It didn’t take long to leave the city behind and for the trail to start climbing, taking me my past Střekov castle, into the beautiful suburb of Brná and then into the woods. Save for a couple of (fortunately) short sections, the slope wasn’t too steep, it was the sort of gradient that gradually saps your energy, especially when you can’t keep a steady pace due to rocks, roots and other minor obstacles. Another problem was that the trail was not very well marked in some parts and more than once I lost the way and had to retrace my steps, until I missed a turn right before the village of Sebuzín, which I didn’t realise until after kilometre or so downhill section. After weighing my options, I said fuck it and had the Mapy.cz app draw me a new route. It would be a couple of kilometres longer, but with a gentler slope, apparently.
The walk was as brutal as I expected given my shape, and there were several moments when I questioned the wisdom of the endeavour, but the sights and the utter peace that surrounded me more than made up for it. When I reached the highest point, I found a resting site and I spent a good while just admiring the view of the České Středohoří and feeling very well about myself. From then on, the way will be mostly downhill and I had already cover about two thirds of the distance.
The trail took me to the village of Hlinná, a few kilometres outside Litoměřice. It was not in my plans, but I saw a pub and couldn’t resist it. There was nothing in this world that I wanted more than a beer at that moment and that Gambrinus was delicious! The second one, that is, I barely registered the first one. I could have easily stayed, the weather was lovely, I was having a friendly chat with the waitress and the beer tasted as fine as any cold beer in a sunny afternoon after a long hard walk can taste, but I rejected the temptation of a third pint, because I felt it could easily lead to a sixth and that would not be the best idea.
It took me less than an hour to cover the last 5 km. I checked-in at the B&B, took a long shower and rested a bit; just a few minutes, I didn’t want to fall asleep, I wanted to go out and paint the town red, or at least have a few beers.
Once my feet felt like walking again, I took an indirect route around the town’s main square to Minipivovar Labuť. I had been there in 2012 with Hanz from Zlý Časy and Gazza Prescott during a quick stopover on our way back from brewing the first batch of Gypsy Porter at Pivovar Kocour. The garden, fortunately, was unchanged, just as beautiful as I remembered it. I ordered the house’s 10%, it was competent, the sort of beer that I wouldn’t go out of my way to look for, but wouldn’t mind coming across; I only wished it was better tapped in a chilled glass. As I sipped it, realised I was starving, but they only serve beer snacks and I needed something more substantial than utopenec or hermoš, so I left in search of it, just when the locals were arriving and the atmosphere was getting lively. Fortunately, I knew that Biskupský pivovar U sv. Štěpána runs a restaurant and was only a few hundred metres away.
The garden was packed – I’m sure it’d be a great place if it wasn’t next to a very busy road – so I went inside, surprised to realise I was the only client in there. The room is modern in that impersonal, inexpensive-but-not-cheap chain-restaurant kind of way, with lots straight lines and beige. For a pub that operates in what is basically a religious building, I was expecting something else, don’t know what, really, but certainly not a rip-off of Potrefená Husa.
The waitress came to take my order as soon as my ass touched the chair – I love that of Czech pubs. They didn’t have desítka, so I went for the house’s 11 instead. Now, this is a solid beer, I told myself, a bit like a craftsman who will do the job well but can’t be arsed with any flourish, and I could say the same about the burger. I wish I could also praise the other two beers they had on tap: Štěpán 12° and a polotmavá 13°, and it’s so frustrating! I believe both could be ranked among the fine specimens of their respective styles if they didn’t fuck with them at the end of the line with the juggling at the tap. You know what I mean perhaps, the beer comes out with too much foam, the pour some of it in another glass, which they try to fill, only for the process to be repeated until they get enough beer in one of the glasses, and the other one is usually left sitting there until the next order. Isn’t there anyone in that brewing company that could prevent that from happening? Don’t they realise the damage it does to their product? Do they care?
I was still in a good mood, I was feeling fine and I think I smiled all the way to my bed. I went to sleep knowing that there would be more beer the next day.
(to be continued…)
Hlinná 89, Hlinná
+420 727 831 787
Tue-Wed: 17-22, Vie: 17-24, Sat: 14-24, Sun: 14-20
Zítkova 784/5, Litoměřice - Předměstí
+420 416 534 837 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Sun-Mon: 11-22, Tue-Thu: 11-23, Fri-Sat: 11-24
Komenského 748/4, Litoměřice - Předměstí
+420 703 379 302 – email@example.com
Mon-Thu, Sun: 11-22, Fri-Sat: 11-23