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Beer Hike

My wife and daughter are on holidays in Greece. They left on Monday last week, and I've been alone since; I couldn't join them because of passport issues.

I worked most of the time until Thursday (field-work for the book and writing two chapters, and some translations) and I took Friday off. I wanted to do something I'd been thinking of for a while, a hike from Únětice to Stromovka, stopping at every place that sold beer along the way.

Here you have the day's diary, and a lot of photos.

I take the 10:18 bus to Černý Vůl. The hike starts there, with a walk, mostly in the woods, to Únětice
The hike starts here
It's not 11 yet when arrive at the brewery. The pub's still closed. I go around to make a couple of pics. The building with the renovated façade looks fantastic.
They've done a good job restoring the facade
I break my fast with a house's 10º. It's followed by a 12º and lunch, pork in a creamy mushroom sauce, with knedlíky. Carbs and protein, that should work.
(Distance travelled till the first beer, 2 km)
Úňa 10°. A great way to start
I get on my way to Roztoky. I walk past the Municipal House. What have they done with? I get to U Lasíků. It doesn't open until 3. I don't mind. Lunch was big enough, and I would hate having to pass on one of their home-made pies. 
U Lasíků closed, as expected
I leave the last houses behind and get excited. I walked Tyché údolí four years ago, and I've been wanting to do it again ever since.
Tíché údolí awaits me
It's as beautiful as I remember it. Hardly any sounds other than my feet crushing the gravel and the creek flowing on my left. And I have it all to myself.
It's easy to get lost in your thoughts here. I take photos almost automatically, I wonder how many will be of any use.
Colourful 'shrooms by the creek
I see more people as I get closer to Roztoky. And some parts are more landscaped. It's still so pretty. So incredible for me that a place like this can be literally a few minutes away from the centre of a European capital.
A guy fishing in the forest
A couple of ruins tell me I'm in Roztoky already, and I soon reach Hospůdka Zvířátka, which is also closed. I expected some places wouldn't have opened so early on a weekday, but I wanted to avoid the weekend crowds and the cyclists—some of them can be as wankers as the worst BMW driver—and so far it has worked well; there'll be other places to drink.
Zvířátka, also closed
The houses here are indeed gorgeous. Even those that are in dire need of renovations have a touch of grandeur and dignity that I doubt many modern, comparable mansions can ever achieve.
One of those gorgeous houses
Abandoned books
Another gorgeous house, and garden
I see a restaurant with a nice looking garden, and the logo of Stella Artois. I have an irrational hate for that brand, and seeing it is enough to make me want to go somewhere else. I also know there's another place around the corner, next door.
Looks nice, but Stella? I pass
I wasn't wrong, and they have Rychtář, a much better beer. The place is totally empty, though. That's never a good sign.
Rychtář is next door
The beer looks good in the glass, but it doesn't taste so. It must be that hated trubkáč. It gets better by the end, but the damage's been done.
(Distance travelled between beers, 4.5 Km)
Looks much better than it tasted
The scenery on the way to ferry to Klecany isn't so inspiring any more, in fact, a part of it is really ugly. But it isn't too long, and when I reach the riverbank all is good again.
Another closed place by the ferry
I don't have to wait too long for the ferry. I'm lucky, it crosses the river every thirty minutes and I arrived a few minutes before 1.
The ferry arrives
Plenty of people. A whole family, two 11-12 y.o. boys, all with bikes, a bloke with a box full of cucumbers, and a lady with a scooter. It don't mind. I love crossing the river this way. It's almost a subversion of the modern rat race.  
And the Captain
There's a bar just by the “harbour”. Czechs are civilised. Plenty of people, too, but enough place to sit, even in the shade—it's getting warm already.
First watering station on the right bank
I order Gambáč. It takes forever. The barwoman is complaining the she's tapping only foam. That is never a good sign. The beer is awful, flat and with a weird taste, chemical. Almost undrinkable. I was expecting to get some dodgy beers on the way, but not this bad. But I get drawn into a conversation with a chatty, old geezer and a middle-aged couple of cyclists. We talk about the homeless, rat-sized dogs, tomatoes, and cats. I'm having such a good time that I drink without noticing. As the saying goes “better crap beer in good company, than good beer in crap company”.
(Distance travelled between beers, 1 km, not counting the ferry ride)
I say farewell to my new, ephemeral friends and continue my way. A bunch of cyclists and some roller skaters pass me by. It must be hell here at weekends. Doing it on a Friday was a good idea. The walk is still nice, I'm enjoying it. It suddenly doesn't feel so warm any more.  
It was much busier here
A photo of a pussy (sorry, couldn't help it)
I'm already in Zdiby, and I soon spot another bar. With Svijany. It used to be my favourite brand, but it has gone down recently. And the have Máz, the 11º, here. I never liked it, even with the brewery was at the top of its game.
Second watering station, now with Svijany
Turns out to be much better than I expected, especially considering the place, which looks a bit like a health hazard waiting to happen. It grows on me in the end, though.
(Distance travelled between beers, 1 km, roughly).
Better than expected
The scenery gets quite interesting, and I'm in a very good mood. I've no idea how long I'll have to walk till the next beer and I don't care. I don't even get too discouraged when I pass a very good looking, but closed bar by the ferry to Sedlec. I've had 5 pints already and I need to pace myself. Good that I've brought some water with me.
The road ahead
An abandoned factory
A closed watering station. Pity, it looked nice
Beautiful ironwork on this gate
I reach U Sluníčka. It's a partly roofed terrace above the path, overlooking the river. It feels almost like in the Mediterranean. There's only one other client, a bloke drinking tea or coffee and reading the newspaper. I'm greeted by an old man, economical with his smiles, but who knows what he's doing the taps. He takes a glass from a sink with cold water and then does something I don't remember ever having seen before: he pours the first few ml in a small glass he had below the tap, and without closing the tap, he does the beer in one pour.
A pub at last
What a beauty! The glass says Podkovaň, the blackboard says Gambrinus. But here names are unimportant, what I have in my hand is a masterpiece. I resist the temptation to get another. I know it'll lead to several more.
(Distance travelled between beers, 3 km)
Not too shabby for a pint, init?
I grudgingly leave. I'm even relieved to see that Modrá Kotva is closed. I saw several signs advertising it along the way. But the place does not look good, at all.
Closed place. No worries, looked kinda crap
I get to another bar with Svijany. I looks fine, even if the view isn't so nice any more (with the exception of the hot girls rollerblading, of course). They have the 12º. I haven't drunk that in ages, and it used to be my go-to beer at home.
Another watering station with Svijany
It's far from that epiphanic beer I first drunk 10 years ago at that now disappeared pub in Letná, but not to the point of ruining the memory. It does the job.
(Distance travelled between beers: 1.2 km)
12º this time. Not bad, but not as good as back in the day
For all those with a foot fetish
I put the shoes back on and don't have to walk long to get to the next bar, and a very nice one, actually.
Nice looking watering station with Únětice and Regent
They won't have Únětická 12° as good as at the brewery, so I order Regent 10º, tapped by a little girl about my daughter's age. Not a bad pint. Clean, fresh.
(Distance travelled between beers: 0.2 km)
And the most adorable tapster ever
I start the last leg of the hike that takes me along the zoo and Troja Palace, and the bridge to my destination.
Château Troja and garden
At the feet of the footbridge I see a bar with Staropramen. There's nobody, only the server wanking a smartphone. I don't want to cheat and order a beer, just when my camera runs out of battery. ¡I'm a moron, I should've charged before leaving! I guess readers will have to make do with my mobile's potato quality.
Staropramen place by the bridge
Someone less rational than me would have taken that as a bad omen and would've carried on walking. The beer isn't good. Not as bad as that Gambrinus in Klecany, but a tad worse than the Rychtář in Roztoky. I manage to finish it because I'm quite thirsty.
(Distance travelled between beers: 1.9 km)
Barely drinkable
I cross the bridge and I realise that I am not in Stromovka yet, there's still another bridge. I'm in Císařský Ostrov. Too bad, I will have to drink more beer, and I'm getting closer to the riding hall with the bar that serves Konrad.
Konrad at a riding hall
For the love of Krishna! What the fuck is this! This beer's SHIT! (I should've ordered after coming back from the loo). The pint in Klecany could be blamed on technical problems with a pinch of notgivingafuckery. But this one. It takes determination to do something like this. This beer was fucked up with malice aforethought. Even if I had someone to chat with here, I'm not sure I would be able to drink it. And I don't I get up and leave it there. I don't think that even the wasps will bother with it. Fuck those people!
(Distance travelled between beers: 0.4 km)
Worst shit ever!
Fortunately, almost opposite is the riding school with the bar that sells Ferdinand, which I hope will be able to take away the taste.
Ferdinand at a riding school
I order a desítka and taste it as soon as I get it—I don't want any more surprises—it's good, pretty good. I take a seat at the only table in the shade that has a place. I share it with two, pretty cute young girls. One is German, the other from England, and have come by bike from Mělník. They tell me they noticed me walking before, which feels nice to my ego. They ask me if I know of any hostel not far and how to say a few things in Czech. I answer their questions and try to help them. But it's weird they don't write anything down. They have good memory, I guess. Whatever. The chat soon goes into other topics, and it reminds of many similar chats I had and many hostels in several countries when I travelled alone in my younger years; it does bring a little nostalgia. The girls leave, I wish them luck, finish my beer and now, at last, head towards Stromovka.
(Distance travelled between beers: 0,1 km)
This is much better
I cross the last bridge, and the underpass, and I'm in the park. Not as tired as I expected. For a moment I think of going straight to Dejvice, but I remember it'll be mostly uphill. I might not be as tired, but I won't be fucking around, either. I go to the left, to Výstaviště. I'll take the tram there, fuck it! But before I get there I come across a place I didn't know, Grill Park Výstaviště. I guess I'll have to see what is about.
This place is new, I think
The bloke in the food truck tells me I'll have to wait because he has to tap a new keg of Kozel. That's good news. The beer tastes good, and the bávorská klobása, heavenly (shit, I didn't know I was so hungry). I like this place, but I also remember there's another one in Výstaviště that I want to visit. There I go, for a last pint.
(Distance travelled between beers: 0.9 km)
Kozel from a freshly tapped keg and some lovely klobása
U Primasů opened a couple of months ago, I think, in one of the original buildings of the complex, which was empty for several years, but that from the beginning was a restaurant. It's very pretty, and the waitress is very friendly. I order a desítka from Lobeč and a fried cheese with potatoes.
The entrance to U Primasů
Zdeněk Polreich can go fuck himself on a pogo stick. Smažák is great pub grub when well done, and this one is fantastically done. Crunchy, dark gold crust, without a single drop of oil, and a chewy interior. Proper cheese, properly fried. And the beer is lovely, too. Every single drop of it.
(Distance travelled between beers: 0.4 km)
Lobeč 10°. A great cap
I would love to stay for another one. But I can't drink any more, I'm quite pissed already. I'm going home and will have a bath. Sod the world. Shit, what a day!

Na Zdraví!


  1. Good read that!

  2. Mate, I've been reading your blog for a few years now (plus that book you wrote with Alan). I've enjoyed it all immensely but this is the first one that has prompted me to comment.

    Great story, good pics and it sounds as though you have a pretty good life over there.

    I'm from a small country town in Australia and to attempt anything like this I'd be looking at 2-3 days and 100-200km through some pretty rough and waterless country.

    I went to Europe once but never made it to CZR, you've made me dead keen for a visit.

    Thanks for the entertainment and escapism.


  3. ...and 100-200km through some pretty rough and waterless country.
    With lots of small animals that want to kill you, I presume.... Sorry, couldn't help myself, mate. ;)

    Thanks for the comment. And yes, we have it very nice here. Far from perfect, but it could be a big lot worse.

  4. Que Grosso.... I have not done one of those days in yeeears...
    Salud Max

  5. Enjoyed reading it! I love this kind of walks.


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