Despite the wonderful advice of Matej, a local fellow I met at a pub in Albertov last night, I didn't use my last full day here to visit either Cesky Krumlov or Ceske Budejovice. I'd already bought a ticket to Plzen, which I was fully prepared to throw away, but I decided I wanted to use it after all.

The tour of Pivovary Prazdroj (A.K.A. Pilsner Urquell) ended with a sample, poured without filtering from an underground barrel. Some of you may recall I toured the Anheuser-Busch brewery in St. Louis not so long ago; well, I've decided I don't need to remember that anymore. It's not a useful allocation of brainspace when I can remember this delicious fresh flavorful stuff instead.

My last unfinished beer business was to find Velkopopovicky Kozel dark. Guess what was on tap at the on-site restaurant? As good as advertised, though the sweetness approached cloying near the end of the glass. It was a long, lazy lunch, made enjoyable by the company of a fellow American who'd also gone on the tour. As it turns out, her train left before she could see the Pivovarske Muzeum, but mine didn't — and she was headed to Cesky Krumlov for a day, which arguably I should have. We agreed to take copious pictures and send them to each other. Conveniently, I usually take copious pictures anyway. (Like everyone else, Amanda was amused when I took shots of the menu and food.)

A pit stop at Lubomir's to do a few chores, and an instructive email awaited: be at the “astrological clock” at 9:30. I got there at 9:45, which meant I missed the connection. But an hour and a half later, I made a new one. A wild-eyed dirty man with a few teeth hugged me and offered me a cigarette because I happened to be standing near him in Staromestska Namesti at the right time: thousands of people were there to watch the Czech Republic defeat Sweden in overtime, advancing to hockey's world championship game.

The crowd went nuts and sustained it for at least the hour I followed them up to Vaclavske Namesti — where they chanted and waved the Czech flag and high-fived people in cars honking in rhythm taking laps around the square, then stopping traffic for minutes at a time running the flag over each car and pushing it from side to side, even jumping on them, all of which annoyed the living hell out of the taxi drivers — and back to the Mustek metro station, where I decided I'd seen enough. And gotten more than enough footage!

Between the post-game production at Staromestska Radnice, which included Queen's “We Are The Champions”, and the spontaneous ruckus that followed, I thought they'd just won the championship. But that hasn't happened quite yet.