Journey from Karlovy Vary to Salzburg, Austria

Trip Start May 18, 2007
Trip End Jul 18, 2007

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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Hi everybody:

Today was a huge travel day for us which involved trains, taxi's and buses! The alarm clock woke us up at 5:00am. With only 4 hrs of sleep we hopped the taxi and were dropped at the local bus station, which appeared to be in the middle of no-Czech-where. The bus was to take off at 7:30am and he loaded us up at 6:45am (good thing we were early). We rode with all the local folks inclusive of at least 20 different villages picking up school children and commuters. It was crazy and we thought it odd that the driver took off so early with only a few on the bus but we soon realized why - by the time we arrived in Pilzen 1.5 hr later it was standing room only on board! Quite an interesting Czech experience.

We caught a cab from the bus station with Mr. Stinky, who was in desperate need of a
L O N G shower and petrol. The fuel gauge was well below the bottom of the red and our fare probably filled his tank. The Czech train station was a beauty! No one spoke English and trying to understand which platform to wait at was difficult. We finally found a dude who spoke English (he was one of the standing commuters from our bus ride), who translated what the information and train board read to us. We are learning a lot about riding trains in Europe (Sammy - you would appreciate this ride!).

Today's travel route: 6:45 am - 5:00pm
--Taxi - Hotel Ontario from Karlovy Vary to bus station
--Bus - Karlovy Vary to Pilzen (home of the Pilsner Beer)
--Train - Pilzen to Landshut, Germany
--Train - Change trains in Landshut to final destination, Salzburg
--Taxi - Salzburg train station to Wolf-Dietrich Hotel, Old Town Salzburg

Now, this might appear to be a simple day to you all. Everything was going well. Then things got really interesting on the Pilzen to Landshut leg. We were enjoying the train ride, reading our books, when the conductor came by for the 2nd time to check our tickets. Not a problem until he yelled out "Nurenberg". We looked at each other and Ryan, sweet thing that he is, just looked at me and back down to read his book. Well, you all know Laurie can't settle for that when all the maps were strewn about and Nurenberg was NOT on the route. Laurie told Ryan that it might be a good thought to go ask the conductor if we were on the right train. Little did we know (we know NOW) that this train was splitting off to go in two different directions in just a few minutes....another Oh Shit Moment for us!! The look on Ryan's face with this realization meant we had to grab all the gear and HUSTLE. The nice conductor pulled out a map to show us where the split was occurring, meaning that we had to bust our butts down 3 cars to get onto the right car for Landshut! Now you all know that we have EXTRA LARGE Columbia Sportswear roller bags on board and the space to "roll" these bags is not generous. We made it just fine laughing the entire way.

The train was moving kind of slow (GPS reading of ~58 miles/hr) so we were worried about our connection at Landshut. The schedule allowed 13 minutes to change platforms, which in our current luggage state was a stretch. We arrived late so guess what? Forget 13 minutes - we had about 3 min to hop off and RUN LIKE HELL, drag our bags DOWN two flights of stairs, RUN through the tunnel, back UP two flights of stairs and literally fly onto the train! Good thing Ryan has been dragging our butts up and down hills and hundreds of steps as we were ready for the sprint! Ryan's backpack barely squeezed through the door before that train was off and running. Oh Shit Moment yet another good learning - always look at the little white pieces of paper in the windows of the train AND pack light! Forget it.

The journey was beautiful and arrived into Salzburg under warm and sunny skies around 5:00pm. Our room is beautiful but here we go again... we did not pre-book from Karlovy Vary because we had no internet access and we got the last room in town at the Wolf-Dietrich hotel on the 4th floor with NO elevator. Remember those big bags? We were smart and pre-arranged to have a porter drag those sorry bags up the 4 flights - he almost had a heart attack!

For dinner Laurie had Weiner Schnitzel (Vienna style which meant fried = stick in Laurie's gut all night), and Ryan settled for a pizza which was super big. Wandered around the Old Town of Salzburg and before calling it a day, we tried out the hotel sauna, steam room and pool. Nice way to end a very long travel day.

Tomorrow we are headed to Hallstatt for a day trip.

Today's walk: 4.5 miles
Total for the journey (75 miles, 14 days)

Thanks everyone for all your fun notes to our blog. We enjoy reading them in the evenings.

Ryan and Laurie

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