Monday, 10 February 2014

Into Bohemia

There are still more NYC pics to come, but I am not organized and have not made the time to write about them. This post about my trip around Europe in 2011 was sitting in my drafts, so I figured I would put it to use :) 

After leaving Salzburg behind on a sunny rain-less day, we clambered aboard a new train on our journey to Prague! Getting there was a bit of an adventure. Originally we had hoped to break up the trip by going from Salzburg to České Budějovice, spend a couple nights there, and then complete the rest of the journey to the big city. When those plans changed we ended up in transit from 9:30am (leaving the hostel) until about 5pm! It was a lot of daytime travel for us!

"Old Town" Prague
Somewhere in between České Budějovice and Prague the ticket lady came by and we handed over our Eurail passes as usual. Well this lady eyed my pass beadily, unfolded it entirely, and proceeded to speak loudly (I hesitate to use the word "shout", because it sounds dramatic...but I was intimidated!) in Czech at us and gave it back with somewhat aggressive gestures! The other passengers were even raising their eyebrows. Of course I had no idea what she saying.

An evening stroll through Prague!
I took a closer look at my pass and saw that she was probably pointing at the "travel details" section, which you can fill out and send to the company after your trip...kind of like a customer survey.
I have no idea why she was so upset that we had left it blank. Brit and I shrugged and filled out the details, but by then the lady had moved on so we just hoped she hadn't said anything too important, and that this wouldn't come back to haunt us later! (Spoiler: it didn't. I still have no idea why the Czech lady hated us and our blank customer surveys.)

A glimpse of Prague's beautiful castle!
The next part of our adventure happened about midway through the day. The train came to a halt, someone began shouting directions in Czech, and everyone started getting up, grabbing their stuff, and walking out of the compartments. Brit and I shared a look of utter confusion, before one of our compartment-mates (now revealing they knew English the whole time...why didn't they tell us what the angry lady wanted??) told us that there was some kind of problem with the train and everyone had to get off, and a bus would take us to another train.

Wenceslas Square

It was one of those travel moments when you have no choice but to just go with it! That feeling of uncertainty because you don't know the language, and you have no idea what the heck is going on, and all you can do is hope everything turns out ok and you get where you want to's a special feeling. I can't say I love it, but its definitely makes a distinct kind of memory!

The Estates Theatre, where Mozart premiered Don Giovanni...
apparently he dedicated it to the citizens of Prague because they loved it so much.
There were a couple of charter buses waiting just outside by the tracks, and all the train passengers crammed inside. I didn't think we would all was definitely tight! I remember there being a dog on board as well. I wish I had taken photos! No one else really seemed to be at all ruffled at anything about this strange delay, so we took that as a good sign. It was only a short ride, maybe 10 or 15 minutes, before we were all unloaded again onto a different train. This one was distinctly more run-down and sketchy-looking! We held our breath as a new ticketperson came down the aisles, hoping that there would be no more problems...there wasn't. They barely glanced at our proffered bits of paper, and we were on our way!

A view of the city from Petřín Hill.
This was in June 2011. The funny part is, I was just chatting with someone who traveled to Salzburg from Prague in the past year or so, and they had the exact same experience with the train! Apparently the track is just permanently damaged? I just think it's so funny...all those poor confused tourists being loaded onto buses and shuttled away with nervous looks on their faces, every time! That's just how the Czech Republic rolls!

Beautiful old buildings!


blog fan said...

Those sure are beautiful buildings!

Jill said...

Yes, it is a really beautiful city! The buildings were very detailed...just wait til I put up some photos of the castle :)
Thanks for reading!