Friday, 22 June 2012

Pyrenean Haute Route - crossing the Pyrenees the hard way

In the process of packing for the Pyrenees.
After one and a half months in Prague, I'm finally heading off again. I'm going to the Pyrenees, to cross them on foot from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. 800km of hiking in about 30-45 days! It's the Pyrenean Haute Route I'm talking about, my biggest hike so far.

I think it's just about time to leave Prague, before I settle down too much. It already feels awkward to be leaving my flat, my gaming computer which I started using again, and the city environment I was getting accustomed to after many years.

The first two weeks here were really hard. I was clearly unhappy to have left New Zealand and my non-Czech friends who saw me said that it was visible a mile away. I was disappointed by Czech beer, whose fame kind of faded for me after tasting all the nice stuff in other countries, and after realising that mainstream Czech beers like Gambrinus or Staropramen aren't what they used to be. Nowadays all the big breweries belong to huge concerns such as Heineken, and everything tastes the same. However, I found out that micro-breweries, pubs that make their own beer, have sprouted up around Prague like mushrooms after a hot rainy day, and that they make really awesome, delicious brews. That's the real stuff, to hell with the mainstream crap without character. Two places I'd definitely recommend are U tří růží, near the Old Town Square, and Bašta, in Nusle. Their beer is simply delicious, and it goes without saying that food is also great. What really struck me was wasabi beer at the Bašta pub. Now, now, don't sneer, it's not what you think. Wasabi beer doesn't burn your mouth to bits, on the contrary; it's a normal beer horseradish smell and flavour, that's all. I love it.