Autumn 2021. In theory we could travel to other continents, but destinations we had in mind such as Japan or the United Kingdom were impossible to plan ahead. Instead we organised a rail trip to Eastern Europe, travelling to Berlin, Gdańsk, Wrocław, Karlovy Vary, Pilsen, Bratislava, Poprad, Vienna, Linz and Salzburg. By travelling to Germany, Poland, Czechia, Slovakia and Austria, we explore an area which was in the (not too distant) past bonded together by the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation and by Austria-Hungary.
Originally we wanted to visit Budweis or České Budějovice, inspired by Michael Portillo‘s ‘Great Continental Railway Journeys‘. But that is very far from Karlovy Vary. Czechia is larger than you think.
“We will take you through a labyrinth of passageways, cellars and wells built below Pilsen as early as from the 13th century”, the website says. “During the tour you will get to see life below the town and uncover the secrets of authentic finds and nooks and crannies that are hidden underground.”
“You will find out how the underground originated, and see for yourself in how many different ways it was utilised. Thanks to the exhibits and displayed finds, you will be immersed in the history of the town and the everyday life of its citizens in the Middle Ages.”
Booking the tour comes with vouchers for two free Pilsner Urquell beers in select restaurants in the city.
The tour highlights – uhm – a few highlights to look forward to.
- Ice cellar.
- Labyrinth of passage ways.
- Wells and pits.
- The underground as part of the city’s fortifications against sieges and invaders.
- Water tower.
The description provided is pretty accurate. You walk some 800 metres of the vast network of cellars.
The tour is not really hard to walk. There’s much light so it’s not (too) claustrophobic. But ceilings can be low and you do need that safety helmet. The floor is slippery.
The Pilsen Historical Underground is an interesting introduction to the city.
2021 Rail Tour of Imperial Europe
- POTSDAM 2021 | Schloss Sanssouci.
- 1945 Potsdam Conference’s Cecilienhof Palace.
- Potsdam 2021.
- REVIEW | InterContinental Berlin.
- BERLIN 2021 | Pergamon, ‘Das Panorama’.
- BERLIN 2021 | Humboldt Forum in the Berlin Palace.
- BERLIN 2021 | The Bundestag in the Reichstag.
- Berlin 2021.
- By train from Berlin to Gdansk via Szczecin.
- Stopover in Szczecin.
- REVIEW | Restauracja Ritz in Gdańsk.
- REVIEW | Holiday Inn Gdansk.
- GDAŃSK | Museum of the Second World War.
- GDAŃSK | European Solidarity Centre or Europejskie Centrum Solidarności.
- A walk through Gdańsk.
- Gdańsk 2021.
- POLAND | PKP Intercity Gdansk to Wroclaw via Warsaw.
- Wrocław Museum of Architecture.
- The Dwarfs of Wrocław.
- Poland 2021.
- By train from Wroclaw to Karlovy Vary.
- Karlovy Vary.
- REVIEW | Hotel Imperial Karlovy Vary.
- Czechia’s Great Spa Town of Europe Františkovy Lázně.