Alder took his first sip, he made a disgusted face I’ve never seen before! As the days passed, I got used to the taste of the water but, in the end, neither Dan nor I really cared for it. But it was fun to try.
Overall, we enjoyed Karlovy Vary, and fall was a good time to visit. The scenery was really quite beautiful with the changing color of the leaves, and it wasn’t overly crowded. It was a great place to relax and clear our heads.