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Published: January 22nd 2012
It was about 11am by the time our train arrived in Prague, and it had already been a long day. The unexpected all-nighter in Hof was definitely taking its toll! Still, I was happy to be in Prague, even if it was 12 hours later than expected. As I'd missed my hostel booking I had nowhere to go; I was only in town for the day, and would be catching an overnight sleeper train that evening. Fortunately Marta & Clara, the Spanish girls I met in Hof, decided to adopt me and let me use their hotel room! After a life-giving shower I was ready to explore a new city, and perhaps rejuvinate some of the memories I have of Prague as a 10 year old boy.
Without a real plan for the day, me and the girls went for a wander through the town to try and see whatever we could in a day. My only goals were the 2 usuals: Go up something high, and do a free walking tour. We walked past impressive medieval architecture, and busy cobblestone streets on our way towards the old town. The girls insisted on stopping at a Starbucks along the way
The Old Town Square
With the Astronomical Clock Tower in the background
for coffee. As much as I'm against going to international chains while travelling, I gladly relented for some much needed caffeine!
We made it to the old town square just in time for me to see a blue umbrella going out of sight at the opposite corner. That was what I'd been looking out for, as it was a signal for the free walking tour which had been recommended to me. And we'd just missed it. Ah well, we would have to make do with climbing a tall thing instead. We went up the nearby Astronomical Clock Tower for some amazing views. The Prague astronomical clock itself is famous as it's currently the oldest functioning astronomical clock in the world, having been built in 1410. I wonder how many of our modern machines will still be in operation 600 years from now?
More aimless wandering, a pizza stop, a walk over the Vltava river, some haggling for street art, and a quick peek at the Lennon Wall
, and all of a sudden it was already time for me to catch my next train. It's a shame, as I really hadn't had enough time to get a proper feel for
the place. Maybe I'll go back one day, but for the time being I was quite excited about catching a sleeper train for the night!
With the usual extensive gesturing and finding of words we could all understand, I bid my new Spanish friends farewell, while they expressed concern over my ability to catch the correct train this time. My lack of sleep was more prominent than it was when I was in Munich, so I was a little wary of my abilities myself! Rightly so, it seems. While I could've sworn I knew the way to the central train station, I luckily decided to ask a stranger for directions just to be sure. The guy couldn't speak a word of English, but I understood that he was going to the same place, and would walk me there. It was quite a convoluted path, and I'm fairly certain I wouldn't have made it in time were it not for him! Whatever would I do without the kindness of strangers?
My fun with trains didn't end there though. While I managed to at least catch the right train this time, there was another little problem. I'd booked my train
tickets in Budapest, where the helpful girl behind the counter advised me that “this train only has sleeper carriages”. The lying bitch. I was mortified to find that my 10 hour trip to Krakow in Poland would instead be on a shared couchette only. After getting threatened with eviction by a power-tripping train conductor when merely enquiring if my ticket entitled me to anything better, I begrudgingly returned to my crappy couchette for as much shuteye as I could scrounge.
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