I just had one of the best trains Atlantic flights I've ever taken thanks to a few tricks such as asking for a middle seat in a row of three, a non full plane, a mild sedative, and a glass of red wine. I was able to stretch out with my comfy pillow, blanket, eye mask and ear plugs and pretty much slept for the entire eight hour flight. The food wasn't really worth staying awake for as Air Transat has cut right back in this department only offering a hot sandwich and a piece of banana bread for breakfast.
Since I only had a carry on I beat everyone to customs wherethe bored looking official didn't ask me any questions and spent all of five seconds perusing my passport. I guess I don't look like much of a threat to Czeck security! I grabbed an airport express into the city for about $2 Canadian and had about three hours to spare before my train to Poland so I headed to the Main Street of Vaclavske Namesti.
Prague is full of some beautiful old architecture since it amazingly avoided the devastation of two world wars felt by other European cities. The main boulevard is busy with tourists and the usual restaurants and shops. My first stop was a Vodaphone store to buy a SIM card for my iPhone. A bit expensive at 36 euro for 1.5 Gigs of data but having data is a luxury I always like to have while travelling. Makes me feel a little safer if I can Google directions and being able to translate on the fly is handy!
Finally I sat down and was able to do the thing I was looking forward to the most for my trip to Europe - eat. I bypassed the McDonalds, the Burger King and the Starbucks and instead opted for a cafe with tables set up outside and ordered some goulash soup and a beer. The soup was slightly spicey and full of flavour and was served with a delicious hearty bread that I used to soak up the juices. The meal ended with a refreshing piece of watermelon and the whole thing cost about $8 Canadian. Can't wait to enjoy more food for the next nine days!
I am now sitting on a very bumpy train called the Leo Express which will take me to a town by the name of Ostrava-Svinov on the border of Poland where I will take a bus the rest of the way to Kraków.
Man it's been a long two days and I can't wait to reach a hotel where I can brush my teeth and have a shower!
Addendum: Just had a bit of excitement as the girl across from me just spilled her beer all over our shared table. We managed to quickly move all electronic devices while her boyfriend hunted for napkins or some other absorbent type thingy but the beer did seep through the table soaking my one and only pair of pants...sigh!
I nearly managed to sleep through my stop at Ostava but luckily the train jerking to a stop woke me up and I noticed the sign. I scrambled to grab my bag from the overhead and jumped off but thought I must have made a mistake as the place looked deserted and no one else was disembarking. The problem with travelling in a country where you don't know the language and few people speak English is that you are always in a bit of a state of uncertainty...I guess that's part of the rush. I showed my papers to the train guy and he motioned for me to get back on the train but then he looked at my papers again and quickly motioned me off just before the doors closed. I was the only one standing on a deserted platform besides two women who looked like they were cleaners but they had no clue what I was talking about when I asked for the Tiger Express bus to Kraków. So I made my way out of the station to the street and as I was just beginning to think I would be stuck in some Czeck border town, I saw the little Tiger Express van pull up and the driver had a clip board with my name on it! Next thing I knew I was hustled onto the van, handed a bottle of water and am now on the road to Kraków...hopefully!