PSČ Pezinok v Inter Bratislava
Pezinský športovy klub Pezinok / 3. Liga – Bratislava / 22nd October 2016
I’m fairly well travelled on the Trnava-Bratislava train route by now and have even watched football at two of the towns that adorn the rail line: Svätý Jur and Báhoň. Now it was time to visit a third town on this prevalent route with this Saturday seeing me head to Pezinok.
Next weekend sees me head to Budapest for a Hungarian football weekender and so I figured this weekend I’d stay closer to home with Pezinok being the easiest option.To be honest, at first, I wasn’t exactly enthused by my trip to Pezinok, as it looked fairly bland and dull – at least every time I had passed on the train; however, there seemed to be quite a lot of praise for the town from what I had read online and so I thought I’d give it a go. I’m so, so glad I did. Pezinok is easily my favourite of the small Slovak towns I’ve visited so far.
Setting off from Trnava at 10.15am, I was arriving into Pezinok 20 minutes later. After just a matter of minutes in the town, I knew this town was going to be a good one. For once, there seemed to be a liveliness and a buzz to the place, unlike the other small Slovak towns I’ve visited so far. There was plenty here too with the main high street leading to the 13th century Mladoboleslavska castle, located in the centre, and with the streets littered with a plethora of churches of all different shapes and sizes. Not too far away, there is even a ski resort, as the town is located near the foot of the Little Carpathians. However, if Pezinok is known for one thing, then its wine making and just a brief walk around town saw me spot several signs for places displaying a specialism in wine/vina. The town even has its own wine museum and on realising that the castle wasn’t up to much, I headed for this winemaking museum. Trip Advisor featured some rave reviews about the museum, but sadly, it seemed closed when I found it (although I hardly put a lot of effort into scouting out a reception desk or receptionist). Nevermind, instead of learning about alcohol, I decided to go drink some instead.
My first dose of alcohol in Pezinok would come in the form of beer and not the town’s beloved wine. Near one of the many churches was a row of small wine shops and I headed into one to check out the pricing of the local wine and learned that a bottle of Pezinok’s finest could be purchased for anywhere between €10-20. I made a note for later in case I wanted to take a souvenir away with me. For now though, wine was snubbed and instead I found myself in a small, dingy bar drinking the delightful nefiltrovaný (unfiltered) version of Pilsner Urquell.
I had my one beer and went to explore the town some more, before ending up in a strange cafe/bar called Mild Cafe Mischel. It’s strangeness came from the fact that there didn’t seem to be any actual building and instead the bar was up of two plastic and fairly transparent marquee tents. Additionally, the one tent, where I found myself, was full of sofas with blankets draped across them. I was the only soul in here and suddenly I had images of this place coming to life later in the evening and the bar being some sort of swingers’ rendezvous point. This image put me off the place, so after one beer I was on my way.
It was finally time to try the local specialty and I get into the bacchanalian spirit of things, so I retraced my steps towards a hotel that also had a huge sign outside declaring it a ‘Wine House’ too. Earlier in the day I noticed that the place looked full, yet, as I headed in, I found myself the only customer again. The barmaid could speak perfect English and seemed surprise to find a Welsh lad wishing to sample the town’s famous wine. Everything was local, from either Pezinok or nearby village Modra, and although the town is more renowned for white wine, I stuck with my preferred red wine. The wine lived up to the hype and was utterly glorious – plus priced €1 a glass. I’d gone in with the intention of having one glass, but the barmaid did a resounding job in persuading me to have another two glasses (it didn’t take too much persuasion to be honest.)
I left this wine house far more light-headed than I had entered it and my theory of how to thwart the wine flowing through my veins was by reintroducing beer to my body. More than anything, I really liked the look of the rather quirky-looking Lalia Pub/Ristorante. This pub was a beaut. Within lurked old antiques, lots of glossy, yet antiquated looking, wood and plants growing in every corner. Many locals were in here enjoying afternoon meals (at fairly expensive prices by Slovak standards) but with not too much time until kick-off, I was only here for a quick beer in this rather offbeat drinking environment.
Certainly less offbeat was the environment I found myself in 30 minutes later, as I made my way towards the ground. The area was very much in beat with the usual outskirts of Slovak towns as I found myself surrounded by a series of tower blocks with a couple small bars with cages on the windows at the foot of them. The pavements seemed covered in glass, the walls doused in graffiti paint and the yelps of two dogs chasing cars echoed around the tower blocks. This area, just two minutes from the centre, seemed a far cry from the boutique wine cellars nearby.
Through the tower blocks appeared an athletics field and adjacent to that was the football ground – easy to spot thanks to the large, green stand dominating the ground. On one side, I found a wonderful, crumbling, concrete entrance, yet this was no longer in use sadly. I found the new entrance behind the main stand. Here, there was just a young girl sitting at a small wooden desk near a gap in the fencing; I felt this was a far less grandiose entrance than the old concrete gateway around the other side. My entry proved awkward though as I only had a €20 note and entry was a mere €1. I’ve learned very quickly here in Slovakia that the Slovaks do not like you paying such small prices with notes and some even get rather upset when doing so – especially shopkeepers. However, the issue here seemed to be that the girl didn’t even have the €19 change to give me. Fortunately she allowed me entry when I made it very clear that I’d be frequenting the club bar and would soon (hopefully) be in possession of change. Beer bought, I headed back outside – trusting the Slovaks with my unguarded beer – and belatedly paid my €1 entry fee to the young girl guarding the entrance.
As I sat in the bar, watching Whitney Houston sing about it ‘it not being right, but apparently it being OK’ on some random music channel, a flood of Inter Bratislava fans began to enter. I had encountered Inter fans at Báhoň towards the start of my Slovak adventure and they had brought a respectable amount that evening, considering it was a game kicking off 5pm on a Thursday. They are top of the league and easily the biggest club in the 3rd tier having won the top league twice at the start of the century and played in Europe on several occasions. There was a hefty amount of Inter fans here on this Saturday afternoon and they seemed to far outnumber the home fans. Last time time I had seen Inter Bratislava play, I had seen them win 3-0 away, while the last time I saw Pezinok play, they were on the receiving end of a 11-1 hammering at the hands of Devinska Nová Ves.
I’d had enough of Whitney Houston and various other female ballad singers blaring out of the bar’s TV, so I headed outside ready for the kick-off. I had to sample the main (and only) stand and I was surprised to find how high it was. As the teams came out on the pitch – and I was still purring over Inter’s wonderful yellow and black Hummel kit – I decided I needed a photo of myself up in the heavens of PSČ Pezinok (‘heavens’ may be exaggerating a bit there). Right on cue, a lad appeared to my right wielding a large camera and I had no doubt that he was a groundhopper. Amazingly, just like the weekend before, this groundhopper I had stumbled upon also happened to be from Vienna. I got chatting to my new friend, ‘Flaum’, and he was kind enough to invite me over to the other side of the ground to enjoy the company of him and his two other friends. I agreed to join them once I’d finished taking photos and exploring this side of the ground.
I’ll reel out my frequent Slovak football line here of ‘Oh, the football was dire,’ but, in all honesty, it was one of those sorts of days when the football wasn’t really grabbing my attention at all and I was distracted by other things. The open minutes were slow and so instead I began to snub the game and went to take some photos of the ground. I may regularly slate the football here, but the grounds are anything but dull and once again I was treated to a lovely, ugly, old relic. The main stand was impressive, although perhaps requiring some TLC and the rest of the ground was made up of curving, open, concrete terraces; although behind one goal the view was obstructed by an outdoor football court sitting between the terrace and the pitch. It was here I headed first as I wanted to have a nose at the old, derelict entrance. Apart from all the concrete, there wasn’t too much to see and so the gate was tagged with a #NoFlatCapNoParty Lost Boyos sticker and I was on my way.
I was soon reunited with Flaum and it turned out that his two friends were not Austrian or Slovak: his lady friend was from Hungary and raised in Vienna, whilst his other pal hailed from Germany. The trio were superb company and great fun. It dawned on me quite quickly that they were far drunker than me, so I felt I ‘d join their party and drink with them for the rest of the afternoon. This once again took us away from watching the drab football as we discussed my adventures in Slovakia and my upcoming trip to Budapest this coming weekend. However I was more happy to hear about Flaum and the fact that he was a Wiener SK; every Austrian I’ve met so far has supported Rapid Vienna (and thus been subjected to the anecdote about the 2006/07 Rapid Vienna away shirt I own), so I found it great to find someone who supported new hipster darlings Wiener SK. Plus, you may recall that Wiener were the first club I visited on starting my life in Central Europe.
Little had unfolded on the pitch as we chatted away, slowly getting drunker and drunker and so we headed back for the bar with the score deadlocked at 0-0. Credit had to be given to Pezinok for keeping the score down this time, as they were 6-1 down at half-time last time I saw them play…actually I give them no credit at all – I wanted goals!
Half-time: PSČ Pezinok 0 – 0 Inter Bratislava.
I already liked this ground a lot, but then it was about to reveal another jewel in its crown. The small bar from earlier now had a long queue of Inter fans waiting for their beer, so one of our gang suggested the other bar in the ground. This ground has another bar? Indeed it did. Located on the other side of the stand was an even bigger bar. These two bars could have easily passed for standard Slovak bars rather than just bars used at football grounds. I did debate having food now, but the only thing on sale were hefty-looking burgers which were emerging from a mysterious kitchen out the back; they looked hefty, but with the vagueness of where they came from, I decided to dine somewhere else later.
For the second half we positioned ourselves on the open terrace behind the far goal, where Inter would be attacking this half. I decided if any team was going to score goals it would be Inter. Football was put on the sideburner again though as the German lad (I’m sure his name was Rene?) of our group emerged with four borovičkas. This is usually where drunk levels go up a notch. It’s become a bit of tradition on my Snpachat to consume borovička in football terraces while I delightedly scream, “borovička!” in an annoying voice, but my friends thought they were posing for photo as I performed the tradition and so their consummation of the Slovak favourite followed shortly after I had downed mine.
By the time the borovička was heading to our heads, we had a goal. Inter took the lead with a simple goal that was of little note – so much so I can’t exactly remember how they scored it. Bloody borovička and it’s memory erasing ways! But, we had ourselves a ‘like buses’ situation, as 5 minutes later the second goal of the game arrived and this time it was Pezinok scoring. A great shot from just inside the box – and from a tight angle – flew into the bottom corner, putting the team one off bottom level with the team top of the pile.
The game wasn’t too bad from there with both teams having chances to win it. I found myself now defying my love of Inter’s shirts and cheering the underdogs Pezinok, but both teams would have to settle for a point. It seems that Pezinok only deal in ones, as I’ve now seen them twice and the scores have been 11-1 and 1-1.
Full-time: : PSČ Pezinok 1 – 1 Inter Bratislava.
I departed from my friends and headed back for the town with a destination already in mind. Going to strange towns in a strange country with little to no knowledge of the place has seen me take to Trip Advisor a hell of a lot more this season. The Pezinok bar earning the most rave reviews on the site was the wonderful sounding Smokies Bar. With it not opening until 5pm, I had it penciled in for a visit post match. It would prove my greatest decision of the day.
“…Please tell me that’s a bottle of Punk IPA I can see there…” I whispered with almost tears in my eyes and love in my voice. When the barmaid replied with “Yes” she really didn’t understand the cataclysmic effect her affirmation would have on me. I was bouncing – literally – while shouting “YES! YES! PUNK EVERY WEEKEND! PUNK EVERY WEEKEND!” For those late to the Lost Boyos party, Punk IPA became my drinking ally of choice last season and I became like an almost unofficial advertising board for the beer at times. Last New Years’ Eve saw me drunkenly create the “PUNK EVERY WEEKEND!” song and to this day I still get people Snpachatting me the mantra “Punk every weekend” every time they find themselves cradling a Punk IPA. I, on the other hand, never get to to sample my wonderful elixir these days and my last drop of it came when I was in Vienna in mid-August. I knew it wouldn’t exactly be abundant in this part of the world, but I had expected to find my beloved Punk more. To be honest, on sitting down and savouring every drop, I decided that it was probably good that I was the only punter in here (it seemed more of late night place) as I had certainly made a tit of myself with my over-exuberant celebrating of finding the beer I really, really liked.
I didn’t want to spoil myself and binge on Punk IPA…well, I did actually, but I had a train to catch, so I’ll see you again in another 3 months or so Punk. I was back in Trnava enjoying a pizza and beer for little over 5 Euros.
Pezinok had been a delight and once again the football wasn’t to spoil things – just as it wouldn’t the next day, as I headed to watch ‘my team’ Spartak Trnava take on FC DAC 1904 Dunajská Streda (and win 1-0 I should add). Just like Pezinok, the football was woeful, but the company in the ground made it great. In Bokovka – the bar attached to Spartak’s stadium – I heard an English accent and I was soon pals with Chesterfield native Ju Hughes (although a Derby fan I should add). He was a lively soul, who must have spoke to everyone in the stand with us at Spartak, as he encouraged them all to sing; it was too little avail, but his efforts were truly valiant and humorous.
As Ju tried to bring some good old northern England passion to the stands, I befriended a French lad named Axool, who it turned out also lives in Trnava and regularly goes to watch Spartak (to fill the void from not being able to watch his beloved Nantes).
It was while walking back to my flat on the Sunday evening, that I reflected on my weekend and once again realised that ‘the football family’ is truly a magnificent thing. Yes, there is a small miniority who are dicks, but I believe that no sport stands up to it in bringing people together. This weekend was the perfect case study: I’d been to two games in Slovakia over the weekend and made friends with and watched the games with an Austrian, a German, a Hungarian, a Frenchman and a lad from Chesterfield. Fuck Brexit and god bless the football family!
Highlights: Pezinok was cool, good wine, plenty of bars, cool, old ground, Smokies Bar and PUNK IPA!!!
Low Points: poor game (again).
See all my photos from Pezinok here.