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Published: August 7th 2007
The only way that I was able to get such a cheap train fare to Prague was if I took overnight trains. Therefore, I caught a 9:30 train to Frankfurt, and a bit after 11:00 got onto my train to Prague. I found my cabin and opened the door. It was already full except for my empty seat. There were four guys around my age and an older gentleman. Shortly before the train left the station, the older gentleman realized that he was in the wrong compartment and left. I asked the guys if they spoke English (they did) and where they were from (Portugal). We talked about various things for a while. They were very nice (thus further increasing my liking of the Portuguese people) and spoke excellent English. After the ticket guy came by, one of the guys asked me if it was alright if they smoked in the cabin. I wasn't too keen on the idea and reluctantly told them that I didn't mind. Blame it on a faulty translation, or my inability to connect the fact that they had just come from Amsterdam with what they had just asked, either way, I was slightly surprised when they
pulled out a bag of weed and then proceeded to roll a joint. They opened the window and took turns smoking it. When it was gone they then proceeded to roll and smoke two more before they were completely high and laughing hysterically. I just sat there watching the entire thing laughing (no, I didn't get high off of the smoke. They basically had their heads out the window the entire time). I mean, was this really happening? It was so funny and completely random. The rest of the night was fairly uneventful. I attempted to sleep, but was barely able to (the non reclining train seats are just not that comfortable). At one point during the night I woke up and the guys were stretched out all over each other, legs everywhere. It was quite funny and I honestly contemplated taking a picture. We reached Prague at about 9:00 Saturday morning. I said goodbye to my travel companions and went in search of Sudie. We found each other fairly quickly (near the metro entrance like we had planned) and then headed to find my hostel. I wasn't able to check in yet so I left my bag in the
cage and then Sudie and I headed out to do a little sightseeing. We started out in Old Town and then made our way to Charles Bridge. On the other side of the bridge we took the funicular up a hill to see the fake Eiffel Tower (a little strange). Prague is absolutely beautiful and the day was perfect, in fact it was quite a bit hotter than I had expected it to be. The architecture of the Old Town with its Astronomical Clock (which I am still unsure about what it actually does (if anything)) and the blackened statues that line Charles Bridge were amazing. The only down side was that it was extremely touristy and everywhere we went was utterly crowded. In addition, Prague is no longer cheap (like it is rumored to be or like it was even a few years back (according to Sudie)), everything is very expensive, and on top of that, a large amount of Czech people that we met were extremely unfriendly. I was kind of tired (perhaps due to my lack of sleep on the train) so I ended up going back to my hostel fairly early so that I could get
some sleep. My room happened to be an 8 bed room of which I once again was the only girl (it's really no big deal, but it is kind of funny).
The next morning I ate my free cornflakes with orange flavored water and then met up with Sudie. We started out the day by heading to the Castle. We spent a few hours walking around and touring the different buildings that make up the complex. When we had seen pretty much all there was to see, we made our way back to the other side of the river and to Wenceslas Square where we walked up and down the streets going into various stores. We had planned to meet up with some of Sudie’s school friends back at her dorm so we went to the nearest metro station. As we were waiting, a police officer came to check our tickets (he was dressed in normal clothes and quickly flashed us a small badge without saying a word). I showed him my ticket which was a 24 hour ticket that I had just bought that morning. He looked at, and began shaking his head. He told me that it was
no good, that the discounted ticket was only for children up to the age of 14. I couldn’t believe it. The only reason I had bought that discounted ticket in the first place was because I had read something on the ticket machine that had said that it applied to students (apparently only for month long tickets though, we later found out). We stood there and explained this to the man. He told me that I had to pay the fine which was 500 Koruna’s (which is a little less than 20 Euros). Basically, I refused. It was absolutely ridiculous, and there was no way I was going to pay the fine especially since I didn’t get the “wrong” ticket intentionally. I told him that I didn’t have 500 Koruna’s, that all I had was 150 (which was the truth). One of the other policemen, who had come shortly after, retorted that there was no way I only had 150 Koruna’s. They told me that I could go up to the ATM right upstairs to get the money out. I told him that I didn’t have my ATM card (which was a lie, I had a credit card as well),
and they assumed that I didn’t have my passport (which I did, but I wasn’t going to correct them about) and therefore they had no way of determining my identity. We stood there for about 30 minutes while he basically said nothing except that I needed to pay the fine and kept radioing someone (no one ever came down though), and while I basically just kept saying that I didn’t understand why I just couldn’t go and buy a new ticket (I hadn’t even got on the train). Finally, he gave me back my ticket and told me to go and buy a new ticket. Fun times.
The next morning, I packed up my stuff, checked out (leaving my backpack in the cage), and walked down to The Old Town Square. I walked around for about 2 hours before I was to meet up with Sudie. I wandered into an open market, and went into different jewelry shops along the way. After I met up with Sudie we grabbed some lunch and a honey cake at an amazingly cheap bakery that I had discovered that morning, and then basically just did a bunch more walking around, going into more jewelry
stores, walking along the Charles Bridge (where we watched the storm clouds roll in), and walking to the Jewish quarter before I had to go back to my hostel to pick up my backpack. We made our way to the train station where I said goodbye to Sudie and then boarded my train back to Germany (which was a completely uneventful trip, in which I once again got very little sleep).
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