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
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.
|The hike starts here|
|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)
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.
|Úňa 10°. A great way to start|
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.
|U Lasíků closed, as expected|
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.
|Tíché údolí awaits me|
It's easy to get lost in your thoughts here. I take photos almost automatically, I wonder how many will be of any use.
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.
|Colourful 'shrooms by the creek|
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.
|A guy fishing in the forest|
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.
|Zvířátka, also closed|
|One of those gorgeous houses|
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.
|Another gorgeous house, and garden|
I wasn't wrong, and they have Rychtář, a much better beer. The place is totally empty, though. That's never a good sign.
|Looks nice, but Stella? I pass|
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)
|Rychtář is next door|
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.
|Looks much better than it tasted|
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.
|Another closed place by the ferry|
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.
|The ferry arrives|
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.
|And the Captain|
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”.
|First watering station on the right bank|
(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|
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.
|A photo of a pussy (sorry, couldn't help it)|
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).
|Second watering station, now with Svijany|
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.
|Better than expected|
|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)
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.
|Not too shabby for a pint, init?|
|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|
the shoes back on and don't have to walk long to get to the next bar,
and a very nice one, actually.
|For all those with a foot fetish|
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.
|Nice looking watering station with Únětice and Regent|
travelled between beers: 0.2 km)
the last leg of the hike that takes me along the zoo and Troja
Palace, and the bridge to my destination.
|And the most adorable tapster ever|
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.
|Château Troja and garden|
|Staropramen place by the bridge|
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.
travelled between beers: 1.9 km)
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.
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
|Konrad at a riding hall|
(Distance travelled between beers: 0.4 km)
almost opposite is the riding school with the bar that sells
Ferdinand, which I hope will be able to take away the taste.
|Worst shit ever!|
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.
|Ferdinand at a riding school|
(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.
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.
|This place is new, I think|
(Distance travelled between beers: 0.9 km)
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.
|Kozel from a freshly tapped keg and some lovely klobása|
|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|
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!
Very Good Reading. Walking through Stromovka. Lost Count of Times. I Have Done it. Liked Restaurace Vozovna. Had no Pivo there though. Really Liked Restaurant Prazen. Plus the Pivo,s Great. Will still go there. Though will miss the Hokej. Sparta moving to the O2 Arena. Not Looking Forward to that. At all !.ReplyDelete
Good read that!ReplyDelete
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.ReplyDelete
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.
...and 100-200km through some pretty rough and waterless country.ReplyDelete
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.
Que Grosso.... I have not done one of those days in yeeears...ReplyDelete
Enjoyed reading it! I love this kind of walks.ReplyDelete