Posted by: rngerlach | June 11, 2007

Train Ride From Hell

One thing about traveling in the Czech or most other European countries is that it takes twice the time to do some simple things as it would in America, ie. laundry, mailing from post offices, etc. The train stations in Prague were hell, we had no clue where to go and there was no way any locals were going to help two Western travellers. Too many tourists in Prague for the locals to consider being kind to us, which makes for an even more interesting experience.

Well it all seemed that we were golden once we boarded our train from Prague to Vienna. Until we could not find a seat in any compartments. The train has no air conditioning, thus incredibly hot and humid. So we stand for a while at the end of one of the cars by the toilets and wait. Finally a steward comes and places us in a compartment in the smoking section with a German man and a Czech woman who roll through cigarettes minute by minute. So there we are sitting `first class´in our four hour train ride in hot, humid, smoke-filled compartment listening to the couple rabble off Czech and inhale packs of smokes. Beads of sweat rolling down the forhead and second hand smoking my own pack. Quite an incredible experience, I think everyone should experience it one time in their life, it will test your patience. So the only thing I can do is find peace within, throw on the ipod play a four song track for the ages (Pink Floyd´s Wish You Were Here and Comfortably Numb, Lynard Skinnard´s Freebird, and Stevie Ray Vaughn´s With the Wind) Ahhh listen to the guitar strings and look out at the Czech country side. Now I am at ease. I figure if two of my senses are uncomfortable (feel and smell) let me please my sight and sound to balance it out.
All is well on this ride until we get to a train stop outside of Brno Czech Rep. Two hours outside of Vienna. Our trains brakes are out so we are stuck there from 4pm to 9:30pm. What to do but go get a cheap meal and cheap beers across the street. There is nothing like being broken down at a small train station in Eastern Europe with nothing to do. So we meet two girls from Texas getting drunk with two guys from Vienna, all flushed from five bottle of Vino. The two belligerent Austrians grace us with their best versions of all Jon Bon Jovi´s hits, and they were into it. I had never seen anything so entertaining. It shows how creative it can be when you are stuck for multiple hours in the middle of nowhere in Czech. Then we have to transfer stations at the border after our train gets going because it breaks down again. So the train from the border to Vienna is 90 minutes and spent sitting on our bags in the hallway of the train, even hotter and more humid than the first train. By this point I felt my soul had turned to steam like Bob Dylan once said, there were no words to desribe the feeling, or no emotion to label it either.

Needless to say, we arrived in Vienna finally at midnight when we were supposed to arrive at 5:30pm. By far the most mentally challenging day I have had in a long time. It shows that you really have to take the worst situations and do the most with them. Czech Republic and that train ride from hell were the most difficult, yet most rewarding; Such is Life!

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Responses

  1. wow man.. glad to hear you found an escape in your music and the countryside. Cant wait to see the pictures of all this man!!

  2. I love the fact that you met some Austrians that were singing Bon Jovi, those crazy Europeans love to sing power ballads from the 80’s when they have been drinking. I hope you are networking with all of the people you are meeting and getting all their, you never know when it might turn into free lodging for a week in an exotic local….

  3. You know it’s crazy that when in situations like these that seem the most troubling, music is usually the escape. but when you come back home and listen to the same songs, you look back and u remember those tough times as the most adventurous, random, exciting, fatiguing, unexpected, comical, and craziest experiences you had in your life!

    ENjoy it buddy… i gotta definitely czech it out someday… maybe teach there after buenosaires! chau brotha

  4. Crazy story hombre. I had my dad read this one. He was crackin up. You prob could of helped them roll them cigarillos bro. Really tho, I feel like im right there with you red. Much love to you your bro and those crazy Europeans!

  5. Excellent music choices to make it better! Great job keeping it positive and enjoying your trip no matter what =)


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