21 October 2009

Ahhhhhh Beeeer. Our trip to Eastern Europe certainly brought us into contact with a lot of different tasty beers. We never like to do anything excessively but we somehow managed to drink a lot of beer, even when trying not to. We sampled different beers from different countries and they were all good. When we were in the mountains we planned to be fit and healthy but with the weather we ate and drank and drank some more to pass the time in our windy, rainy refuge.

We managed Gambrinus in Prague, Pilsner Urquel, Budweiser Budvar (Czech not US), Zlatarog, Bernards, Regent, Zlaty Bazant, Velt, Corgon, Staro Brno, Ottakringer, Zipher, Stiegl and Goeser. There were probably a few others too but we may have forgotten them all. Many locals could be seen having there breakfast beers at 9-10am but we made sure we waited till at least 12pm for our lunch beer.

In Slovakia in the mountains we even discovered the fancy? 1.5litre plastic bottles of beer - happy times.


Gambrinus in Prague old town square - mid choke on large sausage chunk


An unknown lovely in Kutna Hora.


Bernards in Cesky Krumlov - Corinne staring lovingly into her amber swirls


Bernard Pivo - The Dark was good too.


Could be a Bernard or a Regent Dark, Cesky Krumlov


Budweiser Budvar made up the road in Ceske Budejovice



Budweiser dark - a tasty treat on a cold day


Corinne knocking back her 14th beer for the morning


Zlaty Bazant - a good Slovak beer, Bratislava.


Corinne delighting in the 1.5litre plastic bottle of Staro Brno - a hoppy, cheaky little drop.


Probably the same emotions as finding the Rosetta stone or discovering Australia.

The Tatras get snow and wind

The weather in the Tatras got worse and worse. The start of the week was foggy, then rain, then wind then snow and wind and a bit more wind. By the time we left the ground was covered in snow and we could not see the mountains, a big change from the 24 degrees and sunny on the first day.




No more mountains to be seen


On a rare 6km walk in between villages, a roll of soft fragrant paper and a thick leafy forest always come in handy.


Finally at the train station a bit wet but happy



We visited another village - Strebske Pleso, nice lake in the mountains but cold and wet again.



The snow begins to settle at our apartment


A rare view of the snowy mountain


More snow


Last day before leaving, proper snow on the ground, about 5 cm.


15 October 2009

The Slovakian High Tatras

One again we are sitting on a train, this time from poprad to Vienna. There is an ongoing snow storm going on outside and all the ground is covered with snow. The storm started on Tuesday morning while we were in the Mountains staying in Stary Smokovec.

Stary is situated at 985m above sea level so we thought we could get some cool weather but when we arrived on Wednesday last week it was 24 Celsius and sunny. On Thursday we went for our first hike, a beautiful day with mostly sun. We hiked from Stary Smokovec up to Hrebionok, then across the mountains and up to Sliesky Dom, a pass in the mountains with an alpine tarn or lake. We then hiked back to Stary - 12kms all up. We were quite happy with ourselves as it was a long hike and we climbed about 800 metres vertically too. This was the first real exercise we had done in about a year so we felt good about it.

Next day ready to conquer the mountains found us walking through rainy fog, seeing about 20 metres ahead. We did a wet walk from Stary to Tetranska Lomnica along the path by the road. We walked another 12kms there and back but it is not quite so satisfying when you can’t see anything and its wet. We did have a nice warm meal in a little Restaurace by the train station in Tetranska.

The next day we were really getting sick of the crap weather. it was now foggy and raining properly. I had resigned myself to staying in all day when corinne decided we should walk to Strebske Pleso, 16kms away. I like a challenge so we went for it and we got wet, real wet.

As soon as we went outside the slovakian rain gods laughed and slowly ramped up the weather. We made it to one village and decided to catch the train to Strebske. While we waited for the non coming train the weather fined up and so we continued our walk. We walked into Nova Polianka with rain pelting down and decided to definitely wait for the train which took about an hour to come.

The rest of our week has been spent watching satellite tv and using the internet which we have in our unit luckily. We had planned for the week to be a good outdoor session, be a bit more healthy etc and instead we sat on the couch or bed and ate and drank ourselves through the long rainy days.


One of the path markers on the trees


Our village of Stary Smokovec from about 1500mtres.


Corinne looking bushed






Sliesky Dom - lake in a mountain pass, we had lunch here, quite pleasant, freezing water - 1800mtres.




One of the major sign markers showing the various routes.

13 October 2009

Blizzard in the Tatras

We have had bad weather all week in the Slovakian High Tatras. This morning at about 3 am the wind started to blow. It has not stopped since and when we woke up this morning there was sleet and snow blowing about. Now at 430pm the snow is settling on the ground and the wind is getting stronger.

2 trees have blown over, our satellite TV has broken (the dish has probably blown away) and we are stuck inside with nothing to do but blog, drink beer and eat pierogies.



We just got some new pics of part of the roof of our chalet, which is now imbedded in the ground by our window. You can see the roof tile neatly dug into the ground, this would cause a major head ache for a human.

We also just talked tot the owner of our place and he is very concerned because the winds are getting up to 100km/hr, similar to what they were in 2004 when half the forest in the High Tatras was blown over in one afternoon (by the Tatranska Bora).

8 October 2009


Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. Previously called Pressburg and Pozsony. Bratislava was an important part of the Austro-hungarina empire. Maria Teresa was crowned king on Hungary in 1740 in Saint Martins Cathedral when Bratislava was called Pressburg.

We caught a nightmare bus from Cesky Krumlov starting at 530am getting into Ceske Budejovice at 640am, then catching the 645am bus to Bratislava. The bus did not look like an international bus, high sides, toilet, plush seats etc. Instead the bus was just a local bus that drove for 5 hours to another country. Our bus driver was a sleazy mullet man who banned people from sitting in the front seats unless they were his mates or good looking young girls. We were screamed at when we did not want to get out on the outskirts of Bratislava because he thought we should get out there. He was a monumental prick in the end and everyone was happy to be rid of him in Bratislava.

Bratislava was part of Communist Czechoslovakia from 1948 - 1989. It really shows.

Communism has effected a ,ot of the countries corinne and i have visited. Between us we have been to Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia and Croatia. Out of all these countries Slovakia seems to be the worst outwardly effected (of what we have seen). Bratislava is an amazing mix of beautiful old town that has been half cleaned up, half painted, half restored. The banks of the Danube are nice in spots but deserted and scrappy in other parts. The occupants of Bratislava actually seem to be very Western, wearing funky clothes and looking happy and well off. They actually look the most Western European of all the countried mentioned above, they also have the Euro in their pockets.

The rest of Bratislava which will be in later blogs is the same. Hints of beauty, cool buildings, beautiful countryside but all a bit let down by half assed architecture, ruined deserted buildings, crumbling roads and no signs or organisation.

We still really enjoyed Bratislava, we hit the streets, the cafes and walked around the park - with the most women with prams you have ever seen.


The Danube - a big river connecting a few big cities in Europe


The Novy Most (new bridge or UFO bridge) A bit of a touchy subject for the Brats.


Brat Castle quite impressive up on the hill, renovated 46 times and currently being renovated again.


Another day ending for the Bridge


War of the Worlds - no doubt


Not another one of the bridge, a display of the wonderful outer suburbs where the unfortunate plebs live in their multi coloured concrete shit blocks - ahhh communism.


Corinne - She sees dead people


Some classy buildings in the main square - Bratislava is definitely in the Asian Lonely planet as a place to come.


Another great door - the pigeons know a good door when they see one


A relaxing leafy pedestrian street that leads from the Novy Most to the National Theatre


The National Theatre.

Cesky Krumlov

After we left Prague we caught a train and a bus to Cesky Krumlov, about 3 hours south of Prague. We caught the train to Ceske Budejovice where Budweiser Budvar beer is made. This is the original beer before the US tried to sell dirty water under the same name. Cesky K is a Unesco world heritage listed place and is a small and really beautiful town situated on a bend of the Vltava river - the same big fella that flows through Prague. The lace is pretty small but has a great Castle on a high cliff above the town and another St Vitus’s Church in the centre of town and a few other towers, spires etc. The Vltava also looks gret flowing through town.

We spent three nights there and stayed at Hospoda NaLouzi which was a nice spot. We were close to everything, our room was cute, we had a breakfast each day and the building was about 800 years old. They even made us a sandwich with night before we left because they new we were leaving at 530am.

We spent our time visiting the castle, churches, spires and shops, we also spent a lot of time eating and drinking around town but mostly at a few little Restaurace’s along the river. We had a few drinks and some vegie food at Laibon sitting about 50cm from the water but we spent more time next door where they had meat and beer at U dwau MaryĆ­ (the two Marys’). The Owners and staff at both places were fantastic and the views superb. We were given hot water bottles and blankets at night when it was cold!


One of the towers of the Castle with some heavy weather in the back.


The Castle from the Bridge



A tower and spire in the main square



A very happy Bear? in the bear pit of the moat of the Castle


Corinne drinking again, along the river, at the two mary’s i think


View from the Castle of the town


An amazing pic we got of a butterfly in the Castle gardens - so colourful


Sitting by the lake in the Castle gardens


This could be a Regent or Bernards Dark beer by the River




Another great restaurant with grilled meaty food - Krcma v Satlavske, in the japanese guide books most definitely - drinking a Budweiser I think.