The Czech’s Richly Deserved (Beer) Reputation

After spending close on 10 days in the Czech Republic, I know understand why it enjoys the beer reputation that it does. Beers sell for EUR1 at bars and as cheap as 40c at the shops and if you’re a beer fan like myself, I’d definitely recommend both the Budvar brewery at Cesky Budejovice & the Pilsner Urquell brewery at Plzen.

While both were brilliant, I preferred the Budvar brewery simply because it was smaller and felt less commercialized. The Pilsner brewery did, however, have a beer vending machine in the info center while the town itself had a pub where you pour your own beers with a scoreboard recording how many beers tables were drinking!

On my 2nd night at the hostel in the beautiful town of Ceske Krumlov in southern Czech, I had my first introduction to playing a digaredoo! I had met Anna and Bee (two Kiwi girls) as well as the Aussie Jess on the train into the town the day before and at the hostel we met another Aussie Matt, an Aussie, and a Japanese guy, whom we nicknamed Mr. Miagi. At some point during the evening, I suspect after wine bottle # 5, Mr Miagi pulls out his didgeridoo & proceeds to teach us the basics. What followed was an awesome evening of trying to play this blooming difficult instrument while for good measure balancing a pineapple on one’s head – as you do!

After a few days in the south of Czech, I made my way to Prague, which was mayhem. We stayed at a wonderful hostel that had its won bar and as expected, it was a large week. Hostel bars are the best place to meet people and you never quite know where nights will end up; suffice to say we were out until sunrise the entire week. I didn’t see much of the city for the first few days – I had good intentions on my 1st day in town and attempted to do a walking tour. About 1 hour in, however, it starts to pour and just as it does I see a sign for the largest Irish pub in Prague. So I have 2 choices – walk in the rain or head to the Irish pub to watch rugby and drink cheap, good beer. You guessed it – the pub won convincingly!I did make it out, though, on my 2nd last day in town. The weather came good too and Sven (so nicknamed during one drinking game because he’s a Swede) and I spent the afternoon wandering about. It was a fantastic day out and the city really grew on me – for some reason I wasn’t that excited about Prague, perhaps because I’d heard so much about it, but that day changed my views and I now appreciate why people rave about it.  I also managed to catch an ice hockey game while in town, tagging along with a Canadian I met at the hostel.
The beautiful John Lennon wall
The beautiful John Lennon wall


From Prague I made my way to Hamburg for the weekend to catch up with Ann, whom I’d met in Budapest. The city is awash with hole-in-the-wall bars, pubs and clubs & the music scene is awesome. On Friday we saw three bands at two separate bars while Saturday we headed to a techno party. While we left the club around 8am, we continued our own party at Mirja’s house and I left round 6pm only to catch my bus back to Berlin. Ann also showed me round brilliantly & I was surprised by the beauty of parts of the city. It is very cosmopolitan and vibrant & feels in some sense like Berlin on a far smaller scale. Great city and a phenomenal weekend.

The Fab Four 'Memorial' in Hamburg
The Fab Four ‘Memorial’ in Hamburg

I’m writing this from Famous Grouse country (Paisley to be precise), having arrived in Glasgow earlier today. Mike & Katy (family friends) live in Paisley, 15 mins from Glasgow, and I’m looking forward to the week in Scotland. Not to mention a visit to the home of Famous Grouse and then Murrayfield on the weekend to watch the Spirnboks.

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