Liz Ryan once said to me that everything has a cost. You can do what you like but be prepared to pay for it. I now know what she means. By the middle of last week in the Czech Republic I was good for nothing. Don’t get me wrong, we had a fantastic time, I laughed like I haven’t laughed in years and I loved every minute. But the combination of next-to-no sleep, travelling constantly and copious, and I mean copious, amounts of beer took their toll. Tuesday was the day that truly floored me. We went to Budweis, we checked into a hotel and went to Budvarka; the best place to drink Budvar in the town. We went into Budvarka intending to have a spot of lunch and a couple of pints before going to the Budweiser Budvar brewery (do not confuse with the pale imitation lager made in the USA) and sat there until closing time. How we laughed. Edward and I have always adopted the policy of never let the facts get in the way of a good story and we compared the stories we have regaled to others about our Interrail trip 25 years ago. Our respective versions were so wildly different, we had difficulty working out who had the truer story and, in some cases, indeed, if there was any truth at all in the stories. They are good stories, however.
Wednesday we went to Brno, a large town in the south of the country. The journey was 5 hours and I was knackered by the time we got there. Obviously, we stayed in the local brewery. Once we checked in we decided to abandon the trip to Stramberk on Thursday and spend 2 nights in Brno. The first night we stumbled across a cellar pub (they are very much into the cellar pubs in the Czech Republic), where we were greeted by a Knights Templar who jabbered at us in Czech and then made us sit down at a table filled with people who did not want us to sit beside them and promptly served me with a pint of meat beer, which, not surprisingly, was beer brewed with meat. It was pretty rank but, I drank it anyway.
Not knowing any Irish songs,once the singing started, Edward and I gave a rendition of the “Flower of Scotland” and left.
Thursday was an experience. We went to a Gun Club and fired a 9mm Glock and an AK47 rifle at paper targets. By and large, the paper came off worst. We were posting messages on Facebook all week and Edward won the prize with this little ditty:
“Hire of a lane in a firing range = CR200.
Hire of an AK47 = CR250.
Ammunition = CR100.
Watching the Czech Gun Instructor’s face as Bryn lifts the loaded rifle with his righthand = priceless.”
I did laugh at that.
The last couple of days brought home the Czech attitude to our “Drink Responsibly” campaign. The first incident involved a gentleman who was fast asleep in a Night Club as we walked in. He was sprawled in a bar stool, arms hanging over the sides, head slumped on his chest. The barman was trying to wake him up. “That is the last we will see of him”, I thought. Not 5 minutes later he staggers past with a full bottle of wine and what looked like a vodka and coke. Absolutely superb. He then proceeded to stand in the middle of the dance floor, with the drinks down by his sides and his head hanging, for all the world, fast asleep once more.
Friday we returned to Prague. The journey to Praque had been uneventful other than the arrival of a passenger with a chain saw. A normal turn of events in the Czech Republic it seems, as nobody batted an eyelid.
I was shot to bits and could not even have a beer at the Brewery we were staying in. It was gone 8pm before I had my first drink of the day but then a couple of vokas and red bulls soon sorted me out. In the evening we went to a Pilsner Unique Bar, a chain of pubs around the Czech Republic where there are beer fonts on every table, allowing you to pour your own beer and it keeps a tally of how much you have drunk. It also keeps a tally of how much the table has drank. There is a league table shown on the big screen showing you which table has drunk the most. This becomes a competition. However, it is not a competition just inside the pub, it is a competition across the Czech Republic. All the Pilsner Unique Bars are linked together so you can see which table in the entire Czech Republic is drinking the most beer.
The Czech’s approach to beer is very healthy. They consider it water. The beer is pure and lovely, although I felt jaded and tired all week, I did not have a single hangover.
Saturday was quite sad. I had a fantastic week and after a few quick pints in the city centre, I headed home with Eddie. We laughed all the way to the Airport which was a great finish.