Burton Dane Travels

We're traveling through Europe and parts nearby for a year. We'll be posting our pix and adventures here.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Czech Republic

We flew from Turkey to Zurich so we could drive to Eastern Europe. Not the most direct route but one that allowed us to fly into a non-EU country and still pick up a long term rental car. Our plans matched those of Catherine and Jessie so we got to spend some time together traveling across Germany to Plzen in the Czech Republic.

When we arrived in Plzen it was dark and deserted. We rented a flat that must have been outfitted for party bosses. It had huge rooms, high ceilings and little furniture. Surreal and disquieting. It felt like they still had the eavesdropping tape recorders hooked up.

The morning brought sunshine, and showed Plzen to be a vibrant city. We toured the town and later the Pilsen Urquell brewery. They still brew a few batches according to their original 150 year old process. The brew-master uses this beer to ensure the taste from the high-volume process is correct. We tasted this special brew, drawn unfiltered from the old time barrels. Ben looks happy with the taste, but in fact thought it was too bitter and cloudy.

The following three days we ran around Prague with Jenny and Debbie. It’s a beautiful city. Well preserved and seemingly comfortable hosting a lot of tourists. Among the castles and synagogues we also visited the Museum of Kommunism. It showed the repression and paranoia that the people endured from WWII until 1989. Another dismal period in humanity’s past.

Communism came on the heals of Nazi repression, round ups and exterminations. Hitler left several Prague synagogues and Jewish landmarks intact with the intention of displaying them as the remnants of an extinct people. The Pinkas synagogue’s walls had the names of those exterminated from this region. It was relentless. We plan to visit Auschwitz in Poland and I expect it to be horrific.



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