Wednesday, April 29, 2009

O Little Town of Blansko

The little town of Blansko is about 30 minutes north of Brno on the train and is the gateway to the Moravian karst, the purpose of our trip last week to the south of the Czech Republic. On arrival from Brno, our intention was to grab a taxi and get to our hotel in Skální Mlýn for the night. We spent a very pleasant evenng enjoying the peace and quiet, and got an early night so that the following morning we could get up and visit the Punkva Caves. Just a quick plug, the hotel is really nice, with very friendly staff and if you are into caves and underground rivers then a visit in Punkva is well worth it.

Having spent the morning going through the caves on foot and by boat, and then taking a cable car to the top of Machoca, a sinkhole that forms part of the underground tour and occassionally hosts musical events as the acoustics are excellent, we decided to head in to Blansko for lunch and a few beers before getting the train back to Prague in the evening. As usual we wanted to try the local brew, and in this neck of the woods it is Černá Hora, a brewery which traces its history back to 1298 and the Knights Templar.

This is where things get a bit vague. While it is true that I had my notebook and camera with me, I didn't take any notes and can't remember the name of one of the two pubs we went into, suffice to it was a little restaurant on the main street, just a couple of doors down from the branch of ČSOB. The other was Restaurace Dělnický dům, which has a huge beer garden, near the wooden church in the pictures below. The church was originally in Sub-Carpathian Rus, in what is now Ukraine, but was once a part of Czechoslavkia.

The restaurant we had lunch in was a fairly standard small town pub, nothing special, no fancy menu and Černá Hora's 12° light lager on tap - a beer I find eminently drinkable if nothing worth rushing around Prague looking for. The food was decent, including the lovely škvárky - bits of pork rind deep fried, but the highlight was the fact that Mrs Saruman ordered soup and for the first time in my life I saw the waiter bring a huge bowl for the customer to help themselves!

Suitably fed and watered, and again thrilled by the friendly, smiley service, we struck off to find the wooden church and see what other pubs we could find. Thus we came upon Restaurace Dělnický dům, where we sat in the garden and enjoyed more Černá Hora beer - the ladies had řezané, a mix of light and dark beer, which Mrs Velkyal declared one of the nicest she has had - high praise indeed.

I polished off a half litre of the dark, and while not up there with the Pegas dark from the day before, it was certainly a very quaffable beer.

Mrs Velkyal, still snacky after lunch decided to try their nakládaný hermelín, which once again came with the thumbs up. Unfortunately we had a train to catch, so off to the station we walked.

One thing that we commented on time and time again in our little trip to Moravia was just how friendly the service was. Bar and hotel staff were universally friendly and helpful, which is unfortunately not always the case in Prague. The staff at Restaurace Dělnický dům in particular were excellent, it was such a shame that we didn't have more time to sit and drink in the sun.

2 comments:

  1. Well it took me a while but I found the restaurant name, it was Punkva: http://www.punkva.cz/
    I used google maps to find the street name then searched for restaurants on the street.

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