Late last Wednesday evening I messaged Craggy about the upcoming trip to see high flying Blansko up in Bystrice, a pleasant little town in the Czech Moravian Highlands about 60km north of Brno.
The conversation when something like this –
“Looking forward to Saturday?”
“YES” (capital letters indicate enthusiasm)
“Do you want the good news or the bad news?”
“Good news first, please”
“There’s a brewery”
“What’s the bad news?”
“It’s on a farm called “Eden” and it costs 90kc to get in”
“90 KC!!! We are not paying that!!” (exclamation marks indicate anger)
” Yeah, no way!”
Fast forward to Saturday morning and after a wonderful train journey ,we find ourselves outside Eden with 90kc in our hand…Luckily for our wallets, the place was locked up, not because it was early in the morning (9.30 am), but because the brewery doesn’t open until May and even then it is only open at weekends. You won’t be surprised to learn that the brewery has an average score of 1 star (max 5) on my Android app…mostly from disgruntled customers complaining about the opening time and the entrance fee..
We were far from unhappy though, we were excited. Away trips are one of the greatest things ever created, up there with beer, klobasa and David Juran.
A huge plus to these trips at the moment is Blansko have been unbeaten for absolutely ages, we are writing absolutely ages as we haven’t quite done our research and established our last “nul points”…Back in October in Hodonin, we believe.
With Eden not quite ready for visitors we rolled down the hill from the train station towards the ground. In 2014, the lane to Bystrice was just like any lane, but not any more..it is now called “The Magical Fairy tale Alley” and is lined with wooden statues of characters from Czech fairy tales on the left and rope bridges on the right.. Craggy couldn’t contain his excitement and skipped off to try them…all.
Rope bridges successfully conquered and we found ourselves in the ground and queuing for beer..
As mentioned in previous posts, the welcome from the people of Blansko is so lovely. This time some of the old generation that has travelled up on the coach with the players (something we have to do for the blog) came up to us and enquired to how and why we were following Blansko…
“Boys, where are you from? You are not from Blansko..Are you from Brno?”
“No, I am from Wales and he’s from England”
“From Wales and what are you doing in Brno? Studying?”
Now, as somebody who finished his studies a long time ago, this was indeed a compliment..unless, he just thinks we act like 20 year olds…come to think of it.. it’s probably that.
As we made our way round to main stand Next up was Sasa, the clubs long-standing physio/goalkeeping coach – greeting us with big handshake and a smile, before telling us that 10.30am was far too early for a game of football and that he was suffering from an evening in the pub. We know how you feel, Sasa, we know how you feel…
Finally, we got to the stand and our final “dobry den” was to Pavel, our drummer, who was tuning up..
By the time we had put the flag up, the players were out and acknowledging the supporters with the little wave they do before each game. We started well, attacking with purpose and carving out opportunity after opportunity, but without really troubling the goalkeeper..
Things were so quiet at the other end that our number one, David Juran, could have sat with us for the first half hour….I can’t remember a single shot that he had to stop.. And with the game edging towards half-time, we thought we’d beat the queue and grab a local beer before the break..As we queued, Bystrice attacked and won a corner..as we ordered the beer, Bystrice smashed the Blansko post and just as we got out beer and with the final attack of the first half, the home side scored – cheers.
The second half followed the same pattern as the first, we attacked, they defended, but you could just tell that it wasn’t going to be our day. We could have played until it got dark and we still wouldn’t have scored..post, crossbar all hit as pushed for an equaliser..I am not even sure their keeper used his hands in the second half. We lost 1-0, a game we should have won..
We headed into the centre of the town to try and find the pub we’d visited on our previous and just like the Bystrice goal (and the brewery) it was difficult to find a way in ( does that make any sense) – so we headed to a local cafe for a pint of Harrachov, but with Craggy on a strict time schedule, we spent most of that time looking at the time..
“I am not sure we’ll make it, we mighty have to run” I pointed out.
A gentle jog, turned into a run and by the time we got to the foot of the hill (who puts a train station on top of a steep hill) we were sprinting…
Halfway up “Fairytale hill” – Craggy was a good ten metres ahead of me and it was looking like he would travelling back to Brno without me, but like any fairytale it has a happy ending and …er… I made it with seconds to spare…..