Friday, October 1

flashback friday: the hell train to prague

Lovely green fields sprinkled with glowers. Wild flowers in fact, of white and lavender. Then we enter the woods, tall green trees with grass and small shrubs scattering the floor. A lot like Oregon in fact. We are traveling awfully slow. I wonder why... This train seems to be dallying, letting me enjoy the views and landscapes of the Czech Republic.

This picturesque train ride is a bit lovelier than our Hell Train to Prague. Boarding in Würzburg, originating in Frankfurt, we boarded at 1 am or so. We enter and find every seat and compartment is filled. Maybe we should have made seating reservations? Oh well, too late now. So, not only are the seats filled, oh no, they are filled with drunken German football players. A whole team perhaps. Drunk, loud, smoking, singing and running from compartment to compartment, car to car. The five of us scurry on and try to find some seats. Any seats. The closest we find is some floor space outside the WC at the end of the car.

Scotty in the stairwell, Ester, myself and Walt, blocking the door to the bathroom. They plan was to sleep on this train, arriving in Prague around 830. We soon realize this plan will be unsuccessful at best. Jeanine and Scotty are sitting in the stairwells opposite each other. Every time the drunkards blow through the doors, they are slammed into Jeanine and Scott's backs. This I do not envy. However our seats on the floor are less than grand, with our boney behinds drilling into the floor, and our backs aching from leaning on the wall. Our backpacks make horrible pillows, but we try to make do.

Ester and Walt and I are all leaning on each other, attempting to leave a path for the drunks to move from car to car. Not that this matter much because they trip over us no matter what. They also try to talk to us, offer us beer, and spill beer on us, even though we are so obviously trying to sleep. They also want to use the restroom behind us, but there is no way in hell we are getting up every 30 seconds. We joke that we need a black marker and tape to put up an out of order sign up. A good idea, except for the fact that none of us actually know how to say "out of order" in Deutsch. Luckily there is a bathroom in the next car that we refer them to. One trip to that bathroom I en counted a man urinating in the stairwell. I guess he couldn't wait; when you gotta go, you gotta go. I however opt to wait, although the situation in that WC is a whole other story.

So we attempt to sleep. I think I may have gotten 20 minutes. Maybe. Walt and I decide to go look for seats. At the other end of the car we find 11 other Americans standing in the same place we are sitting. I realize there are no seats and am thankful that at least we an sit. Poor Jeanine keeps getting jammed in her back by that damn door. And every time it opens we are hit by the stench of smoke, beer and urine like a punch in the fact. So, at around 315 we arrive in Nüremberg. Passengers attempt to board, and turn around and get off. Full house, sorry guys. So we wait. and wait. and wait.


kill meeeeeeeee

Still sitting in Nüremberg a guy makes something like four phone calls to Lord knows who, laughing and yelling at the top of his lungs. No sleeping for us. The dude then attempts to open a beer and sprays half of it all over the floor and the other half on Jeanine. What a douche. Then we sit there for like another 30 minutes, for only Lord knows why. Finally we get moving. Jeanine and Walt talk, Ester and Scotty sleep and I attempt to rest. I am in a interesting state; definitely not asleep, but not really awake either. 4:10 the doors fly open. Passport check. We must be close to the border now. Some German guy runs by, yelling sheisse! Sheisse! SHEISSE!!! (shit!), and something about his passport being in another car.

Then somewhere in the Czech Republic people start gathering their stuff. Some guy drops his bag on me and wakes me up. There are 5 or 6 guys getting off at the next stop. Its only 430 so we definitely aren't in Prague yet. I stand up to make some room. We then realize that these guys WERE sitting and have left empty seats somewhere. I wake up Walt to ask them where. I picked up my bags and told Walt and Jeanine to go for it. What happened next was the funniest thing I've seen. I leaned over Ester and Scott and yelled, "SEATS! SEATS! GET UP GET UP! WE'VE GOT SEATS!" They literally sprang up from the floor, bags in hand without missing a beat. We weren't sure if the rooms really were vacant, but at this point we didn't care.

We piled into that tiny compartment, threw our bags up, slammed the door shut and shut the curtains. They couldn't kick us out even if they had wanted to. After this point we had a more or less uneventful ride into Prague. Arriving on time at 830, with more or less three hours of crappy sleep, we deboarded and tried to freshen ourselves up in the Prague train station restroom. Having the hell train behind us, we exited the station determined to have a glorious time in Prague, in order to make the hell train ride worth it.

The Hell Train? Totally worth it!
July, 2006

4 comments:

Ed said...

You're a world traveler and shit.

Wicked Shawn said...

I've always wanted to go. I still say I will go. I hope to do so when drama queen heads out in 3 years.

Brahm (alfred lives here) said...

On the list, have always wanted to go there.

Hope I get the memorable adventures and stories like you do!

Anonymous said...

I would like to exchange links with your site anne-a-bell.blogspot.com
Is this possible?