My husband Bill and I just got home from a long weekend near Plzen in the Czech Republic. It was not our first visit to the area, but it was the first since 2009, when Bill and I celebrated President’s Day weekend and Valentine’s Day in Chodova Plana. Chodova Plana is where Chodovar, a brewery and “beer wellness land”, is located. We had really been looking forward to visiting Chodovar and enjoying a soak in one of their beer baths, which we learned about while watching a drinking show called Three Sheets. It was my very first visit to a beer spa. I have since become something of a beer spa connoisseur.
I remember that trip very well because Bill had just gotten back from from a TDY assignment for EUCOM. Just before he got home to pick me up for our trip to Chodovar, Bill received a cryptic email from his narcissistic former boss, who had tormented him for six months in Iraq. The guy had asked Bill how he was liking Germany. Bill said he loved it here. The guy then said that sometimes the Army takes you in places you don’t expect to go. Indeed, that cryptic email set off a series of moves that would keep us hopping through three states over five years.
After our fabulous weekend in Chodova Plana, during which we visited Karlovy Vary, Plzen, and Marianske Lazne, soaked in beer, got massages, and bought art from a Russian painter, we found out that we would be leaving our Germany assignment prematurely. Bill had been requested by name for his next assignment at FORSCOM, which was at that time located at Fort McPherson, near Atlanta, Georgia.
We knew we would not be in Georgia for long, since Fort McPherson was slated to close in 2011. Indeed, we were only there for 16 months before we moved to Fort Bragg for 28 months, then spent a year at Fort Sam Houston. Then, Bill mercifully retired, and we wound up back here in Germany. If we’re still here in August, and I’m sure we will be, this will have been the longest period we’ve spent in one place since we got married in 2002.
You might say that visit to the Czech Republic and the email that preceded it even inspired me to start blogging. It was when we were living in Georgia that I started thinking about how my best laid plans had gone horribly awry and I wound up an “overeducated housewife”. I no longer really complain about it, though. I have a pretty good life, at least right now. I’ve gotten to see and do some pretty cool things because I’ve followed Bill around for the past fifteen years.
In any case, since we’ve been back in Germany, I’ve made a point of getting away as often as possible to see places in Europe I either want to see for the first time or revisit. The Czech Republic was one of our favorite places when we lived in Germany the first time. We barely got two years out of our first stint here, yet we still managed three visits to the Czech Republic. Although getting there takes the better part of the day by car, it’s pretty much all autobahn. And though the Czech Republic still has plenty of remnants of its Eastern Bloc past, its people are warm, friendly, and downright cool. Plus, if you love beer– and Bill and I do– it’s a must see country. The Czechs drink even more beer than the Germans do. In fact, they drink more beer per capita in the Czech Republic than anywhere else in the world! Plzen is also the city that birthed a very popular beer style, the trusty pilsner.
I’m surprised to admit that we’ve been back in Germany since 2014 and this past weekend was our first time back to the Czech Republic since our return. And… it was all we’d hoped it would be! God willing, we will get to stay here a bit longer so we can visit a couple more times. There’s a lot to see and do in the Czech Republic and, for you bargain hunters out there, it’s pretty damn cheap!
Just before he left to go pick up some groceries at the Real, Bill informed me that over our three nights in the Czech Republic, we spent a grand total of $635! That figure includes what we spent to rent a freestanding house, two extravagant lunches, groceries, gas, excursions, and lots of beer! Granted, the weather kind of kept us from doing a whole lot, but we did enjoy ourselves for not much money. So if you’ve been wondering about the Czech Republic and want to go somewhere besides Prague, stay tuned to this series. I’m already dreaming up more trips to this formerly forbidden place.
But I won’t be traveling by plane… especially not one of these!