PILSEN, Czech Republic ~ Life, liberty & celebration
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Every year the city of Pilsen, Czech Republic comes to life for a LIBERATION memorial parade in May. It is fabulous if you get a chance to be a part of it. You will feel the overwhelming joy of celebrating life and liberty of the people in this land. As an American, I loved being here last year as we joined in the festivities that transport you back to 1945.
This year, the festival is May 3 – 6th and is celebrated with veterans, citizens and visitors from all over the world. Jon and I headed down on a Friday night and stayed until Sunday. The convoy of liberty with over 220 old military vehicles parade the main street of Pilsen and flags of Czech Republic and American flags are handed out as parade participants walk by.
Especially, if you are patriotic like me, you might shed a tear or many. The scenes were live and realistic. Women and men were dressed in period clothing and had their hair adorned just like 1945.
Where we stayed
Hotel Victoria ~ within walking distance of the old town and easy to get to the parade. It is a solid 3.5-4* depending on your tastes. Here is my review on Google Maps. Most hotels in the area need a little work and maybe a little bit of love. I am sure the tourist season is sporadic so it would be hard to know when and what to invest. Just needs a little updating.
Our breakfast was quite nice and the coffee was fresh. Always a must from my traveler. Lots of choices of meats and potatoes, so yum.
There is a patio out back and we really enjoyed sitting out there with a little Bohemian Sekt and listening to the birds in the courtyard. Super peaceful and just the two of us.
On Friday night
We left right after work and it is a healthy 4 hour drive plus we ran into a little traffic coming out of Stuttgart. Where’s the shocked emoji when you need one.
Restaurants close about 9 p.m. and finding late night was out of the question. We strolled through the old town and there wasn’t much open, so we decided to grab some snacks and call it a night. Not so horrible and kind of romantic. You might want to pack provisions.
Saturday and the GREAT SYNAGOGUE
We woke up early and walked the old town.
One of our first stops was The GREAT Synagogue. Absolutely hands-down on the prettiest synagogues I have visited in Europe and the second largest. You will need to make a small donation and men MUST wear a yarmulke. Also, they will give you a booklet to walk around and the hallways are a memorial to the Jewish lives lost during WWII. This once vast community was all but destroyed during the war. It was heartbreaking and incredibly moving walking in somber silence through the very old worship hall.
The Square of the Republic ~ next we walked down to this town square where the old vintage trucks, armed vehicles, and motorcycles were on display. They were protected by dressed war veterans but they didn’t look that old so maybe they were re-enactors.
St. Bartholomew’s Church is in the heart of the square and they were setting up for tonight’s rock concert. Here they would be playing rock songs that were forbidden during the cold war but were smuggled in and played anyway. They play a lot of songs that I loved because well they are 80’s. So good tunes!
In addition to many historical sites you will want to stop at the Thank You Memorial on the main street in Pilsen. It was amazing and I took LOTs of photos.
If you look up Pilsen in Google you’ll find most of the tourism comes from beer. If you’ve already guessed it, you win a ribbon. Pilsen is where Pils comes from, recognize it? Well, done.
WALKING THE STREETS OF PILSEN
Before the evening music concert we needed to make our way to the Patton Memorial and then off to the Pilsen Urguell Brewery and museum for tour and lunch. The restaurant at the museum was very tasty and your tour ticket includes 2 tastings, so gitty up. Jon was thrilled.
After lunch and full bellies we decided to walk the town. Pilsen has several beautiful parks to sit and enjoy a cafe or aperitif so we headed to the main city park and enjoyed some May sunshine.
After a rest we made our way to back to Republic Square for the Open Air music concert and grab a bite to eat. We met a few friends who visit every year and enjoyed a great evening celebrating with the crowd.
Sunday ~ Parade time
Sunday was parade day – you will want to get your spot early. CONVOY begins at 11:00 and for a more complete schedule for 2019 CLICK HERE! Here are a few photos and I’ll have a YouTube VLOG coming out soon to pair with this! If you get to go this year, I hope you really enjoy it, if not, put a pin in it for a future TRIP while you are here, it is definitely worth a trip.
- Additionally, remember the Czech Republic is in the EU but uses Koruna, has its own own currency.
- Finally, You will need a vignette before crossing the border for your car – €12.50 for 10 days
- 4.5 to 5 hour drive from Stuttgart
- Remember to bring YOUR PASSPORT
- Meals are inexpensive
- Other spots to visit not too far away in Czech Republic that are awesome!
EVERY trip does not have to be an over-the-top adventure, fly here, land there, tour, tour, tour. We didn’t have to fly anywhere or have luggage issues and we certainly didn’t spend a fortune. The souvenirs we collected were in our hearts. I am so glad we decided to be a part of this weekend of life, liberty and celebration.
It’s always an adventure when you ©Travel with Wendy!
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