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E-Mailing Through Europe >> Prague to Berlin August 22, 1998


Date: Sat, 22 Aug 1998 08:13:53 -0700 (PDT)
From: k p ken@kpny.com
Subject: "It's a big adventure!"

It was a rather uneventful trip from Prague to Berlin. Well, not really. It was A Big Adventure!

Lesson #1: Always examine your train tickets closely. I went to the same train station that I arrived in, called "Praha-hlavni nadrazi" which is Czech for Prague Train Station. My outbound train was at "Praha-Holesovice," which means The Other Prague Train Station.

Fortunately, I had arrived at Hlavni Nadrazi with enough time to jump the Metro three stops to Holesovice with about 15 minutes until the train was supposed to leave Praha. I met a Canadian/American traveling cocktail of about 7 people also on their way to Berlin. We went up to the platform to wait for the train, and it suddenly got cold. So we all took off our shorts and changed into pants. Then we put on long sleeve shirts and jackets. At about 18:27 we realized that the 18:22 train was five minutes late. Two of the group went down to check it out. About three minutes later a headless voice over the intercom informed us the train would be three hours late and arrive in Berlin at 1:00 a.m. None of us had a place to stay. We were shaken, not stirred.

I've learned in my travels to think of events like this as an adventure, much like when my family was stuck in Florida during the Blizzard of '78. The three feet of snow closed every airport in the northeast. If I remember correctly, the grandparents were sick of us, so we had to sleep at the airport for four days. Of course my brother and I didn't fight much waiting at the airport with nothing to do, mostly because Mom kept saying with a big smile, "Kids, just think of it like a big adventure! You just don't know how it'll turn out!" It turned out well because we got back to Columbia and we were two weeks ahead of our classmates, as our teachers had given us the assignments to do while we were in Florida. And I got to tell all my friends that I was doing the backstroke while they were shoveling driveways.

Anyway, back to a cold, windy train platform in Prague. We discussed as a group what to do--I became the olive in the cocktail after inviting all of them to stay with me in New York--when a helpful Czech conducter suggested we hop the next train to Paris and get off in Dresden. "Can we do that?" everyone asked. He gave the international symbol for "Sure, why not"--a exaggerated shrug of the shoulders with the arms bent at the elbows, palms up. This combined simulaneously with raised eyebrows and a shit-eating grin.

So we hopped the train, and all giggled with glee at our new adventure. About two minutes later, when we realized there were no seats available, our giggling adventure turned into groans as we sat on our backpacks in the corridor of the train while the ticketed passengers stepped over us on the way to the loo.

...sorry, got to go suddenly. Will finish the story soon.

--Ken

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