Nothing like getting four hours of sleep before heading out. We had planned this elaborate journey for the day, but after discovering that we could catch a train from Prague to Venice with only one change, we realized we could take a quick nap before checkout. After having breakfast and chatting with Connal, we left our bags with the front desk and went back to Prague Castle. We viewed the cathedral and decided that it was exactly like the Dom in Koln, Germany. Oh well.
We did hit a lovely little tea house after wandering around the city for a bit. I got this amazing Indian tea called Marsala, I think. It was a ginger tea. Delicious! We sat on cushions on the floor and had to take off our shoes before entering. It was quite the little experience.
Next, we wandered into a second-hand store and tried on all these funky old hats. (Hopefully we are both still lice-free. lol) Becky bought a cap that said something in Czech about Vodka. I bought an old man's hat and one is a cap that says something about South African shark diving. They're hilarious.
We ran into Brad and all went to get some ice cream together. We talked for a while and then said our goodbyes. With a little instruction on which train to take, a stop for hot dogs and a bathroom, we were on our way.
This train ride was easily the best one I have or ever will experience. Becky and I were in a compartment with this older woman. She was very hip; she wore a turquoise peasant top with sequins, capris, and black flats. She wore this necklace that looked like it was made by Mayans or Aztecs. She pinned up her curly grey hair in the back and let the front hang wild. Basically, this woman is who I want to be when I'm that age.
As the sun began to set, everything outside our window turned golden pink. The clouds reflected every hue of life. The light was even bouncing off the wheat fields. The best part was the rainbow we spotted. It was a full arc, with the most intense colors. I kept trying to take pictures of it, but it just didn't seem to do it justice. The woman said rainbows are like magic that way. So we ran back and forth between the windows, trying to etch every square inch of the landscape into our minds. It was just so perfect; the hills and the little houses, the cows, the trees and the valleys ... I could almost hear the beauty of it because it was just too wonderful for my eyes to take in alone. What a feeling.
After the sunset, the woman shared stories of her life and her travels with us. She told us about the year her husband and she decided to pack up and move to a little village in France. She talked about wall-raisings and all the interesting people she has met. This woman was seriously amazing.
After the Czech/Austrian border, we had a sudden stop. Apparently someone was having some "problems" with their passport and border control, so they took off running and jumped off the train! We ended up being stopped in front of a farm for about ten minutes. Everyone had their heads out the window to see if they could spot the border patrollers chasing after the guy. It was hilarious because there was a baby lamb on the farm that kept bleating. This caused a dog to keep barking, which eventually spurred a goat to make noises as well. It was quite the animal orchestra out there.
When we switched trains, we said goodbye to our friend and met two new ones, a pair of brothers: Quinn and Reese. They had been traveling longer than us, so they were happy to give us tips on Italy. We eventually had to switch trains again in Strasburg, but of course it was running late. When we got situated in our compartment, we found ourselves talking to this Australian guy, Chris. As it turned out, he was staying in the same campground as us, so we had a new travel buddy. Unfortunately I only slept about two hours on the train.
But before our adventure continues, what I learned from Prague:
-Just because it's a castle, it doesn't mean it's that great.
-Australians and Brits say "For f***'s sake" a lot.
-Getting lost is funny when you're with a big group.
-Train schedules often change on Sundays.
-Locals really do hate it when you don't try to use their language.
-There are always a few wonderful people that will help you out.
-Put more faith in friends. Sometimes, people want to help me as much as I want to help them.
-English is rare here.
-Always validate your ticket.
-12Kc tickets work for trains, buses and metros. 8Kc tickets don't work for metros.
-Switching from train to metro is easy once you get the hang of it.
-Tea houses are really relaxing.
-Experience a "non-tourist, non-backpacker" meal at some point. It's what the locals eat, so it's way better than what they serve to people they'll never see again.
-Change your plans on a whim. Good things will come.
-Take full advantage of everything the hostels have to offer. They really want to make your stay more enjoyable.
-Second-hand stories = greatness.
-Meet more girls if possible. They definitely bring a different mood to the adventures. Guys are fun, but girls are nice to relate to.
-Pilsner Urquell is great from the tap and s*** from the can.
-Go to a beer garden.
-Absinthe looks like mouthwash.
-Get to know the person who is always buying rounds of drinks. And buy them a drink! It's only right!
-Hang out with the same people for a few days in a row. By the end, you all feel like old buddies.
-Oddities are what make a person. Don't discredit them for seeming a little weird. They may end up being your favorite person.
-Age does not reflect maturity.
-Travel is an amazing part of life. It gives you a part of yourself.
-Talk to the old woman on the train! She has stories!
-Stop and watch the sunset. The beauty could break your heart.
-You don't need as much sleep as you think you do. Enjoy the moment. Sleep when you're dead.