City Night Line + Prague Day 1
Trip Start Jun 11, 2013
13Trip End Jul 15, 2013
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We boarded our train and found the six-person couchette according to our reservations. It was a very tight cabin with three vertical bunk beds per side. I was on the top left bunk and Ramsey on middle left bunk bed. In the beginning everything seemed decent. We had a small sandwich each, large bottle of water, and I brought a tiny bottle of wine. We ate our small sandwiches and tried to get situated in our small bunk. How the experience transpired from unpleasant to dreadful. Actually, dreadful is an understatement. We boarded the train at 7:00 PM Wednesday evening. We were scheduled to arrive in Prague at 9:00 AM Thursday Morning. What was so dreadful? We did not arrive in Prague until 2:00 PM. We did not have access to a food or cart, completely impossible to attain food or drink for the entire trip. What could be worse? NO Air Conditioning, and the window in our couchette was broken and would not go down like the others. So imagine, six people cramped into bunks, sweating, hungry, thirsty, and miserable. FOR 17 HOURS! I plan to file some sort of formal complaint about this, it was brutal. This was unexpected and consumed hours from planned activities in Prague "Day One". The reason the trip extended is unknown, possibly due to the recent flooding in Prague. To note; I did not fully understand travel days when planning this trip. So I calculated my days per city, booked the hotels and trains, and was content with my formula. What I had not considered was travel days. We sit on a train for an entire half day, check in our hotel when we arrive, and by that time it really isn't considered a day. Whenever I plan detailed excursions like this, my new experiences will be a tremendous benefit. So I am sure sharing this experience was a very negative thing to read, but I am only realistically relaying the experience. It is, in fact, apart of our travel experience and fortunately (So far) our worst encounter.
The best news? We made it to Prague!
Prague, Czech Republic Day One
Praha, at last! We collected our luggage and dashed out of the sweatbox train into Praha Hlavi N’dair Station. All of the hostel information is organized with addresses, reservations, etc. So we are easily able to find transportation or walk for check in. After the train experience, we agreed that a cab was justifiable. A short and overpriced cab ride later, we checked into “Sir Toby’s Hostel”. My Hostel Book had given them a great review, which is always comforting. The concierge was polite, thorough, and quick to explain maps and recommendations for dinner. The kind of concierge that you pay for. Our room was named the “Mali Sen” Suite. It, at that point, was the largest accommodation we’ve had including a kitchen and luggage space (so it isn’t clustered all over the floor). We were more than pleased with our first impression of Sir Toby’s and they had working Wi-Fi. After the train ride from hell, we took quick showers and composed ourselves to visit the basement bar and outdoor terrace. The shower is dangerous! Only two options- scalding hot or freezing cold. There is no special medium with meticulous adjustment. It was a decision, hot or cold shower? Anyway, we were grateful for what we had. Sir Toby’s bar was in the basement. It was a lovely cellar with old world arcs made of large stone and dim lighting. The outdoor terrace was cute and eclectic. The back of the building was covered in full vine and they had an assortment of mini gardens throughout the patio space. Sitting down, I quickly noticed something familiar about all of the tables. They were all antique sewing machine tables with the metal foot pedal and all. To me, that was impressively creative and resourceful! In the charming terrace, we met a couple from Las Vegas, Jason and Heather. She had just finished her Doctorate in Physical Therapy and he was a football coach. When the conversation arrived at Texas, and Texas A&M, Jason immediately responded “Johnny Manziel”. Ha! Not only did he know that (easy information), he acknowledged B. Bryant and the Junction Boys (not easy information, very impressive). We enjoyed their company in the small dose, and moved on to venture into the Prague streets and to find an ATM. This currency exchange was great and unbelievably cheap cheap! On the streets, the weather was very hot and there was construction surrounding the hostel’s district. We stopped into an underground Pub, “Zlata Kovadlina”. Ramsey ordered a Zlatopramen (Local Beer) and I ordered Bila Vina – Weissweine (local white wine). We were famished from the train and approved of the authentic pub, so we tried to decipher the Czech menu. For starter, we ordered a Shrimp Cocktail, because in my mind it is a cold dish with large and cold jumbo shrimp surrounding a cocktail full of the red sauce. Is that what your mind imagines when you think of a shrimp cocktail? My refreshing vision halted when we were served an unknown creamy sauce with penny size shrimp, covered in whip cream, with lots of toast. We’ve learned that they are all about the toast. So the cocktail was unusual. For the Entrée, we ordered Devil’s Toast; Svickova Roast beef with whip sauce, cranberries and dumplings for Ramsey. Venison Goulash Zlata Kovadlina with Horseradish and bacon dumplings for Jenna. Ramsey’s pick was for sure the winner, but I loved the Devils toast. Toast covered in mincemeat. When my selection was served, it was strange looking at first sight. To pacify the potentially foul first bite, (because you never know)… I naturally scooped an overgenerous spoonful of the mozzarella cheese too covering the first bite. Cheese makes everything better in my world, not at all in Ramsey’s. I try the first taste. My body’s reaction happened so fast, it was involuntary. Immediately spit out, coughing, watering eyes, hurt throat, could not smell or taste, etc. Over exaggerating? I took a huge bite of what appeared to be cheese and was not. Horseradish. Over a spoonful of Horseradish. I thought my throat was closing, and am forever ruined of that taste, smell, or sight. I got over the near allergic reaction and finished my meal discarding anything touching the horseradish. Of all of the food, the Devil’s toast was my favorite! Back to Sir Toby’s, we talked a bit more with the Nevada couple and retreated to settle into our room. So excited for the Old World Prague!