Thursday, May 26, 2011

Exiting Western Europe...Continued

Part 2
We got into Budapest the next morning and were met at the Train station by one of Mike Huggard's friends, Reka. I had told Mike a couple days before that we were going to be in Budapest so he hooked us up with some people to show us around the city. Reka had brought along a couple friends with her and they all spoke english so that was really nice to actually be able to talk to somebody. They took us around to several of the sights including the Square of Heroes and Buda Castle. After lunch Reka had to go to class so we switched tour guides and a girl named Barbara took us around for the rest of the day. I think it was funny because we were used to walking around everywhere and just looking at the city but all the Hungarians just wanted to hop on buses and metros everywhere. We ended up doing a little bit of both. Budapest is a really pretty city but I would never like to learn Hungarian. Out of all the languages we heard I think I'm more likely to learn German than anything else. At first we had not been planning on staying the night in Budapest but because of the train schedule we figured that it would be much better to stay the night there and get some good rest.

Tuesday morning we got a train headed to Vienna and from there took a train to Prague. The only trains that went straight from Budapest to Prague went through Slovakia, which is one of the few countries that our Eurail passes didn't work in. When we got to Prague it was already evening time so we went and checked into our hostel. This hostel was the cheapest one that we stayed in on the whole trip and only cost about 7 euros a night. When we got there we could see why. It just seemed pretty sketch at first. It was pretty old and half the stuff in it was broken it seemed like. From the company that we passed when we entered Bryan and I joked that we were staying in a whore house. Once we were checked in we dropped our big packs and loaded the netbook and all of our valuble stuff, which was not much, into a small backpack and went exploring. Prague was actually one of my favorite cities. I had no expectations going into the city and I was really surprised at how beautiful it was. Just the train ride up there was really beautiful. Just like most of the cities we were in there was a river running through the middle of it. Looking out across the river and seeing Prague Castle with the sun setting behing it was really pretty. Once the sun was all the way down it was all lit up along with the old part of the city and a neat old bridge that crossed the river. Definitely good material for a romantic walk along the riverbank. If you were wondering, yes, Bryan and I walked along the riverbank... Well after admiring the city at night we went back to our hostel. There was a girl from Pheonix, AZ, staying in our room and she actually knew a Haws so I told her that it was probably my cousin. Small world.

The next morning we checked out of the hostel and went and locked our bags in the train station lockers. I had been wanting to do it the whole trip because then I could pretend to be Jason Bourne! Needless to say I felt very cool doing it. We spent the whole day going around and seeing all the old churches and we also went on a tour of Prague Castle. Later in the evening there was a stage set up in one of the squares with a couple very large screens and everyone gathered around and watched hockey. I guess it was the world championship and Check was playing USA. We didn't get there til later and I guess we got smoked so maybe it's a good thing. We had already seen everything we wanted to see in the city and our train to Vienna wasn't leaving until midnight so we just sat there and watched Germany play Sweden. Sweden smoked Germany. It wasn't even close. Well we eventually made our way to the train station and double checked that our train was leaving at the time that our book said that it was. We actually got a printout from the ticket teller that had it on there. We were kind of confused because the board said that the train we were getting on was going to Budapest but the lady at the ticket counter told us that it was going to Vienna as well....the printout said the same thing so we decided that the ticket lady was right and got on the train. Well at about 4:30 am the train stopped at a train station and a really smelly drunk man came into our compartment and started coughing all over the place. The train started going and I was like "Great, now I'm not going to get any sleep." For some odd reason our train only went for a minute, and slowly at that, before it started going back the other way. I'm guessing that they were switching some cars but I'm still not really sure. Well we were once again stopped back at the station. While we were stopped the conductor came through to check our tickets. I sleepily handed her mine and she said, "Your ticket is not valid in Slovakia." I was like, "Yeah I know. I'm going to Vienna." To which the lady replied, "If you're going to Vienna, you need to get off this train right now because we're leaving." I guess Bryan had been half asleep listening to the conversation because all of the sudden he was up and hauling his backpack out the door. I don't think I've ever seen him move that fast haha. I really am amazed at how fast both of us got off that train. So there we were sitting on the platform at a train station in Bratislava. We had no idea where Bratislava was or what country we were in. We both realized that this train actually had been headed to Budapest and that it was going through Slovakia and not going to Vienna which was weird because we had the paper with the train number on it saying that it was going to Vienna. The train we had just go off hadn't left yet so I walked over to the door and asked the conductor how to get to Vienna. She said that the train next to us was leaving for Vienna. We hopped on the new train and left about 20 minutes later.

When we got to Vienna it was about 6:30 in the morning. We couldn't check into our hostel until 9:00 so we took a little nap and then walked towards the hostel. On the way we stopped by a store and bought some goods for breakfast. When we got to the hostel to check in they did not have a reservation for us. That was odd because I had made the reservation a couple days before. I guess when I hit the "reserve" button it never went through or something. luckily they still had some rooms open even if they were a little more expensive than the ones we had reserved. That day we spent walking around Vienna. I feel like all I can really say now is that we went walking around. Nothing super cool happened or anything and we just saw some cool churches and old buildings and stuff. I had been trying to get a hold of my friend Carla who was an exchange student junior year at Bountiful High. She's from Mexico City but she's studying in Vienna because it's not safe to be in Mexico anymore from what she said. I wasn't able to get a hold of her in the morning when I tried to call her but later that night I was able to get a hold of her on skype and turns out she lived only a couple blocks away from our hostel. Bryan went to bed because it was almost 11 pm and I went out to meet her. We ended up just sitting in a cafe for awhile and talking about school, traveling, and life in general. It was really quite pleasant. I got back to the hostel at about 12:30 and hit the sack. We had to wake up early the next morning to leave for the airport.

We woke up at about 7, packed up all of our stuff, ate some toast and walked to about 25 minutes to the station where we got on the S-bahn that would take us to the airport. We got there without problem, checked in and that was that. Boarded our plane an hour and a half later and took off to Moscow. The end of Western Europe.

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