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Party time in the Czech Republic

June 30th, 2014 (by Steve)

Whilst we both like a good party, we appreciate them most in moderation as we’ve only got limited energy for that kind of thing. This trip for us certainly isn’t about finding the best parties and “living it large”, however since we’ve crossed into the Czech Republic, we’ve been unable to avoid them. Maybe it’s just the season, or maybe the Czechs are just really into parties; after all, if figures from 2012 are still relevant, they “led all other nations in per-capita beer consumption for the 20th consecutive year”.

I’ve been to Prague a couple of times before and whilst it’s on our list of places to visit in the Czech Republic, we were keen to see a bit more of the country than just the typical tourist haunts. After turning down a couple of hitch-hikers at a service station outside Brno (they wanted to go to Prague), we headed to our planned campsite a little to the north of the city. Upon arrival though, we were to be disappointed. Our plan was to stay for two nights, however we were informed that due to a weekend death metal festival there, we’d only be able to stay for one and, even more disappointingly, the festival was sold out too. Plan B was put into action (we’re used to having to have multiple plans by now!) and we ended up at a lovely family-run campsite, with a huge (but very young) dog who insisted on playing with us. Ideal.

dog

The following morning we headed into Brno, still not quite sure how to pronounce it (apparently it’s more like “brrr no” than “bruno”), where we found a very pretty old town. After visiting the tourist information office and wandering around for half an hour, we came to the conclusion that aside from architecture, the main thing to do there is sit outside one of countless bars in the sunshine, sipping on cheap beer. In Freedom Square the local radio station had a stage with live music acts, but the visiting American singer wasn’t quite our cup of tea, so we resumed our wandering. Finding a random piano in a corner of a side street being played by a teenager with his arm is a cast was slightly more to our taste, especially when we twigged that the piece of music he was skilfully playing with beautiful arpeggios was in fact “Smells like teen spirit”. Genius. We were just coming to the end of our exploring when we heard an altogether more interesting sound from the live stage… we would probably categorise it as Folk Metal, but the band themselves use the term “Folk Rock”. Their captivating style (a fuse of metal vocals, folk violin, rock drumming and the happiest bass player in the universe) was enough to keep us in the square until the end of their set. We’ll forgive the fact that the lead singer was a former X Factor winner… now if only we can work out how to buy a CD from their website

brno

With our ears rejoicing from the great sounds, we caught the tram and bus back to our quiet campsite… which appeared to have been invaded by 30-40 inebriated teenagers. The cooking and eating of our dinner was accompanied by quite an entertaining show of typical teenage party melodrama, complete with clich├ęs such as beer pong and throwing each other into the pool. It slowly dawned on us though that we were sitting ducks in the middle of it all, so in a quieter moment, we moved Bertha out of the way… or so we thought. In fact the space behind our new position served as great cover for a heartbroken teen with his phone glued to his ear, others running away from a close encounter with shaving foam and a couple of girls who decided to change out of their wet clothes. All oblivious to the fact that this inanimate object (sorry Bertha) might actually have people living in it. Now we don’t know what the story behind this teenage party was, but when we came to pay the following morning, the campsite owner was incredibly apologetic and sheepish, explaining the events of the previous night as “a catastrophe” and charging us for one night only. We guess it might have been a case of “Mum, can I have a few friends over please?”. We’d certainly recommend this campsite though.

From Brno, our ideal option would have been to explore the Moravian Karst region; rural Czech Republic at its best with exciting caves, gorges and the like. However, once we started researching it properly, we read that to go to the caves you have to book weeks in advance as they’re so popular… it’s not really that kind of trip for us. We’re lucky if we know what we’re doing 5 days in advance. Instead we took a very scenic route to Svitavy where there was the promise of a free aire, complete with motorhome facilities. Ideal – a place where we could catch up on some sleep.

journey

Upon arrival, the car park was heaving and it was obvious from the placement of parked cars and vans that there was little regard for spaces reserved for motorhomes. We squeezed into a space and pondered our next move as we munched on some lunch. It soon became apparent that there was some sort of 5-a-side football tournament going on at the nearby stadium, so we decided to sit it out, wait until some of the cars cleared, then move into one of the motorhome spots where we could use the free electric hookup on offer. When it got to 7pm and there was no sign of movement we realised that our plan might not happen and soon our ears were ringing with a loud, repetitive “doof, doof, doof” (that’s meant to be a heavy bass beat). We had two options, either move on to… well, who knows or…

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Techno beats and football crowds aren’t normally a combination that attract us, but we actually quite enjoyed the evening at the stadium where there was a disco, a bucking bronco ride and World Cup games being shown on the big screen. The beer wasn’t bad either and at 20 CZK for half a litre it was both cheap and tasty. We were slightly bemused when we were handed little cans of promotional “Carling British Cider” (cherry flavoured – it tasted like cherryade) and if I were the letter-writing type, I would write to the British Embassy to ask them to rectify the situation. I come from Somerset. Enough said. Anyway, we retired at 11pm, expecting the revelry to finish imminently, but it wasn’t until 2am or 3am that it finally went quiet.

carlingcider

The football team who had camped next to us in the car park woke us up a mere 4 or 5 hours later, at 7am with another heavy bass beat and we realised that this would be a two day tournament. With no prospects of getting Bertha into the motorhome space any time soon, we instead chose to watch a few matches and cheer on our noisy neighbours.

football

And then it was all over. The car park was silent. We hopped into the motorhome space. And exhaled. Peace. If there’s one down side of this type of motorhoming, it’s the unfamiliarity of your surroundings. There’s a certain vulnerability about turning up somewhere and not knowing whether it will be noisy or quiet, whether you will feel safe or uncomfortable… whether you’ll even be able to stop there for the night. When your motorhome is your only sanctuary, it can be a bit tough. The last few nights have been, well, a little challenging we’ll admit (I think more so for Kiri). But for now, it’s so quiet. I think we’ve got a little bit of stillness. We’ll treasure it.


All posts about Czech

I love Prague

Party time in the Czech Republic

One Response

Would you believe it – we’ve just received a CD from the band we saw in Brno… for free! We got in contact with them back in July and they said they’d put one in the post… but when nothing happened we just assumed they had forgotten. And then a fantastic surprise in the post today with a note wishing us a Happy Christmas!

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