Day 382: Up

Trip Start Dec 14, 2011
Trip End Aug 16, 2013

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Flag of Germany  , Bavaria,
Saturday, December 29, 2012

Travel days are the days where it's reinforced how very much a weirdo I am. Unfortunately, Wiebke was here to witness it this time. I can maintain a semblance of normal until I am sleeping right next to someone.

So she probably noticed when I rolled out of bed even before the alarm clock this morning. But she definitely noticed it when she came into her kitchen, still in pajamas and rubbing her eyes sleepily, to find me sitting bright eyed and bushy tailed, fully dressed, and ready to get on a train at 4 o'clock in the morning. Considering we had all gone to bed well after midnight and I had gotten up a full half hour early with no electronic assistance, yeah... What can I say? Travel is better than caffeine for me.

So I browsed the internet, sipped multiple cups of coffee, rechecked my makeup, cut and ate a mango, and scavenged on the leftovers from last night while watching Wiebke and Nils struggle to get ready. All the while, I was trying hard to not seem impatient - can't expect everyone to be as perky as me in the face of impending tourism. 

Finally we were ready to go. It was really lucky to have Nils there to drive us to the train, because otherwise we would have probably missed it entirely, as we were running late even with the car. Once all our luggage was thrown into the trunk and we were mostly buckled in, he gunned it down the mostly deserted Leopoldstraße. 

We quickly paid for our tickets to and from Prague. It's lucky that I'm a repeat visitor to Bohemia, because otherwise I wouldn't have probably known that the Bayern-Boehmen ticket is valid both ways on the Munich-Plzen route (and actually, in all of Bavaria and western Czech Republic) but only purchasable in the German portion of the region. The we had to run through the train station - the rush to get on the train/plane/whatever will probably never change with me, just like the freaky waking up early and with ease. And we made it, albeit panting and cursing our inabilities to get on the train early, and began the search for the holy grail of early morning train travel: a dark, empty train carriage. 

Alas, none were to be found, but we did manage one with only a single man sitting inside. He was drinking a beer quietly, so we figured it was almost empty anyway. After stowing our bags and hanging up our coats, we kicked back and started talking about the Czech Republic. This was one case when I actually knew more than someone about the destination, so I was happily chattering away about all the places I had seen, good food I had eaten, the few words I had managed to learn in the year I'd been working on the Czech language, the culture shock, whatever. Suddenly the quiet beer drinker piped up, "where are you going, Plzen or Prague?" 

"Oh... Prague." I said.

"Would you mind being quiet and letting me sleep then?" He said.

Wiebke and I looked at each other, then at this guy who apparently wanted us to remain in silence for the next five hours. I quickly apologized but wished that I had instead given him a piece of my mind, fantasizing about all of the witty things I could have said to him. But I kept my mouth shut. For an hour or so, we managed to whisper back and forth a couple of times, and each time, the man who had since knocked back his beer and laid down underneath his coat would turn and stare melodramatically at the two of us until we stopped talking. Generally though, I kept compliant and listened to music on my phone. The carriage next to ours was full of ridiculously shriek-y young girls who sounded like they were on their way home from Munich. Every time they got especially loud, the man would again turn around and shoot daggers at us out of his eyes, as if we were responsible for those girls too. 

The train had almost reached Regensburg, and we were getting pretty fed up of being in the contents of an annoying sandwich. As luck would have it though, we heard the rustling and belonging-gathering sounds from our neighbors next door as we pulled into the train station. Wiebke and I looked at each other and gathered our stuff too, and as the party girls left, we were practically already settled with our bags and stretched out on our own individual couches. We turned out the light and chatted as we pleased from then on. Ahhhh, luxury. And from then on, every time we pulled into a new station on the way to our destination, I glared as unwelcomingly as I could at whoever dared peer into our personal area. I didn't mind sharing in theory, but we had already dealt with two annoying parties this time. No way would I risk it again.

For the rest of the time, I did my thing and Wiebke did hers. That is - she slept like most people would as the sun stayed well below the horizon, and I didn't.

Something I learned today: Choose your train compartment wisely, and act like a predator/scavenger hybrid when a free one opens up.
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