Singing the Reds – Walking to Blansko

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I received a message from Ralph a few days before the game against Třebíč, asking if I was up for walking the 20km from Brno to Blansko?  The weather forecast looked good so we decided on it and gave ourselves around 6 hours to get there – accounting for pub stops along the way. Setting off from Obřany at around 8 in the morning, we opened our first bottle of Policka half way to Bilovice. The sun was shining, the Klobasa were singing, and the trip via Bilovice and Babice, alongside the river was perfect. At some point we lost the tracks and found ourselves walking for miles along a busy country road, risking death at almost every turn. The things we do for Blansko! Anyway, needless to say (after a pub stop in Adamov) we arrived in one piece and met Wingy, who will now give us the low down on all things Blansko. (This trip has been videod and will be “vlogged” soon. So stay tuned for a white-knuckle ride including near-death experiences and roadside fishermen casting rods for porn stars…)

Here is Wingy:

The Klobasa are big fans of the team shirt, even to the extent of buying our own. So when we arrived at Udolni for the game with third-placed Třebíč, we saw to our horror that Blansko had a completely new kit – red with a black chevron. WHAT?? You can’t do that to us! As it turned out, it may have put the hex on Blansko too.

The Koruna bar near the Blansko město station (a.k.a. ‚Kugler’s pub, as the former Blansko boss, currently doing very well indeed at Rosice, is the owner) is becoming established as the pre-match pub of choice for the Klobasa, but unfortunately we didn‘t make it this time round, due to meeting up with a friend before the game. And maybe this also contributed to the eventual outcome of the game (I am not usually superstitious – except for football!) And when we arrived and saw the shirt-change we knew that something was going wrong that day.

The first half didn’t have much to commend it from Blansko’s point of view, apart from one effort that bounced off the bar, and a couple of other half chances. It was a good half for Třebíč though, as they hit us with almost identical sucker-punch breakaway goals on 10 and 34 minutes. The second half was very different as Blansko pretty much dominated, and it was no big surprise when Jajub Splíchal toe-poked one back from about three yards out. The rest of the game Blansko pressed hard, with impressive performances by sub Kutal and the welcome return oif TKB favourite Jan Koudelka, but we just couldn’t make that breakthrough and snatch an equaliser.

So this was actually a decent performance, and an entertaining game, with a lot of hope for improvement. Definitely needed though, as we’ve now lost all three of our home games, and we face Zlín’s B team next at home. Watch this space.

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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.

Pomaly Bar

 

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.

Policka – Our Spiritual Home

On the tracks

On the tracks

Now, the name Blansko may adorn the title of this blog but regular readers may well be aware that the heart of the Klobasa remains firmly in Policka. It’s not that we don’t love Blansko, but the town of the best beer in the Czech Republic offers much which resonates soundly with our soul. So, when a free weekend arose and I asked Ralph if he fancied a trip, his first suggestion was naturally the one I had secretly been hoping for.

Our chances of the perfect trip were almost dashed as early as Brno train station. I arrived to find Ralph lost among the masses who were unexpectedly filling up the station to crisis point. Many suggestions were offered up as why it was so crazy, but apparently there had been a bomb scare. Whatever the case, it was going to take more than explosives to keep the Klobasa out of Policka, and soon enough we were sprinting towards our train, tickets and dreams in our hands.

Policka offers much to the seasoned traveller, but before any of that we went where the travellers most definitely don’t go – Pivnice Nadrazni. Maybe it is the smokey atmosphere, maybe it is the Jawa motorbikes strapped to the walls, maybe it is the fact that the waitress wanted to bring us a new beer every time we were halfway down our current one, that attracts us there. Or maybe, just maybe, it is because a pint of Policka costs 14kc. I don’t know, but I do know we disappointed the waitress when we refused the third offering. “Already?” she said. It was 11 in the morning.

The town

The town

Feeling adventurous we sank our next Policka in the Medieval-themed pub Herešova Krčma. We supped our ales and slurped our garlic soup surrounded by the walls of the great hall, feeling mightily royal in the presence of the impressive bar. I don’t usually go for novelty pubs but in Policka everything just works. Between here and the football stadium was just one more stop – the local brewery pub. We entered the smokey, wood-panelled darkness and were greeted like old friends. Well, Ralph was anyway. He and the barman got involved in some serious Czech premier league football talk in a language I can barely understand as I smoked cigarettes and drank a 17kc Policka before we headed on to witness football in the lower Czech leagues.

The greatest thing about the Policka football ground is, well, the Policka. This opinion was only strengthened by watching 2×45 minutes of woeful football, which gifted it’s first goal in the 88th minute just as we were already on the way out and heading towards the Jawa pub for a swift half, once again disappointing the waitress who was walking towards our table to two fresh beers. Unfortunately, we had a train to catch.

Policka

Policka

 

 

 

A Bridge too Zdar for FK Blansko

The Blansko Klobasa

The Blansko Klobasa

I should begin by telling you about the best goal I have ever seen live and before anybody says it,no it wasn’t scored by Gareth Bale… It was scored by a player by the name of Lukas Zelnicek of FC Moravsky Krumlov, a team sitting mid-table in the 5th tier of Czech Football.

After a Saturday afternoon of enjoying a day of sunshine at the Starobrno brewery, we took tram number 1 from Mendlovo Namesti to the home of Dosta Bystrc for a late afternoon game of football. Now, it must be said that most of the game passed us by as we sat in the club beer garden, but in the 59th minute the whole stadium rose to applaud a pure moment of magic from the away team’s centre midfielder.

Lukas Zelnicek picked up the ball in the centre circle, sidestepped the oncoming Bystrc player before looking up and hitting a shot from near on 60 yards which sailed of the goalkeeper (a Slovak U19 international) and into the net. It was a wonderful bit of skill and I doubt anybody recorded it, so we will never see it again. Just brilliant and I had to share it.

Sunday morning, the usual meeting place for the slow train to Zdar nad Sasavou, a small town in the Czech-Moravian highlands, famous for cross country skiing and the Unesco site of Zelena Hora. Of course, we were going there, not to see the sights or to ski, but to watch our first Blansko away game of the Spring season.

Zdar square

Zdar square

First stop (after a cashpoint) was a pub we knew from our previous visit to the town. With it being a stones through from the train station and beer a very reasonable 17kc, we felt it rude not go and say hello.

It was empty apart from one local, propping up the bar. As we sat at exactly the same table we had done a few months earlier, the man told us not to sit there as it was reserved for regulars. Not wanting to upset the people of Zdar, we moved to the next table, only to be told the same thing. Beginning to feel that TBK were not welcome and contemplating trying to find a place with a friendlier atmosphere, we were pointed in the direction of a table that could be ours and beers were ordered…Now, I’d recently read a report where two thirds of Czechs had admitted to being afraid of foreigners…but I never expected to see it in a pub in a small town in Vysocina. Of course, I jest.

On the way to the ground, we found a relatively nice restaurant doing a fine pork gulas, washed it down with a lovely Rychtar (note to self – must visit the brewery) and made the short walk to the game taking in Zelena Hora as we got closer to the stadium.

Pork gulas

Pork gulas

Zdar’s ground is one of the better at this level. A stand running all the way alongside the pitch with some terracing behind the goal and a club bar, which is where we found the majority of the Blansko support.

Greeted like long lost friends by the physio and the drummer, we ordered our beers and went to take our seats in the stand, only once again to be moved further along, but this time from a friendly face as Pavel needed to find more room for the drum. Once a suitable space was found, it wasn’t before he was belting out the first song of the day.

Zdar

Zdar

Like Pavel, Blansko started the game promisingly, with both Dolezal and Trtilek looking dangerous on the break and Zdar not really causing any problems. The first chance fell to our centre back, David Muller, who put his header wide of the post when it seemed easier to score. Had that gone in, I am fairly sure we would have gone on to win the game quite easily, but all our good work in keeping the home side quiet was undone by an uncharacteristic error from goalkeeper David Juran. Midway through the first half, the ball was played back to him for a routine kick up field. Juran played the ball straight to a Zdar player for him to square the ball for an easy tap in. 1-0 Zdar. Noticeably, players’ heads dropped and not even Pavel could lift them with his melodic drumbeats.

Pavel - the FK Blansko drummer

Pavel – the FK Blansko drummer

Halftime brought its own entertainment as we turned our attentions to the bar. On our way round to the bar for a half-time pint and klobasa (no klobasa), the Zdar subs were warming up by attempting to ping balls into an empty goal. I pointed out to Craggy that there was a reason why they were on the bench and not on the pitch; all attempts at goal went flying anywhere, but the back of the net. Anyway, beer bought, we made our way back to the not-so-grand stand, dodging flying footballs as we walked. Well, at least I was. Craggy on the other hand… well, he was a few steps behind me, so I only saw the aftermath. As he passed the goal, so did another size 5 Adidas, which crashed straight into his beer, knocking it out of his hand and onto the floor. The player offered an apology twice and seemed unsurprised by his actions. Perhaps, this is a regular occurrence in Zdar, but it was the first time it had happened to us. As funny as it was, I was surprised to find that the player doesn’t carry a bag of 20kc in his tracksuit bottoms.

Michal Kugler, back in charge for a second spell, must have tried to rally the troops at half-time as the Blansko team were back on the field looking a bit more confident than they had 15 minutes earlier.

No Klobasa no Party

No Klobasa no Party

Honza, Honza, Honza was back flicking the ball in the direction of his teammates, Honza Dolezal was beginning to find some joy down the right and just like the start of first half, it was Blansko who looked more likely to grab the goal. Except, except we were lacking one thing. A player in the box to get on the end of the crosses. It once again showed how important Honza Koudelka (there are a lot of Honza’s in Moravia) was to the side last season. Since he moved onto bigger and better things (now playing for Prostejov in MSFL and looking to play higher) we have lacked a player of any pace at all.

So, you won’t be surprised to read that after spending a great deal of the half knocking balls into an empty box, Zdar went straight up the other end and bagged their second to seal the match.

As the final whistle blew, we said our goodbyes to the Blansko ultra (it used to be plural), had a shot of hruskovice and even found time for Craggy to spill his second beer of the day.

A bridge too Zdar indeed.

Hruskovice

Hruskovice