Have you ever wondered why the famous Czech beer, Pilsner Urquell, has its name? I bet you do. Should’ve came on the Pilsen excursion, huh?
A group of eight students got the chance to visit the city of Pilsen, home of the famous Pilsner Urquell, and were led by CIEE Prague’s amazing tour guide, Eva. I was lucky to be one of these eight.
To give a description of Eva, she makes every trip that she guides more fun and educational. She has constant energy, brings positivity to the group, is full of insightful yet interesting information, and creates personal bonds with her students. Our small group felt so lucky to have her all to ourselves. Also for this excursion, CIEE covered all costs including transportation, lunch, and expenses of the activities that we did…the first perk of the opportunity. For all of us broke college students trying to soak up the Czech culture, this was very much appreciated.
We arrived at Pilsen and went straight to Europe’s second largest synagogue, which even for someone who is Catholic, like myself, was amazing to experience. We were enlightened on the facts about the building’s architecture, why the building was not bombed in World War Two, and about what it is used for today. The city of Pilsen now has three Jewish people left due to the communist regime and Nazi control. Hidden synagogues that we visited were also found in the town because of the controlling powers.
On a more positive note, Eva works for the Pilsner brewery, so we got the insider information about the city of Pilsen and their beer culture, as well as a personal tour through the brewery. This, I have to say, was the highlight. We got to see the bottling process of the beer, the brewing process of the beer, and the hand-dug cellars where the fermentation process of the beer takes place. We all inhaled the smell of yeast and barley as we walked through the brewery, which made me think of the best loaf of fresh bread. I also felt like a brew master myself when I was given the opportunity to pour my own glass.
Conveniently, as all tourist attractions do, the tour and the day ended in a gift shop. Sorry Dad if you’re reading this, your Christmas gift may be from the Pilsner gift shop. Every girl on the excursion got their father’s a green polo, so you’re welcome for the publicity, Pilsner!
At the end of the day, to me and everybody else, I think that Pilsen is known only for the beer. It ended up being so much more than that. I will be going back to the city on October 6, 2019 for their Pilsner Fest, as Eva gave us the insider scoop on a non-Oktoberfest beer festival that happens there. Everyone is welcome to join me.