12
Sep
08

Prague: like a table full of cakes (1)

First of all, this short description (like a table full of cakes®) was obviously not originally spoken or written by me. It’s too good and summarizes too well. Writing names would go against my writing rules so I’ll just write thank you, and the person will know, I’m sure. Maybe… well ok I’m not so sure…

Life moves forward, usuallyIt all started like all the travels I’ve made: from nowhere. Let’s take the chance and walk through my usual steps when going somewhere new.

STEP 0: WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?

I was already “pregnant” with the idea of going to Prague for some time, for a reason or another. Everybody talks about Prague, and everybody’s been to Prague. Not me. But one sentence wouldn’t get out of my head: “Don’t you dare to leave Europe before visiting Prague”. I think it was because of this threatening tone, you know, I hate being threatened. Makes me feel challenged.

STEP 1: THE FOURTH-DIMENSIONAL ISSUE (time, for the non-nerds)

The idea was set. The opportunity, though, came in a random weekend. As usual, Thursday came. Then came Thursday evening. And Thursday late evening. And Thursday waaay late in the evening, also known as Friday waaay early in the morning. And holy crap, tomorrow (rule number zero: it’s tomorrow only after you sleep and wake up®) is Friday and it’s gonna feel even worse to sit here and do nothing!!! How’s my bank account doing? Oh, not negative? Let’s go to Prague!

STEP 2: THE WHITE-COLLAR BUSINESS

Game! Another trip with no planning or decent management coming on. And no one I’d really like to, or could, invite, as usual (the name of this page is no coincidence). There we go, Friday afternoon, buy some strange currency known as “crowns”, check some maps, check if the city is walkable (I’ll be more specific about this further on), check train schedules. … oh, book a room. Yep, done.

You could probably notice that this is not really the smart way of traveling, neither the cheap way. But I did it my way. Frank Sinatra could, why can’t I?

Bahnsteig

Saturday morning, here we go. I like to be very punctual, so I almost missed the train, as always. You know, one minute is too early, the other is too late… life is about these little adventures. Anyways, there I am, trying to pick a cabin to spend the next 6 hours of my life. Do you feel the weight that this decision had?

Nah, too many old people. Nah, no seats. Nah, some girl and some weirdo who are probably a couple. Nah, it’s not empty. Nah, I want to sit by the window. Nah, I want to sit near the door. Nah, too many kids shouting. I love kids but if I have no intimacy with them, it only makes me feel depressed, not to be able to play along.

I’ll admit I was looking for an empty cabin. Of course such things don’t exist for Einsteins like me, who jump in the train in the last minute. So I went back, asked the girl if the seat was free and sat there, facing the german weirdo.

Yep. Here we go. Youhoo.

Are we there yet?…

I turned to the girl and she was asleep. Weirdo was reading, and after all he wasn’t so weird, he was just german. With a sense of fashion (which is something very, very dangerous). I liked the sleeping idea, and crashed.

For long trips, you should always take something to eat with you. I always take twice as much, it’s my growing up phase. So I had a bite, then slept again, then read, then had another bite, then had a little discussion about leaving the window open or not, about if the train was going directly to Prague or not. Final score: the german could find out that I am a moron and the girl was not german. The girl could find out that I can also talk, other than just snore almost directly on her right ear, and that the guy was german. I found out that she had unbelievably pretty eyes, and that I was starving more and more by the hour. Growing up phase.

Another important point of the discussion that I might have forgotten to mention was that no, the train wasn’t going directly there and we needed to take a bus, then another train. So everybody gets out, I notice that the girl who probably hates me is carrying a 200kg corpse inside her bag and fail to have the wonderful idea of being nice and helping her carry it, you know, same story all the time. And everybody gets in again. In the bus.

After a very exciting ride through the border between Germany and Czech Republic, little Nobel prize here finally finds an empty cabin in the train. Got my 3 seconds of satisfaction. Then, started thinking and thinking again. But destiny had something else planned for me, and it came in the form of a blond girl carrying a corpse in a bag. It sort of kicked me out of my thoughts, her shy request to join me. This time I was more like a gentleman and helped her lift the dead relative (or probably ex-boyfriend) up to the bag compartment.

You know, it’s all very stupid. You plan it, and go, all by yourself. You make this face, that you’re already a grown up and nothing can shake you. But in reality you’re always dying to talk to someone. Geez, was it great to talk to that girl. She was actually a local, from Prague, studied Medicine and was going back home after a 2-week intensive German course. We were, against all odds, able to talk quite well and even have a few laughs. She was really lovely, I can’t forgive myself for not remembering her name. I remember only that she said it was a danish name, well I could even speak it correctly, but I forgot.

Time went really fast this time, and the party wasn’t over yet. Wait, don’t get me wrong, not yet. In a certain stop another woman came in. And shortly afterwards, two old men, who looked like they came from India. Bingo, I’m getting good at this game. Suddenly we switched to English, and everybody joined the conversation. I learned quite a bit about indian geography and lots about the last 128 years of their lives, about their grown up children, about their grandsons, the weird guys who married their daughters, you know, old man talk.

I ended up proposing (not to the lovely, cute girl to marry me, but…) to everyone that we could have a beer when we arrived in Prague. Their reaction was a bit funny, if I may say. But I let things be and kept talking.

In the end, we all said goodbye, nice to meet you, “don’t worry young man, you’re smart and I’m sure you’ll make the right decisions”, bye, success with your Medicine studies… and no beer of course. Hum. Guess you can’t have it all, all the time.

I still met the guys from India in the station, because we all needed a map. And another lesson was learned: you don’t make friends as fast as you would like, specially on a train.

You know what? I’ve written a lot already, and we barely got to the final destination! It was supposed to be a highlight reel and I sort of got carried away. Where are those pills anyway?

So, I’ll take my right as this place’s greek god, and publish this story in two posts.

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