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October 14th - Prague, and traveling to Salzburg, Austria.


Czech Post rail car
A train yard along the way
A snack shop on one of the train platforms

We took off obscenely early the morning of the 14th. Our travel agent hadn't really given us much detail about how to get to Salzburg, just the Czech Flexipass really. So, we worked out a schedule the previous night and headed to the station plenty early.

There was no direct train between Praha (Prague) and Salzburg, so we were going to have to go through Wien (Vienna). By our calculations, we were looking at a 7.5 hour trip, which really sucks - that's a full day we would waste on the train. But, you gotta do what you gotta do, so we were at the station bright and early.

My, what an experience the Prague train station was! It was definately not the "good side of town," if you know what I mean. We walked in, and the first thing we noticed is that none of the signs had any english on them. The second thing we noticed is that everyone was staring at the stupid American tourists.

So, we wandered up to the information desk and asked if she spoke english. "No," she said, motioning for us to go downstairs. We went down and found the other information desk, where the agent did speak some english. *whew* We got what we needed, and got our tickets validated.

We still had some time to kill, so we found a little pastry shop to have a bite to eat. I didn't speak to the guy behind the counter, but my sister found (to her delight) that he had gone to a university in Britain, and he spoke very good english, including slang. We each had a pastry, and then made our way towards the platform.

Along the way, someone tried to get into Rob's backpack as he walked. He did precisely the right thing - he stopped and turned his back against the wall. The guy that did it immediately started "talking" on his cell phone and went the other way. Con artists and pickpockets were quite rampant over there.

These three pictures are just random scenes along our trip out of the Czech Republic.


So, getting the train compartment in the first place was an adventure.

Since seats are rarely assigned on Eurail trains, we sat down in a compartment with a fellow American trio. The gentleman was on a business trip, and his wife and sister-in-law were along for the ride. That didn't last long, however, as two eastern european girls did have assigned seats, in that compartment.

So, we split up, with me staying and my sister and bro-in-law leaving to find other seats. The two girls that had seats next to me were hawt hawt hawt, so at least I had some awfully fine scenery to look at. However, there were two problems with the hot european girls - 1, they seem to have both bathed in a rather pungent perfume that day, and 2, they couldn't shut the hell up.

At all.

Not once did they pause.

Yak yak yak yak yak yak. Yak yak? Yak yak yak! Yak yak yak yak.

Absolutely non-stop, no breathers, no pauses, constant and continuous talking back and forth. I wondered how they were actually breathing, since they didn't appear to pause at all while talking.

Now, I'm a man of few words, I'm not what you call "chatty" or anything. These two were the opposite end of the spectrum. I don't understand how anyone could possibly have that much to talk about. Yak yak yak yak yak, constantly, without so much as a ten second pause. And mind you, this entire time, I'm breathing in the perfume that was so strong, it was almost liquid.

They were like crazed, stinky auctioneers with boobs.

So, long story short, I went to sit with my sister and bro-in-law, who had a compartment back in second class. And here it is.

Our private compartment on the train to Vienna

Many train tracks in a train yard
Crossing a creek in the Czech Republic
The Czech countryside

Some more scenery along the way...

The first photograph is of a train yard we went through. I love trains and train yards.

The second pictures is a creek that we crossed. It rained part of the time, as you can see from the water smear on the window.

I remember taking the third picture - it reminded me of back home (Iowa). The dirt in Iowa is black, however, but close enough.


Here is something I saw several times along this trip - tiny little sheds (shanties?) along the tracks, each one with a small vegetable garden.

Surely those have to be sheds, and not houses... Right?

Tiny little vegetable gardens
Tiny little vegetable gardens

Church poking up over the trees
A small village we rolled through
Hot air balloon!

We went through a dozen or more small villages along the way. We are finally in Austria - we were pleased to be back in a Germanic country, since none of us spoke a word of Czech.

We might speak German poorly, but at least we can get by. None of us knew a word of Czech (and I do mean not a single word).

The first two pictures are of some villages along the way - the top one is a church that poked its steeple above the trees, and the second one is a village that we rolled through.

The third one is of a hot air balloon.


More train stuff!

Rolling through an Austrian train yard
St. Polten Haupbahnhof

Some wind turbines in Austria
Some wind turbines in Austria
Some wind turbines in Austria

Once we crossed the border into Austria, we saw several wind turbines on the way to Vienna.


Here we are, rolling into Vienna. We didn't have any time to do any sightseeing, as our train was arriving at the Sudbahnhof (south train station) and our train to Salzburg was departing from the Westbahnhof (west train station). We had no idea how to get there, either.

Enter super nice tourist couple from Australia - they had done exactly what we needed to do before, so they escorted us to the Westbahnhof via a streetcar/train. They were very helpful, and their help allowed us to catch the very next train to Salzburg.

This time, we opted to purchase actual reservations in business class, so we wouldn't end up in the same situation at last time. Hell, it only cost us about twelve dollars, so why not?

A suspension bridge on the north side of Vienna
A street in Vienna

Mmmmmm, business class

It didn't take long to fully appreciate our reservations, either. When we boarded the train, we couldn't find our seats immediately - the numbers weren't matching up. Luckily, an Austrian lady who spoke some english noticed our plight, and helped us find our seats - they were in a private compartment.

And an older couple were already sitting in them.

You see, since most people don't bother with reservations (since they really aren't necessary), people sit in the best seats they can find. This elderly couple was hoping to get a free "upgrade" to business class, and wasn't at all happy that the stupid American tourists had reservations for their seats. Luckily, a conductor came along, and shooed the other couple out. They weren't happy, but life's a bitch - if they wanted to sit in business class, they can buy the damned reservation.

And this picture shows why buying a business class reservation is worth it. Pretty swank, eh?


We arrived in Salzburg early in the evening, about 6:00PM if I remember correctly. We were tired and hungry, and our taxi ride from the train station to the hotel was once again quite the trip.

The lady taxi driver didn't have much to say, but she spoke loudly enough with her foot. We raced through the streets at a good clip, sometimes with only mere inches on either side of her van.

But, we arrived at our hotel (Hotel Castallani) in fine shape. It was starting to get dark by the time we departed to get some food, so I don't have many pictures from Salzburg for today. Here are some photographs of my room and the minibar.

The last picture is of the restaurant we dined at. It was in the basement of a church down in Old Town, and it had been in business for over 1000 years. Yes, that's one thousand years. Rob and I shared what was basically a meat platter with all sorts of sausages and other meats, and it was fantastic.

My hotel room in Salzburg
Mmmmm, nice comfy bed
The minibar in my room
Fine dining in a thousand-year-old restaurant
<-- Oct 13, part VI   Oct 15th, part I -->

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