Wednesday, July 26, 2006

How we operate: Beercycling in Central Europe, 2006.


In recent years, I've become joyously initiated into the wonderful world of beercycling, generally (not always) in Europe. The core beercycling gang began these trips in 2000 (Belgium) and 2001 (Belgium and Germany), both times renting bicycles locally. In 2003 (Germany and Austria) and 2004 (Belgium) we took our bicycles with us, as we will again this year.

Here's the prospectus for the forthcoming trip. I offer it here in the hope that some readers might be able to join us in the years to come.

(Cross-posted at the New Albany Bicycle Coalition)

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Here’s updated information about the forthcoming beercycling trip to Germany, Czech Republic and Austria.

Six participants and their arrival schedules.

Craig Somers
Craig will be in Bamberg by August 25.

Graham Phillips
Graham flies into Frankfurt Airport on Sunday morning, August 27, and he plans to proceed to Bamberg by train.

Roger A. Baylor and Kevin Richards
We’ll be arriving in Frankfurt on Monday, August 28, at 09.20 (Delta Flight 20 from Atlanta). We plan to take the train from Frankfurt to either Schweinfurt (57km from Bamberg) or Nurnberg (62 km from Bamberg) and do a first-day ride into town.

Bob Reed
Also arriving on the 28th, but specifics currently unknown.

Tim Eads
Mysteriously vowing to be in Bamberg by the evening of the 30th.

Our accommodations in Bamberg will be at the Bamberger Weissbierhaus, which is located a couple blocks down the street from Spezial (which unfortunately closed during the period of our stay, although the Spezial-Keller on the heights presumably will be operational). The Bamberger Weissbierhaus is a short walk from the train station.

See: Bamberg Beer Guide.

I’ll be faxing the Weissbierhaus accommodation some time before the week is out. Now that both Bob and Craig have been ticketed, here’s the requested rooming situation at the Weissbierhaus:

Aug. 25, 26, 27, 28, 29 & 30
Craig Somers, single room

Aug. 27
Graham Phillips, single (becoming a double on the 28th)

Aug. 28, 29, 30
Graham with Bob Reed, Kevin Richards and myself, in two doubles.

Aug. 30
Tim Eads arrives and sleeps on someone’s floor.

Budget: Any way we cut it, the rooms should cost each of us less than 30 Euros a night, or close to it.

Of course, I’m hoping for a Schlenkerla brewery tour on Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon. Matthias asks that this be a last-minute confirmation owing to the work they’ll have to do following the weekend Sandkerwa street festival (August 24-28; take note, Craig and Graham).

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Thursday, August 31 remains the transfer day from Bamberg to Prague. I have contacted Maria Beer, owner of the Bavarian travel agency I used for the group trip in 2004, and asked for her advice and help in arranging the train tickets.

Here’s the scoop:

I have checked availability of the trains with German Rail this morning. Unfortunately the both trains you have figured out are not allowed to be used with bikes.

The most suitable connection with the possibility to bring bikes at the same time is as follows:

Bamberg – Hof
Dep 09:41am
Arr 11:24am

Hof – Dresden
Dep 11:40am
Arr 02:41pm

Dresden – Praha
Dep 03:55pm
Arr 06:27pm

This means – I’m sorry about this – two transfers, one in Hof and the second one in Dresden.

But it is definitely the best available connection for travellers with bikes.

The rate is total for the party of 6 travellers 189,60 EURO plus 10 EURO per person for the bike.

Total 249,60 EURO, which is per person 41,60 EURO.

At this time the bike transport for these trains is on request, please reply as soon as possible if I should confirm this booking.

Thanks

Maria


That’s open and shut.

Budget: I’m booking the tickets and paying. You can pay me back once we’re there.

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Prague accommodations still are at the Drusus campground (in cottages or bungalows) for the evenings of August 31, Sept. 1 & 2.

Budget: 300 Czech crowns per night, per bed; less than $15 a night per person (22 CZK to a dollar).

Also, I’ve heard back from Mike of Mike’s Chauffeur Service:

Dear Sir, here I am finally with the info about hop fest in Zatec: It will start on Friday the 1st of September (afternoon) but the main programme will take place on Saturday the 2nd: 17 different breweries from all over the Czech Republic will offer their beer, there will be music of various styles being performed from Czech singers in the evening. Could be fun to be there. I look forward to hearing from you again. Sincerely, Mike.

This now appears to be on for Saturday, as in a follow-up, he suggests departing at 10.00 a.m. for the drive (1.5 hours each way). That leaves a full day Friday for Prague sightseeing.

Also: Zatec Brewery, and Czech hop history & museum.

Budget: As relayed previously, Mike has quoted a price of 4,500 Czech crowns for a minibus (8 seats + driver), which comes to about $35 per person for the day trip to the hop festival (payable in dollars, crowns, Euros).

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Note: Craig will be headed back westward and will not be accompanying us on the biking segment in Czech Republic and Austria.

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Mr. Stanek at Camp Drusus has indicated that it’s about 7 km from his camp to the trailhead of the Prague-Vienna Greenway, and that’s close, according to the maps Kevin received. Further information (in Czech) is at the CykloServer website.

Camp Drusus to Znojmo is 270 km/167 miles. Granted, this takes no account of terrain, but that’s only a bit more than 40 miles per day for 4 days to arrive there on Wednesday.

If we begin biking on Sunday morning, Sept. 3, it’s probably a bit far to make it all the way to Tabor (circa 120 km). At Tabor, the train could be used for Bob and Graham to go to Ceske Budejovice (and Cesky Krumlov), or they could bike there from just south of Tabor (roughly 60 km).

At any rate, whether we go together or separately, and get there by bike, train or a combination of the two (Ceske Budejovice to Znojmo is roughly four hours by train, with at least one change), we should meet at Znojmo on Wednesday. I’ve booked an apartment in Havraniky, which is a few clicks away from Znojmo, astride the trail, and adjacent to the National Park Podyj√≠:

Pension & Restaurant Ham-Ham

That would leave three whole days to ride toward Vienna via Mikulov (160 km/circa 100 miles) through the South Moravian wine country, so as to arrive by Sunday evening (10th).

My initial effort to arrange the brewery tour at Hostan for afternoon on Thursday has met with indifference (i.e., language concerns), but I’ve asked the owner of the pension for help. He also offers to advise guests on local wine cellar visits and the like.

Budget: No less than 350 Czech crowns per night, per bed; less than $15 a night per person (22 CZK to a dollar).

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The remainder of the trip will be winging it in route to Vienna, where I have a room for the evening of the 10th, and will be meeting Diana on the 11th. Bob’s wife Ellen also is coming into Vienna on the 11th. I know that Graham will be training it to Brugge, Belgium, following his Vienna stay.

Central Europe’s New Breweries
Czech Beer FAQ
Czech Breweries – Style, History, Beers
Greenways Travel Club (Vienna to Prague)
Vienna Pub Guide

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