KV isn’t just famous for being a gorgeous little spa retreat for monied Europeans. Oh no. It’s been in the movies as well! Anyone who’s seen Casino Royale would have drooled over the actual casino. Turns out that the casino is Grandhotel Papp, right here in KV! I was in luck! James Bond would be mine! Well, I went to see the hotel and even went in and climbed all the stairs but alas, I could find neither James or even Daniel for that matter. This just can’t be! Well fine. So be it. Who needs an international man of mystery anyway, right??!?! Er…..
KV is also a great example of, “there’s just no accounting for taste” and that money can’t necessarily buy it. Let’s just say that there’s a lot of what you might call Russian influence here. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination. I don’t mean to be harsh, but you know where I’m going, don’t you?! Exhibit A……the jewellery on offer. It costs a small fortune but looks like something that you’d pick up at the dollar shop. Each to his own, I guess.
I spent the morning exploring the wooded hills amongst which KV is nestled. From my hotel window, I had spotted towers and gazebos high up on the cliff. And you know how impossible it is for me to resist a climb. They were just sitting there, beckoning me to explore. And with the temperature over 30C (I know! Real, proper Summer temps!), it was nice to be under the cooling trees. There were plenty of paths to choose from, so I just randomly picked ones that I thought would lead me to my goals. And even though I’m a professional compass user now (having used it for one full day walking in Surrey!!), I didn’t pull it out once. Well ok….once. Just to find out that I was heading in a direction of 60!
I exited the woods just away from the spa area, but it was obvious that this was where the more wealthy reside. Secluded around the corner away from the common peasants. I found a couple of hotels that shall be considered for the next visit!
It was time to see the main shopping street, which is great for people watching and what better place than a little spa town in central Europe to attract such an eclectic mix of human specimens. There was also a bike race or triathlon today, so I may not have fun James Bond, but there were plenty of athletic male forms upon which to gaze and wile away the time. No complaints. Next it was time for tea, grab my suitcase and off to find my bus back to Prague.
Two and a half hours later and most of Dirty Dancing watched (they were playing it on the bus but stopped just before Baby and Johnny were about to do the last dance! Sacrilege!!), and I was back in the Czech capital. My next hotel was close and yes, fairly dodgy, but of a standard perhaps one star above my first Prague experience. By now it was 20:30, so no time to waste as there was a chocolate factory waiting to be visited! And not forgetting you, dear reader, I retained some chocolate trivia which may pique your interest. Did you know that the sugar cube was a Czech invention? One Jakub Krystof Rad invented it for his wife and it was patented on 23/01/1843. Also, did you know that solid chocolate only came into being during the 1800s? From 2000BC-1500AD, chocolate was used to make a spicy drink with Oaxaca nuns in Mexico adding sugar to make it sweet in 1500. Cheeky nuns. This lead to cacao drinks becoming ever so popular in mass, but the comings and goings of the slaves bringing drinks to the Spanish congregation was disruptive, so the drink was banned from mass. The bishop who implemented the ban was murdered by having poison put in his own cacao drink. Don’t mess with chocolate addicts!! One last fact that I’ll leave you with is the raised ring in the saucer. It was added by the Marquis de Mancera in the 17th century so that you wouldn’t spill your hot chocolate when you stirred it or dunked your biscuits. So there you go!