Order No Rainbows

Life as an expat, Photography, Crafts, Vegan Food, Music, Art, Animals…..

Day 1 – arrival in the Czech Republic

on September 2, 2012

The day started unpromisingly at around 7am, when my sister told me there was no water and I could not have a shower. Unwashed and undaunted, I said my goodbyes and got into the taxi to go to Dublin Airport, from where I flew to Prague.

I was a little worried as I checked in because my suitcase was 6kg over the baggage allowance, and I suspected that my smaller bag, which was bigger than the normal size allowed, would also weigh more than it should. “Not to worry” said the nice lady at the Aer Lingus counter, and happily waved me on my way. I love Aer Lingus – and any other airline that treats customers like people and not like cattle that have to fit into a specified space. There was plenty of leg room on the plane and the flight was uneventful, apart from a small amount of turbulence as we descended through some spectacular clouds to land at Prague airport.

I made my way to baggage reclaim where I stood waiting for my luggage and wanting to shout “I live here now” to anyone passing – not that they would have cared. My bag was naturally one of the last to come through which meant that I had to rush through the airport to find a taxi to take me to the train station.

A taxi was easily found and I was soon on my way into Prague. My first impression of the city was that it looked like a giant building site, with cranes everywhere. Apart from that it looked like any other European city I’ve been to. Some nice buildings, some horrible ones (the 1970s have a lot to answer for architecturally) and a mad mixture of ads and shop signs that mostly left me bewildered. I’m sure there are some people who visit Prague just to attend “Hot Peppers – gate to hell” – an establishment where it seems scantily clad young lovelies are available to dance for the entertainment of clubgoers. However I’m definitely not one of those so their advertising was wasted on me…

The taxi ride took forever, and arrived at Prague’s main train station just as the train I had planned to take – the direct train to Blansko – was leaving. This left me with an hour to kill before the next train. I was hoping to get something to eat and maybe wander around the shops but instead spent most of the time lugging my increasingly cumbersome baggage around as I tried to locate the ticket office. I eventually found it and got my train ticket from a lady who spoke Czech, Polish and Russian, none of which I understood, while my English, French and German were equally lost on her. However I did eventually get my ticket and paid the equivalent of just £10 for a 300km journey- you wouldn’t get that sort of value in the UK.

Onboard the train I amused the other passengers by trying to find somewhere to stash my luggage. This involved a certain amount of pushing and shoving as I tried, and managed, to get my big bag into the gap between two seats and the little one into the overhead luggage rack. I then settled down to eat the packet of pumpkin seeds and drink the mineral water which were all I had to sustain me. The train was modern and reasonably comfortable, and all went well until the conductor told me that I’d have to change trains twice instead of once at the end of the line like I was expecting. I figured I’d just have to deal with it and started monitoring where we were in relation to the station I needed to change at.

I lugged my stuff (I understand now why it’s called “luggage”) off one train (did I mention that you have to climb up several steps into and out of the trains from the very low platforms) and onto the other in a town the name of which I can’t remember, and then again at Letovice. The trains got progressively more and more old-fashioned as I changed, and luggage storage options became fewer and fewer. Luckily there weren’t too many people on the train so my baggage didn’t cause problems for anyone except myself.

Darkness fell as I waited for the final train from Letovice to Blansko, and I spent the last part of my journey frantically trying to remember how many more stations were before mine, and which of Blansko’s two stations I needed to get off at. Luckily I made the correct decision and at 8:30pm I arrived in Blansko to be met by my new boss and his 2 lovely stepkids who took me to the house I was to stay in. It had been a long, long day but I had finally arrived.


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