Another rest day for the team allows us to indulge the local beer and cuisine to its fullest, without the (loom/worry) of the 6:45 wake up.
After settling in with the hostel yesterday (day 16) we hit a local favorite restaurant “Lokal”. This was a surprising large restaurant which only serve you the Czech beer: Pilsner. Which had its advantages as the beer was cheap, perfect (much better than the UK version) and was served with deadly precision. At no point in the evening was anyone’s glasses empty without having another full beer on the table.
We decided to each choose an assortment of house specialty dishes. I (Will) had the “Head Cheese”, a dish which one would assume was some form of dairy from the cranial area, which makes very little sense anyway. My curiosity got the best of me and I pulled aside a Czech waitress and asked her to explain my mystery dish. After some puzzling looks while we overcame the language barrier, she smiled and said “Pork!” which was a relief, as I didn’t fancy a plate of cheese for a starter, but what about the head… so I asked if she could elaborate with what kind of cut or style the pork was going to be served. Without any hesitation she beamed a smile and triumphantly replied “Pork!”. At this point I was wondering if she knew any other English or in fact she was the ham fairy, but my politeness overcame me and as I said “Excellent, thank you” and she skipped off on her merry little way.
Several Beers wait later, our starters came. My dish arrived and disappointingly it turned out to be essentially a large slab of sausage meat salami. Martin had the Beer infused cheese, which turned out to be a very stinky cheese, somewhat similar to the powerful taste of Stilton with a beer flavoured aftertaste. This dish proved to be a worthy adversary for Mr Blick, as the serving was gratuitous in size and dominating in smell. It took Martin until our mains arrived but he did finally conquer the dish. After Martin’s plate of cheese and my slab of assorted pig it was becoming apparent that you got what you ordered, nothing else. Then Tom got his dish of deep fried cheese…
After the meal we had a few drinks at The Pub which is a Pilsner only pub which has tap built into every table and you pay by the litre. As the beer you drink is measured you can compare and compete between tables, with a leaderboard on a overhead projector.
Martin takes pint pouring very seriously.
Fergus demonstrates how to achieve a foam only pint.
After we chilled out in the bed bar which was perfect after all the walking about. Shame about the drinks. £5 for a cocktail that tastes like a blended urinal cake.
For the actual rest day (Day 17). Tom and I got up earlyish and headed to the bike shop yet again to fix more problems with my bike. This time it was the front derailleur, (the part that adjusts the chain to change gears). It managed to bend in a way that caused the chain to sheer away parts of the derailleur. So this was something that required a replacement. However we got the bloke to have a look at it (pretty sure his name was mateyboy). He bent down and inspected the damage, started moving the pedals and changing gear to see how my bike was coping. He reckoned the chain grating on sharp metal (and disabling me from changing gears properly) was the least of my problems and that this new clicking noise coming from my pedals that had just recently developed was my biggest issue. He started saying he would need to replace the bottom bracket aswell. I managed to swiftly remedy this problem by moving the bike’s kick stand (the pole that props the bike up when stationary) back to it’s docked position. Mateyboy, realising all his credibility as a certified bike mechanic was lost, stood up, took a step back and muttered “o…k..” and slowly excused himself, never to be seen again.
After we got my derailleur replaced we headed back for a quick lunch (which lasted 2 hours) then went about sight seeing. We walked up to the Prague castle which was situated on hill overlooking Prague which gave incredible views of the city.
We wandered around the castle which was more like a small fortified town, the centre of which was a large cathedral.
Spectacular metal work (the picture doesn’t do out justice)
It was getting quite late so we briefly stopped at the Beer Museum for a few beers.
This place served 30 or so specialty beers from breweries all over Czech.
These beers ranged from chocolate, honey and fruit infused to serious high quality brews. My favorite beer, Sedm Kuli, was a beer infused with pepper, Basil and liquorice which produced a caramel taste with a complex finish. Another favorite was a very fruity but delicate Indian pale ale, which wasn’t overly strong like most IPAs but went down like nectar.
After a little shell shocked from traditional Czech cuisine we ventured across the city to dine at one of the best curry houses. The tandoori meats were excellent, but the price was better. Czech is exceedingly cheap!