“It’s like we’re literally in prison right now,” and “god, it’s like all they want you to do in here is sleep,” are only two among a string of such astute observations that lulled me into a peaceful slumber on the train last night. I got to hear all about the Krakow nightlife. I missed the marathon of 6 AM nights, since I was waking up two full hours before then.
I felt bad for the older lady on one of the bunks who didn’t have earplugs. I would have offered her my extra pair, but they had already been in my ears so that’s pretty gross. Still not sure which would be worse, though… Listening to the drivel of other travelers, or wearing waxy earplugs. These are the people who make my age group look bad.
I gave them 15 minutes before I put my foot down about the lights. I know it’s shocking, but people do actually plan to sleep on overnight trains.
After this, the night was fine. Polish overnight trains are a little sketchy. The sheets were square and could in no way cover the whole bunk, the lights were kinda broken, but these things are all part of the adventure.
I slept as well as one can on a train, and felt pretty refreshed upon arriving in Prague. It was 7:30. Now, my accommodation in Prague is a little unusual. A friend of mine from Kansas City, Nick, had heard I was coming to Prague and introduced me via Facebook to his local friend Zuzana. Zuzana and I had been communicating for the past few weeks and I am convinced there is not a kinder person. She found me an apartment to stay in. It belongs to one of her friends, but since he isn’t staying there at the moment he rents it out cheaply.
To get the key to the place, I had to go to his boyfriend’s hair studio. This was the easy part, since it’s basically right across the street from the train station. I get there fine, but find out that he doesn’t arrive in until 9:00.
At this point I’m pretty hungry, so I’m not terribly upset by the idea of finding food and coffee and wifi. I started to walk around, looking for a cafe. for some reason in this part of Prague, none open before 9:00. My bag starts to feel heavy after a while so I cut my losses and head back to the train station. If nothing else, I know it will be good for a Burger King.
To my delight, there’s a little place there with all of the things I was looking for. Food, caffeine, wifi. There, I had one of the best omelettes of my life. I was incredibly hungry since last night I’d only had a twix for dinner, but it was a hot, substantial omelette made with bacon. It really hit the spot.
My blog yesterday prompted a lot of support for me going to join Jolie in Athens. Flying was indeed an option I hadn’t really considered. I really had wanted to go to Greece during this trip, it just never really made financial or logistical sense. It still doesnt, but I didn’t take much persuading. I am going to Athens. I am SO excited to see Jolie. I found a relatively reasonable flight, and I leave Prague Friday morning.
The only city I’m really missing is going to be Salzburg. As much as I love The Sound of Music and wanted to see this city that my mom is so in love with, it will have to wait for another trip. It’s now on my long list of good reasons to return someday to Europe.
I had been planning on spending a lot of time in Prague and looking forward to spending more than a couple days in one place. Knowing that I only had two full days changed my plans. Kutna Hora, a small town outside of Prague, was high on my list, so I decided that would be how I spent my day.
After I got the keys to the apartment and dropped off the money for it, I headed back to the train station. I dropped my bag in a locker and hopped on the next train out.
For some reason, an hour on the train feels so much shorter than an hour in the car. Also, something about trains always makes me sleepy. Maybe these two things are related, since I spend a lot of train travel time dozing. The train went to a station outside the city, and then I had to transfer for a short 10 minute ride into the main station. This is what I was told to do when I bought my tickets in Prague. I had it on good authority that this station was closest to all of the sights.
It’s quite a small station, but it makes sense because Kutna Hora is a small place. The primary draw for me was the Ossuary, a small Roman Catholic Church decorated with tens of thousands of human skeletons. I asked the one lady working at the train station where this was located, but there was a troublesome language barrier. She tried to tell me to go back to the last train station.
I decide to ignore this advice, and I turn around to see another girl about my age looking frustrated. Apparently, she had just been at the last station. They told her to come here, and now she was being told to go back there. I introduced myself, then my new friend Nicky and I decided to join forced. Outside the train station we were in some strange residential block of new, crummy apartment building. An English speaker walking a dog told us that it was a two mile walk to the church but a straigh shot. Hoping he actually meant kilometers but said miles because he could tell we were Americans, we set off in that direction.
The walk was pretty short. It was very sunny, even hot, which was a nice change from Poland. We found the Ossuary with no problems.
It was a really bizarre place, but small. It was a pretty quick stop.
I can’t remember why they suddenly has such a surplus of dead bodies in this town that they ran out of room in the graveyards. Whatever happened, I’m glad it did. There were large pyramids made of bones, which were hard to photograph, but everything else was mad of bones too. Chains of bones were hanging from the ceiling. The chandelier was made of skulls and femurs. There was even a crest made of bones. It was wild and so morbid. What possesses people to create something like this? Other cities with extra humans laying around do normal things, like create catacombs. What happened in Kutna Hora that this was the natural thing to do?
We had a few hours til a train back. We stopped in a cathedral and had lunch. We accidentally killed a little too much time and then missed this train. The next train left in an hour, which was almost as long as it took us to find the train station again.
Nicky and I were back in Prague by 7:00 and went our separate ways. I was meeting Zuzana in an hour, which wasn’t enough time to drop my bag off at my apartment. I instead had a coffee and a snack. When I’m really tired, I have to eat a lot more often just to keep my energy up. It took me longer than I expected to get to her, so I was a few minutes late, but this was fine.
Zuzana is so sweet and wonderful in real life. She showed me all around Prague. One of the first things we saw was the Charles Bridge, from afar. It looks like something from Beauty and the Beast, enchanted. Later on, we passed over it. It’s actually kind of a small city, and we did a lot of walking. Some parts felt like Before Sunrise, like when we walked past a window and some young teens were practicing piano on the other side.
When we were on the Charles Bridge, near the end of our evening, she told me that this place was so romantic that if she were a man she would have to kiss me there. Someday, I’ll come back with Matthew.
We passed a church that had been turned into a nightclub and took a peek inside. It was so strange. Tourist traffic really drives up the demand for discotheques, which is something I don’t like or understand. You can get drunk and party anywhere in the world, like at home. Why would you waste your precious, limited time abroad on that? And then waste more time recovering from your hangover the next day?
We saw some pretty squares and the astrological clock. I am really excited to explore again in the morning. There are some free walking tours, which I always love.
Time got away from us a bit. We were about to part ways at 11:30, but the metro closes at 12:00 and I wasn’t sure if I could make it to the train station, get my luggage, and back to the correct metro line on time. Since I didn’t have a phone, Zuzana came with me as far as the train station. She was impressed by the smallness of my luggage. I’m proud of it! It’s a small bag for a month.
In the end, I had no problem with time. I found the apartment quite easily. It’s a designer’s, and you can tell. It’s impossibly modern and clean. It’s so nice to be alone, too. I don’t have to worry about other people waking me up at all hours of the night, or where I will leave my things during the day that they’ll be safe. And I so deserve a good night’s sleep.