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.
We stayed a week in Czechia, using Karlovy Vary as a hub. Sam joined by car from Belgium, which gave us excursion possibilities which we wouldn’t have otherwise. Sam travels more slowly and doesn’t like to plan. So the middle week of of our three-week 2021 Tour of Imperial Europe was more calm. A slower pace. It has its charms.
Some observations on our stay in Czechia
As in Poland, people in Czechia, or at it least in the western part, start their day early. They also dine early. In the Spa Hotel Imperial, people were quick to go for dinner and left also early. We’re talking 6-7 PM.
On the other hand, the gym hours were late. 8 AM to 8 PM on weekdays and 10 AM – 7 PM in the weekend. The Lanová dráha Imperial only starts to operate just before 8 AM. And as you can see, the funicular stops operating early as well. So no eating out?
Probably because so close to the border, German is a common second language in the Karlovy Vary Region and the Pilsen Region. English proficiency seemed lower than in Poland.
Although it was very clear many people are tired of coronavirus countermeasures such as wearing a face mask, the Czechs seemed to follow the COVID-19 rules more strictly.
Both the pool at the hotel and at Františkovy Lázně‘s Aquaforum were from the same manufacturer.
We noticed something odd. In both cases, the gimmicks of the pool – whirlpools, water jets etcetera don’t work simultaneously. For some reason, they alternate.
Whirlpools don’t have a button. You must wait your turn.
In two instances, we needed cash. To pay the parking at Aquaforum and in the restaurant in Cheb. The restaurant accepted euros, the parking ticket machine didn’t.
We thought we could avoid changing money or retrieving Czech crowns from the ATM, but in the end we needed some.
Previously in Czechia
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.
- CZECHIA | Pilsen Historical Underground Tunnels.
- CZECHIA | Pilsner Urquell Brewery Tour.
- CZECHIA | Pilsen.
- CZECHIA 2021 | Cheb and its castle.
- Hotel room for one.
- By train from Karlovy Vary to Prague via Pilsen.