Things have been quiet, very quiet at TBK recently, some of us have been travelling Europe, some of us have been rocking all over the world and Wingy has been put on permanent gardening duty at his house high above Udolni.
But this Saturday, we took the Klobasa abroad for the first time and headed across the border to Slovakia to see if high flying MFK Skalica could keep up their fine form at the top of Slovak 2nd league with a win against FK Pohronie.
A few days leading up to our departure, friends had tried to persuade us against the trip, “There’s nothing to do there”, …but little did they know we had already been swayed by Michal, a Slovak friend of mine, who sold it to me with a tale of a local drink made out of beet. The story goes that the region has always been poor and that many years ago they would use anything to make their spirits. While studying at university, one of his flatmates brought a bottle of “repa” back to the university halls in Bratislava, proudly announcing that this was a local shot made in Skalica and unheard of outside of the area. Let’s just say it didn’t go down well, yeah it didn’t go down. When I mentioned this to Craggy, he immediately stated that he wanted to try it and the trip was confirmed.
With that idea firmly in the minds of TBK, we planned our day in Slovakia. With the help of the internet , we had discovered that a new brewery had recently opened in Holic, a neighbouring town, and in our wisdom we decided to pen an email to the owner to ask he could show us around and tell us a bit more about the Wywar brewery. A few days later, he replied saying that this wasn’t possible as there was a “celebration of beer’ in town and would we like to go there instead. Well, how could we refuse.
The main station was unusually busy for a Saturday morning and most of the passengers were on platform 1 waiting for the 10.22 to Budapest, our train. Rather the stand for the entire journey we took our places in the restaurant carriage and ordered a couple of bottles of Gambrinus. (Ed – this is to become a regular occurrence on trips. Ed again – when possible). Half an hour later and most of the train disembarked at Breclav to see the impressive steam trains that Czech Railways had let out for the day. We must say that they did look mightily impressive and had we not had more pressing matters would have joined most of South Moravia on platform 5. We instead began to talk about our first stop (after Kuty) ,which was the Wywar Brewery in Holic.
It has to be said that Holic is not the most beautiful town in the region,apparently it was famous in 1700s for The Holitsch Factory which produced ceramic fruits for aristocrats in Western Europe (Please don’t quote me on this..), but this is all we could find out. We would have asked a local, but the first we came across asked us if we had 2 euros to pay for her entry to the “Celebration of Beer”. I probably would have given her the money if she hadn’t followed up her question with .. “You must have, two Euros, I heard you speaking English”
So, onto the brewery, although not without having a chuckle at acronym of the national bus company in Slovakia….SAD… and judging by the people standing waiting for a bus, you probably have to be a bit unhappy to get on one..
“SAD bus to Skalica, please”…
“There’s isn’t one today..” …
“Well, have you got a happy bus?”
“Yeah, but it will cost you 20euro”
Anyway, the brewery takes it’s name from the original name for Holic and is in a modern building on outskirts of the town… That’s about all we had time to find out as SAD buses don’t run regularly at weekends, they are probably out partying.. so it gave us an hour to taste a couple of 11-degree beers and head back to the station to catch the train to Skalica and onto the game of the day.
As I mentioned earlier, MFK Skalica have had a great start to the season and are in with a chance of playing top flight football next season if they continue their current run. The team play in a multi-purpose stadium,you know one of those grounds you really don’t like visiting. So, not being too keen on trying out the local track, we headed to a couple of bars en route to the ground before deciding it was time we bought a couple of tickets and took our place in the VIP section of the ground, well not quite VIP, but a bench next to the bar. That will do.
Straight from the kick off, the home side in green attacked with purpose and it wasn’t long before they were pinging balls into the box and testing the Pohronie goalkeeper, who spent most of his time stopping shots and shouting at his defence..He picked the ball out the net twice.. I missed the first goal and Craggy the second .. probably the goalie did too. As we sipped our Starobrnos and chatted about the upcoming trips we noticed that two shots of alcohol had appeared next to us and there were now a couple sat on our bench and eager to catch our attention.. The wife was dressed head to toe in Burberry and the husband looked like a slightly overweight Neville Southall and in broken English with a few words of Spanish thrown in told us that this was his wife’s first game and that he used to play for Inter Bratislava, this was in-between telling us we were “Stuuppiid” for spending 2 euros on the game and that Real Madrid were much better than MFK Skalica…the modern football fan, hey..
At the end of the game, we declined to join them in a celebratory borovicka and made a sharp exit in the direction of the town centre and found a bar which seemed to have been monopolised by junior members of Skalica’s Vanilla Ice Fan Club..Unfortunately for us, there was a spare table, so we bit the bullet and ordered a couple of beers.
Fast forward a couple of hours and having spent an enjoyable couple of hours in the town, we find ourselves propping up the bar at Kuty Train Station waiting for our final connection home.
“Two beers and a borovicka, prosim” Craggy asked the barmaid.
She kindly poured us a couple of large Zlaty Bazant and instead of bringing us a glass of the borovicka, she brought us a bottle…