Monday, September 20, 2010

Plsen: Land of Beer

Yesterday some friends and I took a trip to Plsen, a city famous for its beer. We booked the bus tickets at the last minute and accumulated a rather large group of interested people, which turned out very badly for us. The night before, when we were purchasing our bus tickets, we decided we would take a ten o’clock student bus and on the way back we would take the six-thirty Phil Collins bus home. (Spoiler: Phil Collins wasn’t there.)

I’m afraid there are no pictures to accompany this story because I deleted them all by accident. It was just the cherry on top as far as disasters go.

Sunday morning I was in the breakfast room, ready to go, and I called my friend to see if she had purchased a ticket yet. It turned out that I forgot to tell her that we were taking a bus at ten, and she thought that we were taking the bus at noon. Besides not having a ticket, she was just getting up. I was rather angry with myself and decided to quickly buy her ticket online and print it in our dorm mother’s office so she could get ready quickly.

I did not notice until later that, in my haste, I took out my ticket to make sure that I was putting my friend on the right bus and I left it on my desk. I also did not notice that I only bought her return ticket. Once everyone had printed their tickets and was ready to go, catching our bus did not seem plausible. We boarded a tram that seemed to be driven by a student driver. It was caught behind another tram which was probably also driven by a student driver. At one point we slowed down so much that we came to a complete stop in the middle of the track. Meanwhile, the crazy Czech drivers cross the tracks at their leisure.

By the time we got to the metro we had a less than a half hour to get there. The clock struck ten before we even reached the station, and we all resigned ourselves to the fact that we would have to buy new tickets. I felt terrible because if I had just told my friend what time we were leaving we might have made our train. On the bright side, it didn’t matter that I bought her only a return ticket by accident. It also didn’t matter that I seemed to have lost my ticket to Plsen. However, I had also lost my ticket back. The man at the ticket window informed me that the only bus back that hadn’t been filled was at nine at night, hours after my friends would already be gone. I seemed to have no choice but to buy it. We tried looking up my ticket number on a friend’s smart phone, but the man at the counter would not accept it.

After everything that could possibly go wrong did, we made it to Plsen and toured the famous brewery. We watched a video about how “Plsen is made from three gifts of the Czech nature: WATER, BARLEY, and HOP.” The theatre reminded me of a universal studios ride. We stood on moving risers, and I never figured out why it was necessary for them to constantly rotate just slightly to the right. The film was very surreal, with music from Tom and Jerry, historical beer related footage, and a man burning in a fire on the left screen.

At the end of the tour, we descended underground to a special vault of unpasteurized Pilsner that they keep just so tourists don’t get hypothermic wandering the cellar looking for it. We got a lesson in the proper way to taste beer and I discovered that I still don’t like it. Based on the factory tour, I think it might be the hops. Some of my friends tasted ground up hops and it was so terrible that they went back for more malt pellets just to get rid of the taste. I suppose there’s a reason that hops doesn’t seem to be used for anything else.

Moving on to more delicious things, I had the best meal that I had in the Czech Republic so far at a pub in Plsen. I ordered grilled vegetables that were soaked in some delicious combination of butter or oil and wine and baguette. And who calls the Czech Republic “the country that forgot vegetables?” I’ve only accidentally eaten meat once, and it was in some Laughing Cow cheese of all places.

It all worked out in the end and I was able to get on my original Phil Collins bus and refund my nine o’clock ticket. My friends were incredibly disappointed to find that not only was Phil Collins not on the bus, but that the ride had nothing to do with Phil Collins whatsoever. Phil Collins was just the bus’s name. I wonder if the Michael Jackson bus would have been better.

It always comforts me to think that when everything goes wrong and all of the pictures are accidentally deleted, at least it will make an amusing story later.

No comments:

Post a Comment