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La Vie Boheme in Prague

Soundtrack: "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen

The train trip from Cologne to Prague was a revelation: it was actually possible for me to take a long and complicated train trip without doing anything wrong. Although there were two seperate occasions where I almost stepped off a train at the wrong stop, I managed not to screw up on my travel plans. I made each connection with plenty of time, made it to the right platform, with all my stuff. The train went to the right place, and passport control didn't bother me.

However, this does not mean that I had a pleasant trip.

For starters, the sore throat and cough that began to develop my first day in Holland developed into a full-fledged disease. And, with my paranoia about my bad travel karma in full effect, I spent most of my trip trying to convince myself that I had not picked up the Spanish influenza from visiting the mass graves in Belfast Cemetery. It's much more likely that I got sick from drinking for 24 hours straight with Nick, at that cesspool of disease and iniquity known as Prince's St. Backpackers. That heavy drinking, followed by staying awake for nearly 48 hours straight, is a more likely cause for disease than my awaking a disease that'd been buried for 80 years in a high traffic cemetery.

But illness wasn't the only thing putting this train trip in the running for Worst Ever. The Prague Express from Frankfurt is a 9 hour long haul of a trip, crossing most of the length of central Germany. It was also the only German-Czech express running after the previous month's flooding wiped out the connection between northern Czech and eastern Germany. Which meant it was crowded. I was crammed into a six person compartment with five people, four carrying the ordinary load of luggage, and one who had as much luggage as the rest of us combined. For half of the trip, whenever one person would leave, another would take their place. I spent four hours balancing on my wallet, unable to uncross my legs without getting out of the compartment. It wasn't until Nuremberg that enough left for the remaining three of us to stretch out.

I later got the entire compartment to myself at the Czech border, when the two remaining Italian boys were kicked out by an armed cop for not having passports, only I.D. cards (which are all they needed to travel around the EU. I do wonder what happened to those boys--how their travels went after being abandoned at 4am in Marktredwitz, a town so small it dididn't appear on my road map.

Even with the entire compartment to myself, I was unable to sleep, since there were two compartments next to me of drunken Germans, who spent the entire night consuming an inexhaustible supply of wine, and who would burst into song whenever they were asked to keep it down.

I arrived in Prague at 7am, managed to snag a hostel bed at the first hostel I arrived at, and promptly fell asleep until 3pm.


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This page last updated on 25 February, 2003. Ruehe ruehe ueber alles.
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