I’ve had a strange name ever since I was born. Usually, I don’t think about being called Merlin unless I’m introducing myself, which can be an uncomfortable experience. In the US it prompts a lot of jokes, which – of course – make me unendingly happy. Over here it’s just another foreign name, which is refreshing. We’ve seen it a lot in the Czech Republic, though, making me curious.
Excuse the glare and the reflection in the picture; this was the first “Merlin” sighting of the trip (other than Leroy Merlin, a popular furniture store franchise, and Dino Merlin, a Bosnian singer who was competing on the Eurovision song contest), and we didn’t think much of it. Playing at a left-bank theater in Prague (with a disturbing looking lead), the show seemed unappealing. Apparently, it's a production of a 1981 play by Tankred Dorst, a German Playwright. The full title is "Merlin or The Wasteland." The drama, apparently, is about Merlin, the son of the devil, who becomes a secret stage manager and commits many bloody acts.
We saw this hostel in Cesky Krumlov. It still seemed like a coincidence, and not worth much energy beyond what it took to laugh about it and snap a picture. Recently, it came to light that there is also Hotel Merlin and Guest House Merlin, both located in Prague. Furthermore, there's a Merlin Irish Bar in the capital, which I wish had been brought to my attention earlier.
But there’s a beer, too, which really took me by surprise. It’s a dark beer with a bitter taste and was only served in bottles, which the bartender seemed to think was somewhat offensive. The “černy” designation simply means that the brew is dark, as opposed to the normal “pivo,” which means beer in Czech and generally refers to pilsners. The brewery is in Protivin, in southern Bohemia. I was unjustifiably proud that the product had received decent reviews on ratebeer.com, a website that I'd never heard of before.
The back of the bottle reads (this is a translation): "Merlin is cooked according to a special recipe. Three kinds of malt, roasted barley, spring water and a magic combination creates strong bitter taste, reminiscent of the stout, which was appreciated by a true connoisseur."