The train journey.
Prague Travel Blog› entry 11 of 13 › view all entries
Remember, clicking the + sign to will zoom in on the map to the left and you can see where I am!
I'm on a train going from the middle of Slovakia, Banska Bystrica to the Capital, about 4 hours. More interesting now that it's not raining and I can see.
The train is 20 minutes late into Bratislava. I only have a 6 minute connection. I'll bet I missed the next train. What's this? It's also delayed? 25 minutes?
A huge train pulls into the station. Everyone is crowding on board. I'm supposed to go to Dresden, and this train says Berlin. I don't know what's going on. Should I jump on it and see?
“Mister conductor, look at my ticket. Is this the right train for me? Do you speak English”
but there is a problem.
PRAGUE? I don't want to go to Prague. Should I get off and try another train later? Too late. We're leaving now. I guess I'm on my way to Prague.
I'm hungry. That's ironic, this train originated in Hungary. I'll look for the dining car. Man, this is a long train. No dining car at this end. Go back. No dining car on this end. I get it. No dining car. Period. Good thing I ate my half package of peanuts for breakfast.
It's 4 hours later and the train arrives in Prague. Are we on time? I don't know. I didn't even know I was coming to Prague. What do I do. I guess I go and see a ticket agent.
Oh, theres the lady conductor who stamped my ticket on the train and re-told me I would have to change trains.
“Where do I go to now, conductor lady”
train conductor says “Hurry please.
I barely make it on board with my luggage, he blows a whistle, and the train moves out of the station.
Those train people. Who knew. Another train was waiting for us right across the platform.
I don't even find a seat. I got into the dining car. Brilliant. It's 5:PM and I'm still hungry. I think landing in the dining car is a good thing. I order a beer, and, yes, I'll have the chicken paprika. “What's that? Sure, a salad would be good.” I hope they take Slovakian money. Since I didn't really have my twenty minute connection in Bratislava, I didn't have a chance to change my money.
I have another beer and get the bill. “Can I pay in Slovakian Crowns?”
The waiter pulls out a calculator “703 Crowns. Call it 700” I
pay. Then I take out MY calculator.
Okay, with a full belly and feeling more relaxed because of the beers, I find a seat and start to enjoy the scenery. That's a pretty river we're following.
I look at the schedule I wrote down this morning. I was suppose to arrive in Dresden, Germany at 6:47 PM, and the train to Leipzig leaves at 6:55. A 7 minute connection? Generous.
It's already 7:10 PM when we pull in. Surely I've missed my train. Luckily I wrote down which platform the Dresden to Leipzig train leaves from. There's the sign, Platforms 10-18 this way. I need platform 14. There are a few others running with me.
my god. There's platform 14, and theres a train there. The platform
sign says “Leipzig” What a stroke of luck. As I run along side
the long train looking for a suitable car to get on, someone blows a
whistle! I hurl my bag in the first open door, and grab the bags of
the old couple running with me.
The doors close and we're off. The old couple and I congratulate each other. At least I think that's what we're doing I don't really speak German, but I know “Schnell!”
I try to call Peter Vonbank using the Slovenia SIM card phone. It didn't work in Slovakia. What's this? It appears to be ringing, but I can't be sure. These tones are weird. What if this sound just means the phone doesn't work? Now the tones change to a more rapid beep. What ever.
Peter probably read the e-mail I fired off before I blasted out of the hotel. If not, surely he talked to Steph and Michael, who I copied in on the e-mail. If I can't get a hold of him, I'll just get a hotel. Heck, I probably won't even make it. This train was waiting for us, so now it's late, and I only have a 7 minute connection in Leipzig to begin with.
dark now and I can't really see anything.
“Huh?” I ask. “I no spreken ze Deutch”
“You have to pay more for your ticket, because this is an ICE train, (high speed express) and you have a cheap ticket” some young boys tell me in English.
“6 Euros” the conductor adds. I pay. What ever.
Somewhere in the 1 hour and 10 minute journey, my phone rings. “This is Scott” I answer.
“Scotty?” a voice asks.
this Michael” I ask.
“It's Peter” he says. “Where are you”
“Between Dresden and Leipzig. On the train”
“Where are you going?” he asks.
“I'm coming to Erfurt, to see you!” I exclaim
“When? Tonight?” He asks, surprised.
“You didn't know I was coming? Didn't you get my e-mail? Did Steph and Michael call you? How did you know to call me” I ask.
had my phone off while I was at the cinema.
We talk for a minute more and I give him the details of the train I'm supposed to arrive on, if I make the connection, which is unlikely.
When we pull in to Leipzig, again I know which platform to run to. I bee line it there. Again, another mile long train, but it looks as though it's the only train on this platform. Erfurt is one of the names on the sign. This has to be the train. It too must have been waiting for tardy passengers.
Once on board, I decide not to take any chances. “This train goes to Erfurt? I asked a couple of young girls with Greek flags painted on their faces. (don't ask me why)
no. These cars go to Blah-blah-blah. You need to go to the cars in
WHAT! CRAP! I don't want to go to Blah-blah-blah. I want to go to Erfurt. Do I have time to get out and run to the other cars? BUMP. We're moving. I have a panicked look on my face.
A guy tells me. “Just get off at the next stop, and go forward a few cars, and then you will continue on to Erfurt.
“Can't I just walk through the train to the forward cars” I ask.
“NO” he replies. “These are two trains hooked together, and they will separate at the next stop. But it would be a good idea to walk through the train to the first car, then when we get to the stop, you will only have a little ways to walk to the forward train.”
“Good Idea” I say. I walk as far forward as I can go and wait for the stop. Just as instructed, when the train pulls into the station, I exit, go forward a couple of cars and get back on. Easy as pie.
I can't believe it. I'm actually going to pull this off. A quick call to Peter to tell him I made the connection, and then I can relax with Peter in Erfurt!
I hope he knows a place to get a beer!