Czech us out, we are idiots!

Trip Start Jul 31, 2009
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Trip End Dec 31, 2009


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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Thursday, October 8, 2009

Wow do I have a story for you! I am about to write a novel of the crazy weekend I've just had. Get ready for it, because after you read this, you are going to be laughing your butt off (possibly AT me). There were so many things that went wrong, or almost went wrong, or were inconvenient I can only start at the beginning and tell the entire story. So here it goes.

Last week I had 3 tests, therefore I didn't spend much time preparing for my weekend in Prague, but I didn’t feel like there was much preparation needed. I went to bed late every night and got up early every morning to study and therefore didn’t have time to do laundry or pack. But Thursday after class, we had 2 and a half hours before our train left, so I grabbed a bus back home and quickly packed what clean clothes I had and the other necessities. That only took me about 20 minutes, so I had 2 hours to kill. I finished watching one of my shows I had previously started watching but didn’t get the chance to finish and watched another show that had come on in America the night before. After doing this, I still had plenty of time so I called Katy to see what she was doing. When she answered, she told me she was at the train station because the train was leaving in 10 minutes… I FREAKED! Then realize she is just an idiot (and I say that with love) and was actually at the train station an hour early. So I decided to join her since I had nothing else to do.

When I got to the station, we decided to grab some bread and snacks for the trip, as well as some undies and socks for me (because I didn’t have any clean)… sorry if that is too much information, but oh well. After this, we were going to continue shopping for some bit, but decided to meet Kim on the platform. We all grabbed some seats in a compartment and settled in to our 4.5 hour journey. We took off and shortly arrived in a little town called Schwandorf. I had a bunch of my things out, Katy was asleep, and Kim just happened to look at the ticket and thankfully realized that we needed to switch trains, so we all grabbed our things (literally in any way possible, backpacks unzipped and everything) and we dashed out the door. Just as we were about to shut the door to the compartment, Katy screams "ALLIE! Get the tickets!" (I had left them on the table in the compartment… oops. So I swiped them up and off we were. We ran down the stairs, over to the other platform, and up to our train, got on, and all sighed with relief as the train pulled away.

So now we are on train #2 of the day (remember we had only thought we needed one). We get settled into another compartment with just one other girl and start to chill out again (at some point however, Katy and I both managed to spill the trash- long story that isn’t really relevant). About an hour and a half into our journey, the compartment door swings open… "Poliezi". Ok Mr. Policeman, what do you want? I look over at the German girl that was sitting with us and see her pull out her passport. OH SHIT! OH MY GOD! WHAT THE HELL! These are all the things going through my head. My face reads the same shocked expressions. I had forgotten my passport. Come on Allie, how did you expect to leave the country without a passport? I mean, honestly? Are you a moron? YES, YES YOU ARE! Then I realize Katy is pillaging through her purse, freaking out as well. No luck. I wasn’t the only idiot on the train. How can TWO people planning on leaving the country forget their passports? After what could not have been nearly as long as it seemed, we finally both look at the brunette policeman and tell him we don’t have them. “Well you cannot leave the country. You have to get off the train now.” Ok Mr. Policeman. So we start packing up our things.

Katy and I got off the train, leaving Kim to go on without us and check into the hotel. At this point I was so distraught that I had to ask a blonde policeman what country we were in! We were still in Germany, duh. We go to the information desk at the middle-of-nowhere train station and ask what is the fastest and cheapest way to get back to Regensburg and then back to Prague that night. We finally decide there is only one possibility. We have to wait for a train back to Schwandorf that leaves in 30 minutes, then transfer trains with only 5 minutes to get to the new train, then get to Regensburg. Once in Regensburg, we would only have 35 minutes to get to our rooms, get our passports, then get back on the train. The last train to Prague that night. Ok, we have to make this work. How can we get our passports and back on the train in 30 minutes? That’s almost impossible. But we have to make it work. Can Danny (my flatmate) somehow break into my room and bring it to the station? After him destroying his credit card trying, we have to find some other way. Can Griffin (our program director) somehow get into the rooms. No. Ok, next idea. We have to go to our rooms ourselves.

Ok game plan- Call Taylor and Elizabeth (two people on our program) ask them (very nicely) to meet us at the train station and stay with our bags while we make a mad dash to our rooms. Ok done, Taylor will meet us on the platform. Ok, now how do we get to our rooms and back in about 20 minutes? Not by bus. Not by foot. Taxi- it is our only choice. Ok, now we wait for the train to Schwandorf. When the train arrived, I asked the same little blonde police if this was the train to Schwandorf… Yes, Schwandorf. Ok, good. We get on and wait for the next train…. But first we need our train to leave… departure time came and went… still sitting in BFE. We finally leave 5 minutes late. A few minutes later, the door swings open, “Poliezi”. Why hello brunette policeman. Passports? You already know we don’t have ours. Yes, we are going back to get them. In Regensburg. Yes we know we have to switch trains in Schwandorf. Good luck you say? Why thank you brunette policeman. At this point, we start to worry because we only had 5 minutes to make our connection in Schwandorf. We were really sweating it now.

We go though all of the possibilities of what could happen and how we would deal with them. What if one of us made it on the train at Schwandorf but one of us didn’t? Well then that slow person doesn’t deserve to go to Prague. What if one of us makes it back to the train in Regensburg, but the other doesn’t? We wait. Ok, what if we have to wait? We get as close to Prague as we can and hop on a train as early as possible. This went on and on. We finally get about 5 minutes away from Schwandorf and we get our things ready and headed toward the door in preparation of running to the next train. We made a mad dash down the stairs (and both secretly hoped we didn’t face plant down the stairs- we discussed this later) and back up again to platform # 4 where there was no train… crap. But then we realized the train in platform #5 was going to Regensburg, so we decided maybe that was our train. Just as we were going to get on the next train, the board at #4 flashed Munchen via Regensburg. Yay, that train was running late as well. But boo, that meant we would have even less time in Regensburg. Oh well, at least we were on the right track. We boarded the train once it arrived and waited for our short ride to be finished.

When we got to Regensburg, we were the first ones off the train, ran to find Taylor, dumped our stuff, then dashed off to the taxis. I got in one lady’s taxi, told her where I needed to go, and asked nicely to go “fast”. She pulled away, I saw Katy get in the taxi behind us, then we made the quick little journey to my place. I asked her to stop before she got to my road in order to avoid the construction, jumped out of the car, and sprinted to my building, up the stairs, into my room, grabbed my passport (knowing exactly where it was), dashed back down the stairs (taking care not to trip and fall down them), out of the building, and back to the taxi where the woman was obviously surprised at how quickly I had returned. She started the car as I hopped back in, then pulled off back toward the train station. The ride back to the station was a very quick one again, then I paid her and said thank you several times before dashing back into the station. All in all, it only took me 11 minutes between giving my bags to Taylor and getting back through the doors of the train station… that’s quick!

Seeing as I had time before I had to be back on the train, I decided to run up to the information desk before getting on the train just to be sure I knew exactly which trains we needed to take. After being told which train to take to Schwandorf, then to switch trains, I headed back down to Taylor. He was surprised to see me so soon, and just as he was getting ready to leave, I saw Katy round the corner. Yay! We had both made it! And with time to spare! At this point, I told her to go get food (she had been hungry for some time) but she showed me that she had already gotten some, so I went to go get some myself. I returned back to the platform just as the train was arriving- how convenient. We boarded the train and claimed a compartment, excited that we had made the train, but also realizing we had one more train change to make.

Only a few minutes after we had left Regensburg, a lady came through checking tickets. When she asked for ours, she told us that the train was going to split in Schwandorf and that we needed to go to the last 4 compartments to continue onto Prague. Great! We didn’t have to switch trains after all. We just had to move down the train. We gathered our belongings and headed down to the correct compartments, behind a guy doing the same thing. We made small talk as we walked, and started looking for compartments. I found one that had 5 seats open, so we all sat down and started talking.

Robert was from Australia and had been living in London for the past 2 years working. He had just quit his job to travel around with some of his buddies before going back home, giving him about a month to travel. He was coming from Munich (Oktoberfest, duh) and headed to Prague when he got kicked off the train for not having the right ticket. For the rest of the ride we got to know each other better and decided we would meet up again the next day to explore around and go on a free walking tour together.

An hour or so after we had left Regensburg, the train stopped again and the door swung open, “Poliezi”. And what do you know, a familiar face… the blonde policeman. Hey! See! We DO have our passports! Yes right here! See?! Then he calls over another familiar face, the brunette polieceman! HELLO! Yes we did get our passports! They were all the way in Regensburg. Where? At our studentenheim (dorms). Yes, that is a long way, but we made it! We shared a minute or two of small talk, some laughs (I’m sure they were probably laughing at us and not with us, but we deserved it) and they wished us a happy trip. Wow, what a crazy day… but it isn’t over yet!

We finally get to Prague and get ready to get off the train, only to be told by a woman that this isn’t the main Prague train station, thank you! Almost another hiccup in our journey. We pull into the main Prague station and get off the train. Ahh… Prague… we are here… finally. Now all we have to do is make it to our hostel. A little background on the Prague train station. It is well known for pickpockets and shadiness. In fact, it is one of the most dangerous, if not THE most dangerous, train station in Europe. We were all three very aware of this, so we kept a lookout. So we are in Prague, with no map and only a little but of money (they use Crowns). We head down to the information desk, Robert pulls some money out of the ATM, and we ask for maps and directions to the hostel. The woman then hands us maps in Italian and informs us she can’t tell us directions because she isn’t from Prague. Then why are you at the Prague information center if you can’t give us any information?! Frustrated, we leave to figure it out on our own.

Robert figures out he has to take the metro to his hostel, while Katy and I are supposed to take the tram. We walk outside, see the tram a few hundred yards away, and Robert leaves us (because we said we would be ok… not). Just as we begin to walk toward the tram, like 4 shady guys appear down the tree and bush lined alley. Ok, lets not walk into our death sentence. We decide to walk back into the train station. There, we decide that it is worth 14 each to take the taxi and not have to question our safety. Funny thing was, the hallway we had to walk down to get to the taxi was super shady too, but we made it to the pick up area and got in the taxi. Less than 2 minutes later we were in front of our hostel. We called Kim and she didn’t answer her phone, so we decided to text her. She said to ring the bell and the woman would let us in. We tried, no answer. All the while, there are 2 shady guys standing outside our hostel, literally directly in front of our door. We started getting uneasy, so we messaged Kim again, telling her to hurry because we didn’t feel safe. The guys finally left (after what I could swear was a drug deal) and some other people arrived drunk and started to stumble into the hostel just as Kim was coming down to get us.

We had finally made it to our hostel in Prague. After 9 hours on 5 trains, a lot of running around, and many many almost-mishaps, we had finally made it. Time for bed!!

The next morning, Katy, Kim and I woke up and met Robert in front of the clock tower just before the walking tour. Some of our friends that had been to Prague before told us it was a great walking tour, and it was free! (except for the tip you leave at the end). Anyway, we enjoyed the tour. We got to see most of Prague, and got to eat lunch at this great little English-speaking Bagel shop that was actually really good and had great prices. We got to hear little bits and pieces of Prague history and what some of the major buildings were, so that was fun as well.

After the tour, Kim left to go back to a specific museum while Katy, Robert and I all climbed up to the metronome across the river in search for a beer garden that had been mentioned on the tour. When we got there, we got to see great views of the city, but didn’t find a beer garden. We walked around for a bit until we found a restaurant and enjoyed a great Czech beer (some people say they are better than German beer- I’m not going to state an opinion haha). After meeting back up with Kim, we all decided to go out to this little restaurant that was suggested on the tour (and it was also stated that there would be no tourists out that far, and he was right, it was far out). We all ordered traditional Czech food and enjoyed it, then headed back into the city to go on a Pub Crawl that was run by a sister organization to our tour that we had taken earlier in the day. We got to go to 4 different bars (the first being the London bar from the movie Road Trip), 3 of which were dance clubs. We had a great time, met several great people, then went to sleep.

The next day we slept in, then met Steve and spent just walking around the city, retracing our steps from the tour at some parts, others just wandering aimlessly, but making sure we told Steve the best stories from the day before. It was really fun to see the different types of buildings around Prague, especially in the “Jewish Ghetto”. At one point, we were walking down the street and we see a little crowd up ahead. I didn’t think much about it, then Robert said he thought they were some of the Polish people we had seen around that day (there was a Czech Republic vs Poland soccer game that night in Prague). All of a sudden a solid wall of Polish people was formed up the street and were slowly making its way toward us. It actually kinda freaked me out, not going to lie. As they got closer and closer, we realized that there were TONS of Polish fans, surrounded by police (that looked- no kidding- like a SWAT team or something, see pictures). We found a little area to duck out of the way, and watched in amazement as the Polish paraded toward the stadium, screaming, singing, and chanting the entire way. Later we would be told to be sure to stay off the streets that night after the game, because apparently they can get pretty dangerous no matter who wins and loses.

After our encounter with the Polish, we finished walking around the city and walked along the St. Charles Bridge, listening to bands playing and admiring the artwork.

Our third day in Prague (or really just the hours before we had to be at the train station) we spent walking over to the other side of the river and trying to make our way up to the castle. It started POURING down rain, and I wasn’t feeling the best, so Katy and I opted to wait in a coffee shop as Steve went up to explore the castle. After an hour or so, we all made it back to our train and headed back to Regensburg.

This weekend was a crazy one though. Starting with the whole Passport debacle and having to pay a ton of money to drive us less than 2 minutes, we realized the weekend was cursed. At one point we were up to 7 different accidents that could’ve ruined the weekend (including Katy dropping and breaking her camera), but we all had such a great time AND we met Robert, so it all equaled out. I do have to say I LOVED Prague and hope to return again someday!
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Comments

Sue Ann Gosdoski on

Okay so what happened the next morning? You have left me hanging here......

ab10
ab10 on

sorry- i will be sure to finish the prague blog as soon as i get a chance...

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