Yesterday morning was one of the more frustrating I’ve had. I didn’t sleep well so I overslept. Rushed to the bus stop so I could catch my train. With no coffee in my system, I got on the bus going in the wrong direction. I realized my mistake shortly after boarding but I assumed it would make a loop and circle back. Nope. Ended up at the opposite end of the city and it was the end of the line. Off the bus you go. F.M.L. Definitely missed my train. Sigh…ok, asked a nice German man how to get the *&^% out of this place. Found the right bus, cought a later train to Prague. My type-A self was not enjoying this set-back. I was annoyed at getting into Prague a few hours later than planned, annoyed at myself for not being better prepared…just annoyed. But I managed to talk myself down. That’s why I have a global rail pass, right? You just get on the next train!
I then boarded a 4.5 hour train to Prague and absolutely loved the relaxation. At first I was annoyed at having to “waste” so much time in transit, but now I realized how much I needed a few hours of just reading and relaxing. The biggest downside to the hostel life is the lack of alone time. Thankfully, I tend to keep different hours than my party-loving roommates, but it’s still not very private. So the train was a dream–and you get to see the whole country go by! After a week on the road, I’m starting to get a little weary of the constant on-the-go. Walking 15-20 miles a day, every day is starting to take its toll. When you’re on a one-week vacation, it’s reasonable that you would pack in everything humanly possible each day. I’m realizing though that I try to keep up that kind of pace I’m going to wear myself out. I have a long way to go!
Prague is an absolute visual dream, especially fresh from the grey rubble of Berlin. It emerges from the Czech countryside like a bursting oasis of swirling colors. Gold-flecked medieval castles spire up to puffy clouds. Gothic structures embrace a series of winding cobblestone streets. Largely untouched by the WWII bombs, Prague is one of the most intact cities in Europe. I’m really hoping some dragons still live here.
Upon arrival last night I wandered the streets a bit. It’s definitely cold here but the tall structures surrounding the city offer some protection so it’s actually quite pleasant. I found a little pub filled with local Czech. I can’t understand a word but their conversations are lively and I feel instantly immersed. The one huge downside so far is that smoking is still allowed in restaurants here. Europe as a whole has an exorbitant amount of smokers so I’m just starting to accept that I’m going to smell like smoke for the rest of my trip. I had some to-die-for hearty veggie Czech style risotto and a huge Czech beer for the equivalent of $1.
My hostel, at a whopping $13 USD per night, is nicer than some four-star Vegas hotels. I’m on the sixth floor overlooking the gothic towers of Old Town. My roommates are three Eastern European college-age boys clearly here to party as they are literally asleep every moment that I’m awake and vise versa. I’m learning to deal with roommates bursting into the room in the wee hours of the morning by putting in earphones with a white noise app on my phone. And I no longer feel badly for being up and about at 6. If they have no qualms waking me up in the middle of the night (morning) then I have no issue going about my business.
Starting my day today with some espresso and breakfast at a riverside cafe and about to take a Rick Steves walking tour of the city.
Pictures to follow later today.