The Czech people quite enjoy being “in the nature” and when a friend invited me to drift down a river I had no choice but to say Ano! On a sunny Saturday morning I took the bus to Beroun, a small city 30 minutes from Prague. We then headed to our starting point and campground at Camp Kobylka on the Berounka River about 100 kms from Prague.
At 10am on a Saturday in August the campground was packed with families and groups. Beer was flowing freely already. After a quick setup we picked up our rental canoes. At 100Kc per person per day it is quite an economical rental. The canoes were not exactly what I was expecting, being more like a cross between a canoe and a kayak.
The fact we needed a waterproof barrel for our things made me hopeful there might be some excitement!
We offered some vodka to the river and the remaining vodka to each other to get the trip underway.
Our destination was a pub and campground 13 kms downstream where we would be shuttled back to Kobylka. After a few minutes of trying desperately to get the boats to travel in a straight line we settled into a rhythm and headed downstream.
It was very beautiful.
And very busy, we were never out of sight or earshot of groups of other canoes and rafts. Water etiquette dictates calling out “Ahoooooooooj” as you encounter others on the river and we were kept pretty busy.
Lunch was at a riverside pub, one of many we encountered. I was learning that, when it comes to canoeing, getting into the nature also involved quite a bit of civilized food and plenty of beer.
There were a few small rapids and weirs along the way, but nothing our robust canoes couldn’t handle. Most of the time the water was no more than a meter deep and often much shallower. Despite taking our time and stopping to raft together with others we were down the river in five hours or so. Safe and only slightly wet.
After another round of beer we shuttled back to our camp, had a nice outside meal at the pub and watched the sunset. I will be back, hopefully for a longer trip and with larger rapids. And maybe slightly less beer.