The next morning I woke up early and walked to the train station, praying for an uneventful trip to Prague. Of course, Krakow was sending me off with another rain storm, but this time I had been to and from the train station so much I knew exactly where I was going and didn’t spend much time getting wet.
I bought some delicious baked goods at the train station and waited. I boarded around 6:45, found my seat quite quickly and settled in for the 7 hour ride. My car was almost full with four people in the car. One girl had got on with me in Krakow, and another couple at a later stop. The couple was a stereotypical hippie backpacker couple, donning bland synthetic blend windbreakers and pants, hiking socks and boots. They immediately took off their shoes when they sat down facing eachother, which I thought rather rude, and almost reading my thoughts … started sniffing the other’s feet as they stretched their legs out across the aisle. I rolled my eyes and sent them bad vibes.
As we got closer to Prague, it became harder and harder to figure out when my stop was going to arrive, as there were several stations close to and within the city limits at which we stopped. And the announcer wasn’t helping, immediately after leaving one station, she would spout out about 3 minutes worth of Czech (or Polish, couldn’t tell), and then follow it with, “Ladies and gentlemen, …“, and then some incoherent Czenglish (or Penglish, couldn’t tell), and then ‘the train is delayed 15 minutes, we apologize for the delay.‘
Fortunately, everyone else I was with got off at the main station, and I matched the name on my ticket with the one on the platform. I changed some money at the station and then tried to understand the directions given by the hostel. I looked at the network map for the trains and saw that the neighbourhood I thought I was heading to could be reached a different way. Feeling confident on my skills at arriving at, boarding and disembarking from a train between two cities with NO strange occurrences or missteps, I decided to improve a little.
About 30 minutes later I was knocking my head against the aluminum pole in one carriage of the Metro C train, backtracking all the way back to the main train station, so I could follow the hostel’s location word for word.
When I got off the train at the Vitavska stop, waiting to transfer at a tram stop, a girl approached me and asked if I speak English. She then asked if I was heading to Sir Toby’s hostel, and then let out a big sigh as she found out she was in fact going in the right direction. We arrived together, and much to my dismay, I had to stand there with my pack, waiting for the receptionist to give us the check-in spiel as if we were traveling together. “Damnit woman just give me the key and let me go!!”
I unloaded my things in the 10-share and immediately made use of the free wifi.
Something I’m noticing most places I go, is that there’s always hostels, usually the most popular or best ones, that have free wifi. Now, they may not always have free computers to use, but if you have your own laptop, they’ll provide the internet access. It’s quite amazing, I’ve managed to come all the way from Munich to the Czech Republic, with free internet access at every destination.
I headed out of the hostel and to the Prague markets, just down the road. The markets are home to stalls selling everything from fake Louis Vuitton bags to throwing stars and zippos to traditional Czech potato pancakes. There was even a guy running around asking me if I wanted a sony camera, and then pulling one out of his pocket while his eyes darted from side to side. I bought a zapiekanka, that french-bread pizza type thing that was popular in Poland, and then walked around the area.
The hostel’s neighbourhood, Holesovice, was across the river, just northeast of the city. Other than the markets, I don’t think it’s known for anything, but there was a collection of bars and cafes around the area. I found a guy selling fruit on the sidewalk and bought some food for the next day. Then I hit a supermarket to pick up some more stuff that guys on the sidewalk just can’t provide. That’s when I saw it. The thing I had been searching for since Munich. Peanut butter.
For some reason, I hadn’t been able to find any peanut butter in either Budapest or Krakow, but the Albert supermarket in Prague stocked Skippy. Excited, I picked it up, along with some honey and bread and feasted on my old favorite when I got back to the hostel.
There was a bar in the basement of the hostel so I went down there for a drink. The girl who came in with me was there too, and she had met up with her friend who was only 20 minutes behind her in getting into town. I sat down next to them and tried to catch her eye just to say hello. I did several times, but she simply didn’t acknowledge me at all. She and her friend were engrossed in some conversation which was engrossed in themselves, and both of them were completely ignoring me. Not that I cared, I had brought my journal so I just wrote and finished my beer, I just thought it was a bit rude.