VOTE FOR CANADA'S NEXT GREAT BEER FLAVOUR
By Emmanuel Marshall rawsafari.com
Finally, after 2 days thumbing in Cesky Krumlov, I'm on my way to Prague.
It's that weird thing with hitchhiking. You stand there for countless hours wondering 'will I ever get a ride?' and then once you get moving your luck just seems to change and it's one friendly helpful driver after another. Although it’s only a couple of hundred kilometers to Prague, I still have a series of maybe half a dozen short rides to get there. Nevertheless by mid afternoon I am within fifty K’s of Prague
As I stood beside a busy motorway, waiting over half an hour, a lorry had finally pulled up - I was in luck! Little did I know though, he was actually just dropping off another hitchhiker… turning off to a westerly road soon after. The fellow hitchhiker who climbed out was around 60, with a leathery face and stringy grey hair clinging to his neck. He casts a glance in my direction where I of course wave, but he ignores me and simply sticks his thumb out.
Now there’s something I need to explain about hitchhiker etiquette; you don’t jump a guy’s pitch. It just isn’t done. If you arrive at a spot, and there’s another hitchhiker there, you either say hello and join forces, or you go further down the road and wait your turn. This old guy however was standing right in front of me, jumping my pitch and to add insult, he was ignoring me as well.
Regardless of these annoyances, I walk over and give him a friendly ‘hello’. He responds in Czech and although I don’t understand the language, he manages to make it clear that he is not going to move, nor was he going to team up with me either. He’s an old guy, what was I supposed to do?
I think about going ahead of him, but it seems childish and I can picture us trying to one up each other for hours, going further and further up the road. Nevertheless I put a bit more space between us, grit my teeth and keep on thumbing. Five minutes later, a car speeds past him and stops for me! I can’t help but think this is karmic justice.
My Prague beer pickup location is way out in the southern suburbs, but once again I’m in luck as my driver, Milan, is going right past the address, dropping me off right outside the front door.
This however is not the glamorous, historic Prague of coffee table books. This is a tidy, rural, middle class suburb of green lawns and quiet streets that could be in any country in Europe.
The motorway buzzes in the background, and miles of cornfields stretch away to the hills in the distance.
I knock on the door to Mirek’s place. He is Innis & Gunn's guy in Prague. I'm kind of expected, but nobody, including me, actually knew when I would show up… A puzzled-looking woman appears on the balcony above the front door, saying something in Czech which I presume translates to 'who the hell are you, scruffy looking fellow, and what are you doing standing on my doorstep with a backpack and a kid's scooter?'
I try to explain as clearly as I can in English.
"Hi. I'm Manny. I'm the Innis & Gunn beer hitchhiker." She looks no less puzzled, but thankfully does end up opening the door. I introduce myself again, smiling as broadly as I can without looking like a lunatic, and let her know of the journey I’m on. She still appears confused by the whole story, but nevertheless puts me in touch with her husband who seems to be a lot more aware of what is going on. We talk about my trials and tribulations during my journey and conclude the exchange with them wishing me luck and depositing a slab of IPA cans into my arms.
With the sun dipping into the horizon, I find a clear patch of ground in a nearby cornfield and pitch my tent. I head over to the local supermarket, where I load up with some goodies and head back to camp for a healthy meal.
It’s a big day tomorrow. I have yet to get into the city of Prague, but I’m looking forward to seeing the castles, monasteries and other pretty touristy stuff.
For now though, I’m enjoying the warm autumn night, the rustling tranquility of the corn swaying in the breeze... and a can of IPA of course. ;)
On a side note, I’ve had people ask me how I’ve been transporting my slab of beers, so I’ve left a photo of my favourite two-wheeled pickup truck.
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