The Best Laid Plans

Posted on April 23, 2013


One Dead Bike.

One Dead Bike.

Well, sometimes things go exactly as planned, and sometimes they don’t.

I’ve been out in Eastern Europe almost a week now, with my good buddy Eric Wiedemann. We’ve had a pretty spiffing time, as per expected. The first night saw the scummiest bar I’ve ever been to, the second saw a pub quiz and way too many shots. Night three was almost ruined by the presence of ten Londoners on a stag do (chumps), and night four was a quiet one improved by a new awesome Canadian and hockey. Night five saw more hockey and the summers first Becherovka, leading to aforementioned Canadian spewing, and night six was a very quiet one watching Spinal Tap and David Cross. Which brings us to day seven.

Poet’s Corner, the fantastic hostel that we’re staying at here in Olomouc (Czech Republic), rents bikes out to its guests. They only cost 100KC a day (£3.30). After a few days of doing pretty much nothing, myself and Eric concocted a plan that would see us rent these bikes, and go on something of a brewery tour. Czech is very famous for producing good beer, and microbreweries are ten a penny, so why not view a few in some little villages? After consulting a map, we settled on a plan. The plan was as follows…

1. Rent bikes.
2. Get a train from Olomouc to Prerov. Change trains.
3. Train from Prerov to Studenka. Change trains.
4. Train from Studenka to Stramberk.
5. Cycle to Brewery #1. Drink Pivo,
6. Cycle from Brewery #1 to Brewery #2 in Kopirvnice. Drink Pivo.
7. Cycle from Brewery #2 to Brewery #3 in Pribor. Drink pivo.
8. Trains home in reverse.

The best laid plans.

Despite having a horrific nights sleep, we got up early enough and sorted out the bikes. We then cycled down to the train station, purchased our tickets and a Peksnack and borded the train to Prerov. So far so good. We got off the train here, got onto our train to Studenka, headed there. So far, so good. It seemed that we might go on to miss our connection from Studenka to Stramberk, so we worried a little. However, on arrival in Studenka, we were reassured by our pleasant conductor that we had made the connection. The connection however, was not a train. No, it was a bus. So we clambered onto the bus, bikes with us, causing all manner of convenience for everyone aboard. So far, so good. The bus ride was a short one, and we rejoined our train on the way to Stramberk. We arrived there, got off the train, got our bikes off, glanced at a map and headed in the direction of the first brewery. Merely 10 metres into our journey, we encountered a problem.

My back tyre had practically exploded.

Well, to be technical, it had managed to wrap itself around the axel, and was completely useless. It was hanging off. The bike became totally unuseable, and our plans were in ruins. Ruins you say? No, oh no. The bikes were chained off, and we walked off in search of pivo in Stramberk. We arrived at our destination and sat down, still shaking our heads in disbelief at the utter ridiculousness of it all. Our moods improved considerably with the arrival of the days first pivo, brought to us by an absolutely adorable Czech. We ate there too, Eric having a soup and some pork face cheese, me going for a standard chicken. We ventured downstairs into the cellars, where we found a whole new bar, complete with ye olde brewing equipment. A fantastic little place, if you’re ever in Olomouc I totally recommend giving Stramberk a visit.

I can’t really say the same for the next places. We retrieved the dead bike, and boarded the train to Kopirvnice. We were somewhat excited by the news that this brewery was situated in the first floor of an old communist tower hotel. They are always hilarious. It took us a bit of searching to find, but we eventually located it. To our dismay, they were no longer selling the unique beers, merely going for Pilsner Urquell and Radegast. We went for the Urquell, cheersed and went off to drink. Except I managed to spill half of my pint. All over our table. Mishap numero dos. Good god.

We managed to escape from town 3, Pribor, without any sort of mishaps. You’ve never heard of Pribor, but you’ve definitely heard of its most famous citizen, the most famous chap born in the town. I didn’t realise this before we started researching the trip, but it is actually the birthtown of Sigmund Freud. Whaddayaknow?! Well, word had it that there was a pivo at the brewery called Freudopivo, so we had to try it. Except they didn’t sell it anymore, just Radegast. Jesus christ. We washed the Radegast down with a Becherovka (don’t ask), and continued to chuckle at the ridiculosness of it all. The fact that the town provided us with a healthy dose of Slavic Misery helped, without doubt. It was time to go home, and train pivos sounded like a wise move.

We negotiated the various trains and buses (complete with dead bike), and we eventually got to Prerov, the last change on our journey. We had no bottle opener, so we resorted to opening the beers somehow via the dead bike. Eric had actually opened the previous two pivos using a part of the bike repair kit, and good god had they made a noise, popping as if they had been bar bladed to hell. Being the idiot that I obviously am, I opened mine using the spoke. It was successfull, but it only managed to blast the bottle top at the lady sitting opposite and spurt out 50% of the pivo in the process. Ja sam Idiot.

That was, thankfully, the last mishap of the day. Well, so far anyway. To be honest, I’m 100% sure that we had a better day than we would have had if everything went according to plan. The beautiful thing about travelling is that when it all goes wrong, it often goes wrong in the best possible way. There has been no better tutor for laughing at mistakes than this. I’m going to pop out for a pivo or 2 in Vertigo shortly, Eric will join me if he awakes. Tomorrow we part, him for Villach and me for Bratislava. Slovaks, you’ve got a lot to live up to here.