After getting married in September 2010 we decided to do the opposite of settling down; so we packed up our life, stuffed it in our parent's attic and hit the road for what is essentially an extended honeymoon! We started our trip on 29th December 2010 spending 4 months travelling overland through Europe, Russia and Mongolia to China. After many a train and bus journey we caved-in and flew from Western China to Malaysia, and worked our way north to Thailand and Cambodia. The time came for us to replenish our bank accounts, so we headed to Western Australia for work in July 2011 and lived in Fremantle until February 2012. After a couple of months back home seeing our families and friends, we headed back down-under. This time we headed for New Zealand and we are currently living in Wellington. Our blog started as part of an elaborate wedding present from two of our very good friends. The idea was that on our trip we should blog from every country we visit, detailing the sights, sounds and smells and most importantly, the beer. We have certainly had fun writing it - but moreso, living it!

Friday, 25 February 2011

Lithuania & Riga, Latvia (5th - 16th February)

Enjoying beers in a traditional restaurant in Lithuania.

Liam & Mark in Riga.

The overnight bus to Kaunas arrived at 4.45am, which felt an hour earlier to us due to the time change! We trudged to hostel in the sleet, Charlotte falling in a puddle on the way. The hostel let us in and we were able to get a bit of kip on the sofas in the living room until our beds were free. In the afternoon we went for a browse around the old town, taking in the square and the castle. Another place, we felt, that would be good to come back in the summer when it's a little more bustling. We also visited the Presidential Palace of Lithuania, which was interesting despite not much being translated into English. Our second day in Kaunas was a little frustrating as we attempted to visit both the Museum of Deportation and Resistance and Sugihara House (where 'Japanese Schindler' lived) but they were both shut. So we ended up doing a bit of a walk from a slightly higher up vantage point, for some good views over the city. We stumbled across an interesting huge dominating church, which looked very Soviet (the tower looked like they tried to recreate the Empire State Building on a much smaller scale!). It turned out that it used to be a Nazi papermill, and then a Soviet broadcasting station, before it was turned into a church. We walked past just as Mass had ended so it was interesting to watch all the elderly Lithuanian women in their best Sunday furs sliding about on the icy pavements!

A good bar that we found was called 'Crazy House' which was eccentrically decorated with all sorts of random bits and bobs - you could sit on old toilets at the table. A trip to a traditional Lithuanian restaurant (complete with waitresses in traditional costume) convinced us that, bar the potato pancakes, Lithuanian food really isn't up to much!

We then caught the train to Vilnius. First impressions were good - nice old town, impressive churches and cathedrals, lively atmosphere and lots to see. Vilnius also boasts the world's only Frank Zappa monument, which gives an inkling of Vilnius' quirkier side. We stopped for refreshments in 'Prie Katedros Bravoras', a pub which brews it's own beer (including a very tasty honey beer). After taking in some Soviet statues on a bridge that only remain because the locals are so fond of them, we headed up to the hill of 3 crosses. It's a site where three monks were crucified in the 17th century, and three crosses mark the spot. The Soviets bulldozed the crosses but they were replaced soon after by huge concrete statues. The viewpoint from the crosses over the city at dusk was stunning, and the sheer scale of the crosses was quite incredible. As it was going dark we decided to head back down the hill, on the opposite side to where we walked up it. We quickly realised that the steps were sheets of ice that had been gradually made into a slippery slide all the way back down the hill. The only thing for it was shuffling / sliding down on bottoms, feet and hands; quite a ridiculous experience and not something we would repeat in a hurry!

On our second day in Vilnius we caught the bus out to Grutas Park. Nicknamed 'Stalin World', it was set up by a guy who had made his millions in the mushroom market and had purchased lots of old Soviet statues and put them in a park. The park had received criticism for 'Disney-fying' the Soviet era, but the statues and exhibitions were still enlightening about the atrocities that occured in that time. The guy who runs it does seem to have some 'interesting' ideas about the park; he initially wanted all the staff there to dress up as Soviet soldiers, and has some ideas about running a train line from Vilnius where passengers would be made to stand in cramped conditions to give them a 'taste' of what it must have been like to be sent to the camps. The park is a big tourist attraction in the summer but in February it was completely dead, which did little to help the already eerie feeling of being looked down upon by imposing Soviet statues. Well worth visit though, if you're ever in the area!

Further mooching around Vilnius took us to Uzupis, an unoffically offical independent state. It's supposed to house artists and other creative types, but we saw not much evidence of this on our visit! A very different feel to Christiana in Copenhagen, you could easily be forgiven for not realising you'd crossed an unofficial border. They have their own constitution which includes things like 'Everyone has the right to die, but it is not a duty', 'Everyone has the right to love and take care of a cat' and 'Everyone has the right to understand nothing'. Love it. It being winter there wasn't much going on over there, so we headed (surprise surprise) to an awesome little bar called Snekutis. We enjoyed some kick ass beers there (some proper Lithuanian real ale), along with some deep friend black bread, but unfortunately we don't know what our favourite beer actually was as she just poured it from a big green keg!

Another day trip that we made out of Vilnius was to Trakai, to see the beautiful castle there. It's on a little island surrounded by a frozen lake, so we greatly enjoyed watching people walking, ice fishing and even practising ice hockey on the lake. The ice must have been shifting as it was making some very disconcerting groaning and creaking noises, rather them than us! The castle itself is very picturesque and looked even more so with a sprinkling of snow. It houses the Trakai History Museum, a rather standard collection of things from over the ages, but it had a good section on the renovation of the castle.

That evening we found the other location of Snekitus and decided to eat there, just ordered a few different things off the menu for us all to share. It turned out that 'boiled petittoes' was not a quirky translation of boiled potatoes, but rather a quirky translation of boiled pigs trotter.... it looked grotesque. The meat that we got off it was really tender and delicious but probably would have fitted on a teaspoon. The locals would poably have eaten the sloppy skin and fat off the bone too, but we gave that a miss!

On our final day in Vilnius we headed to the cheery sounding Museum of Genocide Victims, housed in the old KGB headquarters. It was a fascinating account of life for Lithuanians under Soviet rule, and the basement was where they used to keep the prisoners and is still in it's original condition complete with padded cells and an execution chamber. Interesting but rather grim.

On our way up to Latvia, we stopped off for a night in Siauliai. Our reason for going to Siauliai was the famed 'Hill of Crosses'. The Hill of Crosses is about 2 km off the main road and as we stepped off the bus conditions were blizzardous. It was our first taste of the really cold weather yet to come! After being blown up the road and feeling our eyelashes freezing up, we arrived at the hill just as the wind dropped and the sun came out. There are many different stories about how the Hill of Crosses originated in the 1800s; some say that the locals planted lots of crosses after a particular tragic battle, others say a father planted a cross there for his dying daughter. However it started, it has become a tradition to go to the Hill of Crosses and put a cross there, whether in memory of someone or giving thanks to God. It still thrives today (despite the Soviets bulldozing the site three times) and there are apparently over 400,000 crosses there. It was an incredible spectacle, and the small wooden crosses hanging from the larger ones were clinking against each other in the wind making it an even more intense experience. It was fascinating to see different crosses from all over the world that people had made pilgrimages to Siauliai to bring to the hill. We saw a few different bridal parties having their pictures taken there; on such a snowey day it would make a very striking backdrop. A memorable end to our visit to Lithuania.

And so.... to Riga!

First stop, quell surprise, was a wander round the Old Town. It felt nice to be back on familiar territory, as we had visited Riga some years before. It does have a pleasant feel to the city, there just isn't that much to do there! We visited the market which is housed under the roofs of five old zeppelin hangers. It's a really huge market, with each hanger selling something different, e.g. meat, cheese, fruit and veg, bread, fish. We bought some delicious soft, white cheese with cumin seeds in it. On our return to the hostel we realised that the key to our room didn't really work in the lock (I'm sure not helped by the freezing temperatures). The Manager fiddled with it while we stayed in the hostel bar keeping warm.

During our Riga stay we went on a walking tour. It was a free tour (donations at the end) and we were the only people who turned up so it felt like a very personalised tour! The tour guide was super friendly and knowledgeable, and took us to see the alternative sights of Riga, i.e not the Old Town. We saw lots of interesting (and not to my taste) Art Nouveau buildings, the Academy of Science a.k.a 'Stalin's birthday cake' and went up the Riga Gallery for a rooftop view of the city. We learned about how Latvian soldiers burnt most of the city down fearing Napolean was imminently about to invade the city. It turned out that Napolean had actually taken a different route and went through Vilnius instead - boy was their face red. We also saw Riga's biggest synagogue that survived Nazi bombing as it is so close to the Old Town. However, two terror attacks on the building in the 1990's means it now has a permanent police presence stationed outside.

Other highlights of Riga included visiting a lovely (cheap!) English bookshop, where we stocked up on books for our rail journeys through Russia, eating at a recommended restaurant that as soon as we walked through the door we realised we'd been to last time (cue buffet of assorted meat and lots of beer to wash it down with), and drinking very cheap beer, wine and vodka at Depo (the rock bar opposite the hostel). Charlotte discovered that she can drink vodka if she puts enough lemon juice in it, so at least she's keeping her vitamin C intake up. A downer of the trip was our lock not working again after we tried to go to bed in the small hours, which meant we eventually had to be rehoused without our belongings in a hostel further down the road. Luckily we were reunited with our bags the next day - and got a free night at the hostel out of it!

Saying goodbye to Riga also meant saying goodbye to Mark, who had travelled with us since Zakopane. It had been a treat to have someone else with us for a while and it was strange saying goodbye not knowing when we'd next see each other!

So the next chapter of the trip begins alone... with a nightmare bus journey. Stay tuned to find out more... DUM DUM DUMMMMMMMM! ;)



Zakopane, Krakow & Lublin, Poland (25th January - 5th February)

Liam with a 'beer tower' at CK Browar in Krakow.

After an overnight train journey from Prague (complete with friendly conductor who woke us up in the morning with a cup of tea) we arrived on Polish soil. We planned to go straight from Krakow to Zakopane and return to Krakow after having had our fill of snowboarding. After a couple of hour bus journey we arrived in super-chilled Zakopane. Thus far temperatures hadn't been very low and we noticed the difference, especially hanging around waiting for the mini bus to hostel. We managed to get lost finding the hostel after missing the stop and taking an unintended detour through very snowy streets. The hostel was located just outside of the town on the way up to the mountains and the forest, a lovely setting for a hostel. It was an old Zakopane-style wooden building (like a chalet), with very friendly and relaxed staff. We got to to know Dave (from Newcastle) over the 5 nights we stayed there, a pretty legendary guy who even managed to come up with a better solution than a hair clip for my broken coat zip (which was becoming a real bore having to get a hair clip out every time I wanted to take it off or put it on).

We managed to get onto the slopes at Male Ciche the first afternoon for a few runs to reaquaint ourselves somewhat. Cue lots of dramatic falls (mostly on my part - my ribs are still hurting!) and of course big kielbasa sausages and hot beer. For some unknown reason the Poles like to serve beer hot in the winter (optionally of course), in this case with a shot of syrup which failed to mask the horrendous taste that comes from heating cheap lager. One of the first (and hopefully last) occasions on this trip where we failed to finish our beers! Waited for the bus at the slopes looking enviously at the people hopping onto horse drawn sleighs, being huddled under fur blankets and carrying flaming torches so the cars would see them coming. Must be quite a magical way to end a day at the slopes! After another day at Male Ciche we headed further afield for the next couple of days to the slopes at Bialkaa. This was a much bigger resort with long, wide blue and red runs. It finally started to feel like we were improving, and a jolly good time was had by both of us; whizzing / gliding / tumbling down the slopes, drinking hot wine and eating Zurek (a soup made from vegetables, sour cream and fermented rye, with sausage and egg in it - far more delicious than it sounds).

Towards the end of the week our good friend Mark flew out to join us. He had spent a day in Krakow and then taken the bus down to Zakopane to join us at the hostel. Cue beer, pierogi and bison vodka! Mark's arrival prompted the end of the boarding and instead we took the oppotunity to explore Zakopane. The town centre itself was very toursity, not helped by the fact that our visit conincided with half term, so there were lots of souveniour stalls, people in giant bear costumes and balloon sellers. We had heard horror stories of four hour queues to get on the funicular railway, but we checked it out anyway and found we could get straight on! The view of the Tatra Mountains from the top was incredible and made it stike home why Zakopane is such a popular place for winter sports (and hiking in summer).

The next day we caught the bus back up to Krakow. It was the third time that we've visited Krakow and the appeal doesn't diminish! In fact this time we probably enjoyed it more, and in our minds it cemented itself as a must-see destination in Eastern Europe (above Prague - its just a bit more down to earth!). As well as doing the usual routine of wandering the old town square, drinking pivo and visiting the castle, we also visited a new museum devoted to Krakow's experience of WWII, based in Schindler's factory. A fascinating modern musuem, with well presented exhibits and lots of video 'first hand accounts' of what Krakow was like under Nazi occupation. Neither of us have actually seen 'Schindler's List', so learning more about Schindler himself was also interesting, as was realising that Schindler wasn't quite the 'hero' that is sometimes made of him (for starters the reason he had so many Jews in his employ was that they were cheap labour and by many accounts a greedy capitalist - but of course he came good in the end). We also took in the old site of the Pharmacy Under the Eagle, the only pharmacy within the Jewish ghetto in Karkow that was allowed to remain open during the war, with the pharmacist continuing to dispense (often free) medication and bring valuable news from the other sides of the walls to the ghetto's occupants. A further museum we visited was the Museum of Pharmacy - lots of old pharmaceutical instruments, vials etc. Our favourite exhibit were some 'Everlasting laxative pills' which were suitable for multiple uses if you washed them after use!

Anyway - enough of the museums and onto the beer! Mark took us to C. K. Browar, where we enjoyed wheat beer in a 3.3 litre 'tower', basically a large tube brought to the table so you could dispense your own drinks. After much Polish lager it was a treat to find some tasty wheat beer, quite an interesting colour as it was pretty much opaque.

After a frustating day of failing to board buses (too full / can't make a reservation), we eventually caught a train up to Lublin at 4pm. The hostel we had booked there was fairly old school, with a 10pm curfew and you had to be out 10-5 in the day. As we arrived late we just had time to nip to the petrol station for some snacks and vodka before sttling in for the night and watching 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off', great film!

The next day allowed us a look around Lublin's Old Town. The centre is really beautiful, with lots of ornately painted buildings, each telling a different story. It had quite a different 'feel' to it than other places we had visited in Poland, and we imagine it would be fantastic in the summer when all the cafes have their outdoor terraces. The exterior of Lublin's castle is a bit of an anti climax (Charlotte - 'looks a bit like a crap hotel'). However, the real draw of the castle is the 14th century chapel inside, which was painstakingly restored over a few decades in the late 20th century. The walls are painted with different scenes from the Bible, with some usual and beautifully vivid colours and techniques. After seeing the rest of the Old Town we did a bar crawl, taking in some of Lublin nicer Old Town bars along with some of Lublin's dingier. We rounded off the night with an obscenely large pizza (who knew a 45cm diameter pizza would be so big even to share - well maybe we would have if we had paid attention in maths!). Of course, we were back by the 10pm curfew!

We spent a day in Warsaw before catching an overnight bus to Lithuania. The grey drizzle, teeming traffic and lack of things to do did not do much to alter our previously rather ambivalent opinion of Warsaw. However, we had our last Polish pierogi here and it was probably the best so far, so at least we can be positive about that :)

So - onto Lithuania!


Prague, Chodovar & Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic (16th - 24th January)

Charlotte with the beer bottle Christmas tree at Chodovar brewery.

Our Czech adventure started with a mammoth 16 hour bus journey from Copenhagen to Prague, broken up by a ferry crossing over to Rostock in German and an hour between buses in Berlin. It was a long day but by now we are used to long journeys and the buses were comfortable enough. The Czech bus even had wi-fi and this seemed to be common throughout the Czech Republic, there was free wi-fi everywhere! Even some run down old local buses have it, nevermind seatbelts, free wi-fi is a basic human right here it seems!

It was refreshing to go out to eat and have a few beers without eye watering bills or just blindly handing over the credit card (even the locals appear to do this in Denmark as even the local bakery will take cards). Being around a pound a pint (and a good pint at that - Pilsner Urquell have a monopoly in most places) is 20% of the price in Denmark, but we often find Prague especially a hit-or-miss culinary experience probably due to the transient nature of most customers (ie. tourists). Prague is a beautiful city but we have never been anywhere so completely geared up for tourists. This meant there was a bit of strange atmosphere during in January when there aren't many tourists around, but the restaurants are all still open and touting for business in the hope of enticing the stragglers such as ourselves in. We have been to Prague just before Christmas before when there was a lot more going on, and this time it was more of stopping off point on the way to elsewhere, but we had a comfortable hostel so decided to take things easy and enjoy the cheap beer and stayed for 3 nights.

We took in the sights (Charles Bridge, Old Town Square and Astronomical Clock) and wandered the pleasant old town streets. The culinary highlight of the trip was breakfast in a Polish Cafe (Cafe Pavlac), scrambled eggs and bacon really hit the spot! We also went up the TV tower, which we had never done before, on a clear day with beautiful views of the city. The tower itself is a little strange, it was recently decorated with giant babies crawling up it by a local sculptor. We had a good evening at a bar which had lots of different beers from various Czech microbrewers (Matuska Black Rocket probably the highlight - an awesome hoppy black IPA I had previously tried at The Tap in Sheffield).

Next up was our trip to the beer spa at Chodovar Plana, via Pilsen for a quick pint between buses (unfortunately I couldn't persuade Charlotte to tour the Pilsner Urquell brewery again!). The town itself had very little to it but we were here for the beer. The brewery runs a hotel, beer spa and 2 restaurants. The spa and brewery go hand in hand rather than just being a gimmick, there is a natural mineral water spring with supposed health giving benefits which the beer is brewed from which gives it a fairly strong mineral aftertaste (Charlotte wasn't really a fan!). We had checked in for 2 nights to enjoy the various offerings only to discover that the main restaurant was shut and the brewery tours weren't running. So we had a lot of time on on hands, and were a little bit gutted as the brewery was the sole reason we were visiting. But the beer spa experience was awesome and certainly a unique experience. Its important to note though that it wasn't actual beer we bathed in (I would think alcohol wouldn't do much for your skin!) but rather the hot wort (the combination of water, malt and hops at the stage before fermentation). So for 20 minutes we bathed in the murky hot wort while supping a cool glass of beer, then another 20 minutes in a darkened room wrapped in a blanket to sweat it out and dry off (and of course another beer). Pretty cool experience and we felt relaxed and reinvigorated afterwards.

Our final stop in Czech Republic was Cesky Krumlov, a lovely old city on the banks of a river. It is said to be like Prague in miniature, and the old town itself can be walked from one side to the other in about 10 minutes. The 'new town' is quite separate so it has a charming almost fairytale atmosphere and we stayed in a great little hostel called Krumlov House which had a hippy vibe and olde world feel due to the wooden interiors. As we arrived it was snowing quite heavily and this was really the first properly wintry weather we had experienced on the trip so far. As you can imagine the place looked even more magical when we woke up in the morning to a good covering of snow. We spent our time doing some walking, up to the castle and beyond. The great thing is that the town is quite isolated so within 15 minutes you out in the countryside. The hostel was quiet to the point that 1 night we even had it to ourselves (literally as the staff don't work at night!) so we made the most of it and watched a classic Czech film called Pelisky, about 2 families at Christmas in Soviet times and the various disfunctional relationships around them they have to put up with. I even managed to watch the Simpsons Movie for the millionth time, which was a nice home comfort!

Cesky Krumlov is definitely on the list to come back to one day in summer, such a beautiful place with beautiful surrounds and lots of outdoor activities including rafting on the river as well as hiking. Our next stop was Poland to go snowboarding so we took the bus to Prague via Ceske Budovice (unfortunately the Budvar brewery was closed that day so we didn't make a stop!) before taking an overnight train to Krakow.

Czech Republic

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Copenhagen & Odense, Denmark (8th - 16th January)

At Orbaek Brewery with fermentation tanks behind (how romantic!)

Much in need of a shower after the cramped lodgings and variable temperature of the night train we were met at Copenhagen station by our friends Ally & Lars. Ally used to work with Charlotte in the MST team in Sheffield and has recently moved out to Denmark after getting married. They live in a very nice little apartment not far from the centre of the city, and we stayed downstairs in the apartment complex's office space, which was great as we are on a budget and like nothing better than free! It was basically a very tiny apartment, and it was very cool to have our own little space in Copenhagen.

Of course first on our list of things to do was visit the Carlsberg Museum, more fun than it sounds as the company has a very interesting past. The bloke who set it up was quite the philathropist and scientist and he put money into community projects and funded a scientific research lab. Most importantly it was Carlsberg who discovered the workings of yeast in the fermentation process and managed to isolate certain strains which helped keep consistency in brewing. The last bit of the museum from about the 90s onwards was basically "and then we took over the world", which kind of jarred with what the original guy seemed to be doing. Admittedly I'm not really a fan of Carlsberg, but it probably does taste a little better over there, rather than the stuff they brew in England. They also had the worlds largest collection of beer bottles (not just Carslberg owned brands) which was pretty amazing, it certainly put my collection (which Charlotte sneaked to the bottle bank recently - boohoo) to shame!

After a couple of nights in Copenhagen we took the train with Ally & Lars to Odense to stay with Lars' parents. They lived in a nice and spacious bungalow outside the town near the countryside. They were very welcoming and they made us feel at home and fed us some tasty Danish food. Highlights were definitely the lunch spread of cheese, meat, pickled herring and beer on arrival and of course the traditional Danish hotdogs (similar to American hotdogs but with gerkins, dried friend onions, and Remoulade sauce).

We had a good time exploring Odense which was a pleasant, relaxed university city. On the third attempt we looked around the Hans Christian Anderson museum (the first attempt it was closed, second it took us rather longer than expected to walk into the city because of the ice) which gave an interesting insight into the life of the famous children's writer, who is himself from Odense. Later we visited the Cultural Centre which was free that evening, lots of different exhibitions including a photo exhibition of American jazz musicians taken on the road. There was an awesome childrens exhibition which was basically like laser quest without the guns, and with lots of little passageways and hidey holes for kids to roam around in a surreal Alice in Wonderland type setting (complete with upside down room, secret passageways through a wardrobe etc), very cool!

Another day Lars drove us around a few places and we did a short walk, although originally we had hoped to be doing some cross-country skiing. The weather was mainly fairly warm and drizzly, not really how we had pictured Denmark! Generally the weather on the trip up until now had been warmer than expected, and only the odd glimpse of clear skies and sunshine. We explored a quaint little town called Faaborg before heading the Orbeak brewery for a tour and some tastings. We had a very interesting bloke show us around, currently sales manager for the brewery but having led a colourful life working as a docker, carnival manager and children's entertainer - which he still does now, as we found out when he made me a balloon guitar while sampling the brews. You couldn't make it up! They make a great beer called Fynsk Forar which is brewed with elderflower, actually very nice as it is only a hint rather than full blown sweetness.

A general theme for our time in Denmark was awesome food and drink. It's not exactly a cheap place to be but everywhere we ate was great, whether it was the posh place we ended up in for lunch in Odense (£8 for a beer! But the awesome herring made up for it) or more down to earth open sandwich (smorrebrod) places. We are definitely fans of the cuisine there, lots of bread, meat, cheese and pickled things. Getting hungry just thinking about it! Also lots of great beer, Denmark has undergone a micro-brewery revolution over the past few years, so no longer is it just a choice of Carlsberg or Tuborg.

Lars showed us the highlights of his hometown one evening, and we had fun meeting up with some of his friends and playing pool at a pool har that sold actual Duff Beer! Well, I doubt it was official, not sure how they got around the copyright

After heading back to Copenhagen after 4 nights in Odense we had a wander round Christiana, Copenhagen's rogue semi-independent anarchist commune. They declare themselves to be separate from the EU (although not legally), it's an interesting place, very diverse with a sort of Glastonbury feel to it. A strange mix of intimidating youths drinking around flaming rubbish bins and hippy families. A quick visit to the National Museum before closing time saw us make a beeline to the viking stuff, lots of interesting rune gravestones, and attempts to convince us that the Vikings weren't just brutal invaders.

More beer related shenanigans saw us visit on 2 separate evenings the Mikkeller bar, to sample some eclectic brews by a nomadic Danish brewer - he travels around the world and brews his beers in Norway, Belgium, Scotland, USA amongst other places and doesn't actually own any equipment but lets his ideas carry his brand. It's paid off as he well loved by beer geeks the world over and the bar was packed with people appreciating the various beers on offer. Highlight was a 17.5% barley wine, not because of the strength as I don't normally like beers approaching anything like that strength. Very tasty and rich. The next night we visited the Norrebro brewhouse which brews its beers on site and serves up tasty food surrounded by the shiny lagering tanks. Highlight was probably the American style ale, brewed to a pre-prohibition recipey. Mmmmalty!

The next morning we were up super early for the long bus journey to Prague. This time the route took us on the ferry through Germany, and a brief lunch stop in Berlin. Unfortunately it wasn't very central and we didn't have time to do anything but grab a quick Streusel Schnecke (bready treat with fruit strudel/crumble-type topping). More to follow (I will get caught up with this thing properly I promise!)