Kroměříž – It’s hard to say

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A trip to the picturesque town of Kroměříž promised two firsts for the Blansko Klobasa: a debut away trip for new Klobasa Michal, and our first game with our own fully segregated away end. Words alone can not begin to describe the excitement.

 

We all met at Brno’s main station, and after some impressive steeplechase by the in-form Wingy, we were happily on our way, drying some essential laundry in the train window.

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A small incident between a lorry and a bridge threatened to derail our journey, but we made our way to Kojetin by bus (see our post about last time we survived Kojetin) and then finally caught our one-carriage shuttle to Kroměříž.

Kroměříž is simply beautiful, and the glaring sunlight of the day made the colourful buildings of the city’s main square seem almost iridescent. The city has much to offer the traveler, from its packed streets exiting the square to the UNESCO listed baroque castle and gardens. Importantly, the city is awash with interesting pubs, including the microbrewery Cerny Orel, which provided us with our first stop of the day, and a much sought after beer. The beer was very good, but after weighing up the prices of the food we thought it best left to the Austrian tourists. We tried Radniční sklípek for food, most of us opting for various kinds of schnitzels, and washed it down with a pint of Maximilian from the local brewery – both proving winners all round.

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It’s fair to say that the Klobasa love a bit of culture, and so of course the castle gardens were high on our list  of “must-sees”. We managed to make it a short way in before we saw a pub garden sitting nicely in the shade, with one free table left and enough space for about four people. Not choosing to contradict fate we sat down with another local beer, the “McHugo”, and watched an endless procession of weddings being tossed out of the castle quicker than Pavel the Blansko drummer turns out football songs.

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It wasn’t long before it was time to head to the ground. As we’ve already mentioned, we were looking forward to camping out in the away end of the SK Hanácká Slavia Kroměříž stadium, seeing as we have never had the opportunity of an away end before. However, Pavel the drummer had been pretty down on the idea from the start and now that the day had finally arrived he was firmly digging his heels in. Maybe the space wasn’t right for his drum, or maybe he just felt out of his comfort zone, but whatever the case we ended up capitulating and staying with him in the main stand.

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SK Hanácká Slavia Kroměříž have a great ground, and with a disappointing turn out from the home fans we had a lot of space to make ourselves heard. Maybe the heat had got to the players but the game had 0-0 written all over it early on, with barely any chances from either team in the first half aside from a free header for David Muller. This was due in part to some good defensive displays, with new centre back Pisek, arriving in the summer from Ivancice, putting in a particularly strong performance. Blansko were also missing Pospisil, who was injured, and Koudelka who was busy winning a bronze medal with The Czech Republic in the Soccer Sixes European Championships. The second half played out much the same with Honza Minx(y) failing to convert a one on one with the keeper before the game finished goalless. Not the best of games, but a point away from home is worth having at any rate, and that means two away games without conceding a goal, which is great.

We finished the day with a swift beer in a pub close to the stadium, before making our way back to the train and on through the darkening Moravian countryside towards our respective homes.

Man of the Match goes to Standa Pisek for his super display at the back.

Man of the Day goes to Michal for is superman display, saving babies’ hats and carrying luggage for ladies of all ages. (Although he’s not coming again if he’s going to make the rest of us look bad)

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Toppled By Tisnov

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There is not much that can bring you back early from a holiday in East Slovakia and a cup game at Tisnov is also not one of them, but I was back late on Saturday evening after a few days away across the border and as Tisnov is a hop, skip and a beer away from Brno, it was an easy decision to stroll down for a midday train to a town , nicely situated at the foot of the Czech-Moravian highlands.

A host for the day was our good friend and proud Tisnovak, Michal who had promised us good beer and good company..

To give you a bit of  background to the homeside, AFK Tisnov were promoted from 6th tier of Czech football and the newboys of the South Moravian Regional League have big ambitions. In 2015/16 they were FK Blansko’s farm team and we shared the talents (and beer belly) of Petr Svancara, Franta Kuldan and Mohomed Traore, all contributing to our success on the field. The club have  plans for a new stadium and to turn their current ground into a training centre. For the coming season they have signed Franta Schneider (another ex Blansko player)  and a few former Brno youngsters. Leading the good ship of Tisnov is Jiri Hajsky, who, as I am sure you’ve probably already guessed …. is a former Blansko manager and played in Zbrojovka’s title winning side of 1978. He’s assembled a very useful team which walked away with the league title last season.

To calm the nerves (okay to kill time), Michal took us to a pub serving the locally brewed Kvetnice beer (we have since been told there are two breweries in the town). If you are ever in area, we highly recommend you visit Restaurace Sklep to sample a beer or two and when you are there we advise you to look up… just look up.

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As with every trip, we try and fit in a visit to a brewery and this was no different, after a swift pint, we were back on the train and travelling 20 minutes up the track to the small town of Doubravnik (not to be confused with Dubrovnik), home to a beer of the same name and a pint with a great reputation in our region, and possibly the rest of the country too. Now, usually with these places, we wait for Craggy’s seal of apporoval and it wasn’t long in coming. “You know what? I could live here”. Once you hear those words, you know you are in a place of beauty or he’s seen a pub.

It was indeed a lovely town, situated in a valley with wooded hills surrounding, it was also deadly quiet..so quiet in fact that there were very few people about and this included the owner of the local brewery, it was closed up and there was nobody home. Who closes a brewery on a Sunday?  Who?

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There was a back-up plan, well not exactly a plan, but we’d noticed three things in the town – a statue, a fire station and a pub, so in true Blansko Klobasa style we headed straight to U Sedlacka for a slightly different gulas and finally a pint of the local brew. And even the barman seemed to be pretending the brewery didn’t actually exist….

The gulas was the perfect pre-match meal and the was everything we dreamed of and although Doubravnik had hosted us well (we’ll forget about the brewery incident), it was time to catch the train back to Tisnov for the game.

It’s a crying shame that the cup isn’t taken so seriously, but for teams like Blansko and Tisnov it’s a chance to test their skills against better teams, so it was lovely to see that there was a healthy crowd gathering.  For us it was an opportunity to see some of our new signings and to have a closer look at how our new squad was shaping up for the coming season in the MSFL.

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We very rarely describe the match in detail, but with this being Tisnov’s debut in the Czech Cup, we’ll try and recall as much as we can.

In the 2nd minute, Blansko showed their attacking intentions, Kratochvil put new signing Jan Minx through on goal, but he pushed the ball just past the post. In the 11th minute, the home side attacked for the first time and with it brought the first goal of the game. Some shenanigans in the box forced the referee to point the penalty spot.  We believe it was captain Kolacek who fouled former Blansko striker Ladislav Hansl, but we are not quite sure. Anyhow, Hansl stepped up and calmly slotted home and put Tisnov one goal up.

Jan “Minxy” Minx (add a “y” to the surname to create nickname) was beginning to take a hold of the game and created a chance for himself in 21st minute, but couldn’t quite find the finish to match the run. In 29th minute, he again was at the centre of things and created a chance which Kratochvil gobbled up to bring Blansko level and this was the score at half-time.

At the beginning of the second half, Tisnov sent on their ace, Mohammed Traore. We’d seen him turn out once for Blansko (a match winning performance away at Rosice) and knew immediately that we had a game on our hands. In the 48th minute, he created a chance for himself which thankfully our 16yr old keeper equal to…….After a rather dominant display in the first half, Blansko were looking on the ropes and it was Traore again who was in the thick of the action. In the 52nd minute he tricked his way to the byline before pulling the ball back for Tomas Zdrazil to put the home team in front for the second time.

Cometh the 57th minute, cometh the man.. which basically means Honza, Honza time.. Kratochvil setting up local hero Honza Trtilek to smash home an equaliser from the edge of the box. We love that guy.

Blansko then created three very good chances, new signings Kutal and Motycka going close before Honza again had a chance to put Blansko in front, but shot just past the post.

In the 77th minute, we had a great chance to win the game and I am not too sure why we didn’t take the lead, we suddenly found ourselves with four attackers  bearing down on the Tisnov goal. – but somehow overran the ball when it seemed earlier to score.

Extra-time saw Tisnov gain the upper hand with the impressive Traore pulling the strings all over the park , creating some great chances to win the game, but found Zdenek Vesely in fine form in the Blansko goal. 2-2 it ended.

The penalty shoot out brought joy for Tisnov, with both Minx and Splichal missing in a 9-8 shoot out and although disappointed not to be progressing to the next round, we headed back to pub convinced there were better things to come from this new-look Blansko team.

M.O.M – Jan Minx

Attendance : 330

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Because Gyor Gorgeous

 

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“Hello and welcome to fun and relax, my name is Beatka and I will be servicing you on your journey”.

Hello, Beatka.

“Fun and Relax” was not quite what we were expecting once onboard the 7.30 morning bus from Brno to Gyor, a town on the Hungarian/Slovakian border, and when she added politely to us that there may be no beers available we were starting to wonder just how this trip was going to pan out. However, after a quick discussion with the driver she did indeed find two cans of Gambrinus, much to the driver’s disappointment I imagine.

A trip to Hungary is pretty straightforward from Brno, so after arriving in Gyor within a mere three hours we headed past the Belgian pub (which we would make an unwise stop in later) and in to the enchanting, historic town centre. We were planning on pacing ourselves on this trip, which is why we waited until 10.30 to have our second drink, and as we always make an effort to blend in with the local culture we were keen to try a local beer. Cue our first pub = specialising in Czech and German beers. An accident maybe, but we were lucky that they were actually selling a local micro-brew (more on that later) which went down nicely.

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What do you think of when you hear the name Hungary? Well, we thought of goulash. So off we went in search of steamer, Westy Hajo, sitting serenely on the banks of the Danube (Ralph’s favourite river, by the way) and tucked in to pint of Borsodi and a fine goulash in a bread bowl which I broke my teeth on. Following this success Ralph scored another by passing the polyglot challenge and asking for the bill in Hungarian, which apparently becomes easier after three beers. Firing on all cylinders, we set off in to the unknown (well, Gyirmót) in search of new breweries and football.

Goulash

Gyirmót is suburb of Gyor, but the train delivered us to a sparse, flat landscape presenting a barren area at odds with the charm of the centre of the city . We alighted the train on to a stark and lonely platform, with the road running across us far in to either direction. A pizzeria and a track side pub sat on either side, surrounded by a clamour of houses. On one of these streets is purported to be a brewery. The brewery, we hoped, that had provided us with our first beer in Gyor.

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The brewery  is supposedly situated in someone’s back garden, and sure enough when we arrived at the address there was nothing more than a standard residential home with no beers signs and an empty driveway, signalling that the owners had found something better to do on a cold Saturday than serve us. Disappointed, we headed back to the pub beside the tracks, Csanaki Fészek, and interrupted a children’s birthday party. Sitting quietly and dodging pink balloons, we swiftly finished off our beers. Whether or not they had ever heard an English voice in there before it was hard to tell, but one thing we could say is that we were enjoying a warm welcome everywhere we went.

One notable thing about Gyirmót – there are a lot of dogs, and they are huge and waiting to kill. From every direction massive dogs barked and howled at us from every garden of this sprawling residential maze. Some were trying to tear through fences, whilst one had even laid a trap by placing a football within kicking distance of his kennel. Even Ralph, who can never resist the urge to kick a stray football, dared not go any closer. It was pure madness. Nevertheless, we survived the gauntlet and made it to the game between Gyirmót FC and Kisvarda Master Good.

Gyirmot snacks

Gyirmót FC sit at the top of the second league and are obviously being financially well supported, as you can see the name of the sponsors plastered all over the newly redeveloped stadium. The stadium is modern and big – maybe too big for Gyirmót FC as one of the side stands was completely empty. But this team has big plans it seems, so maybe the empty stands are sitting pretty, waiting for the big league. Tonight though, it is cold, and the atmosphere in the stands is an odd one. The crowd has a strangely large number of young children in it, as if on some school trip. And it is them that are doing all the singing. Whether the singing is anything to do with the football or not we have no idea, but it looked a lot more fun in the away end, where a small group of Kisvarda fans were making a racket in the smaller, but classic stands. The football on offer was less than good, matching the quality of the beer. The schnitzel burger was pretty good though.

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Back in Gyor we had a few minutes to kill before heading to Sopron, so nipped in to the Royal Belgian Beer Cafe and Restaurant. Stumbling upon our second birthday party of the trip we were greeted by a waitress who could barely conceal her contempt at our lack of a reservation as she called “Hallo” repeatedly after a bewildered Ralph who had dared to walk further than the  welcome mat. Her disappointment was cemented after discovering we would only be drinking, and a Hungarian lager at that. We were placed, neglected, at the bar and forced to stare at the glass cleaning facilities. As we left she she attempted to show interest and asked us where we were from. Before I could answer, Ralph referred solely to himself and said, “Wales”. “Ah Wales”, she replied, “Guinness!” … I laughed, we left.

A 30 minute train journey away, Sopron, although no less beautiful, is a little smaller than Gyor and provides less in the way of evening entertainment. The friendly staff at our (rather posh) hotel, Pannonia, directed us to an English-style pub for dinner, where we ingested more than should be allowed and set of in search of a more lively hole to spend the evening in. After some walking with little luck, we ended the evening warmly in a busy Croatian pub where the barmaid amused herself with our attempts at the Hungarian language.

Hungarian food

The weather over the whole weekend was beautiful and we took full advantage of it by exploring the city the next day, grabbing a beer in the morning sunshine after a fulfilling hotel breakfast of cheese and sausages. We dodged armies of tourists and even took a couple of photos for them, but our offers of our own personal tour were turned down. We had a quick look a the FC Sopron stadium, watched a bit of training then headed back to Gyor for a couple more beers before our bus back to Brno, ending putting the full stop on an excellent trip to north west Hungary. Next stop, Rosice – for the the first Blansko away game of the season.

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Our Ten Favourite Pubs in Brno 2015

Where are we?

A common question from friends and followers of our blog has been – “What’s your favourite pub in Brno?” or even in the Czech Republic, so we have decided to spend the winter break reviewing our top ten pubs in Brno and hopefully it will provoke a response from the Brnaci, who will tell us that we are wrong. We hope so, as we are always happy to try a new pub out.

So, here you are and please, you are more than welcome to recommend pubs in Brno, Moravia, The Czech Republic and Central Europe.

U Míče – Stankova

A clear favourite of ours. Sits nicely opposite our place of work and serves up the perfect Policka for under 30kc. Quite often the waiters will bring round fresh beer snacks to accompany your pivo. Try the niva balls…

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Bláhovka – Gorkeho

It’s probably the most famous of all pubs in Brno and has a bit of a cult standing amongst the Brnaci. Most of the time it’s standing room only inside and outside…even when the temperature is -20 outside.


Starobrno Brewery – Mendlovo Namesti

Starobrno isn’t the most popular beer in the world, but it’s our beer, so we like it. The autumn and winter months see us propping up the bar in the old part. The summer sees the courtyard packed with locals from morning till night. Serves great food and has a great atmosphere in the summer. Often a popular place to go before heading to watch Kometa Brno.


Pomalý Bar – Uvoz

Sitting conveniently between the abodes of two of the Blansko Klobasa, the appropriately named “Slow Bar” can be found relaxing at the foot of the road to Spilberk Castle. The warm and familiar atmosphere inside this smokey pub make it a great place to sit in the late hours. The pickled cheese with olives is definitely worth a go too.

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Cafe Laundry – Lidická

Another smokey, basement pub and this time with both Policka and Poutnik on tap. The cheese balls are top quality too. It is about 5 steps away from the beautiful Luzanky Park, which ensures there always dogs hanging out in Cafe Laundry. Lots of dogs.


U Dvou přátel – Tábor

One of the more recent additions to the Blansko Klobasa’s favourite pub list, U Dvou přátel is worth a visit for many reasons. Aside from the welcoming atmosphere and friendly staff, the pub has an excellent range of beers, complimented by a superb selection of beer snacks. To top it all you can often hear good music, not only from the stereo but also from the occasional live acoustic show.

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Zastávka – Uvoz

A great establishment which happens to be right on my doorstep. Opened in 2015 and offers a good range of beer from different breweries. I recommend the Mazak 11 degree and getting there around 9.00pm when they offer you a freshly made “carbac” to go with your drink.

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U průmyslovky – Jana Uhra

Although U průmyslovky is not a place for those who prefer more glamorous establishments, there is something grand about this pub with its old large hall and high ceilings. Often sought out by the Klobasa at the end of a long winter’s evening, U průmyslovky is a welcoming watering hole that always feels something like home. Now with the added bonus of Policka on tap.


Zubatá žába
Jungmannova

A fairly new one for us, the “Goofy Frog” is tucked away in Kralove Pole and is the “sister” of U Mice, so it gets our vote. Policka on tap, so you can’t go wrong.

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Na Božence – B. Němcové

Not too far from the home of Zbrojovka Brno, na Bozence is not only popular with the football crowd. Poutnik on tap at a fraction of the price of bars in the centre. You can’t go wrong with a beer and nakladany hermilin. We have also heard the klobasa is one of the best in Brno.

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Pivnice U Čápa – Obilní trh

Good food, great service and a lovely beer garden, we’ve put U Capa in for the welcome. Always a smile and nod of recognition when we pop in on our way home from a game. Finishing the night with a hruska cap has become a bit of a tradition for us.

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So there you have it, our personal top 10 for 2015. See you at the bar.