Thursday, 7 June 2007
Lubos and I caught the overnight train from Zilina to Prague the other day. We had our own first class cabin with oversized seats that reclined into beds and a massive window to appreciate the passing scenery. My only gripe was with the dumb-fuck Conductor. After every scheduled stop (approximately 15) she would appear at our cabin (Ahoj!) to wake us and inspect and re-inspect our tickets!
Anyway, there is something amazing about rail travel. We hung out the window with the wind blowing in our faces. The train curved around mountains, through villages, over bridges, along lakes and across fields. At day break the train passed the outer villages of Prague and we watched the villagers prepare for the day ahead.
We arrived in Prague at 6:30am. Hlavní Nádraž, the oldest and busiest rail staion was already bustling. It never ceases to astound me how one of the main arrival points into Prague is full of drug dealers, the homeless, drunkards and drug addicts. I'm not sure if hookers sell their wares at Hlavní Nádraž because most Czech girls look like cheap whores so its hard to differentiate. However, in plain view of the public and the POLICE, deals are brokered on the main concourse and then buyers go down to the lockers to smoke or inject their goodies. On a previous trip to Prague, I sat at a cafe to wait for a train. The couple at the table next to me free-based their crystal meth without any inhibitions. I felt like I was sitting within the pages of 'Kinder Vom Bahnhof Zu', the book which later became the film Christiana F.
Once outside the station we made our way through the drunks and homeless and then into the streets of Prague... God I love this city! We had breakfast at Joseva, the Jewish quarter of Prague. It was in Joseva that I discovered the writings of Franz Kafka. There is a cafe where Kafka himself would sit and write, the cafe has been preserved to its originality and is worth a visit.
After plenty of karva, we then went and sat on a park bench that overlooked the River Vltava, Charles Bridge and Prague Castle. The tyrant George Bush was arriving in Prague later that day so we watched as Greenpeace assembled their boat with anti-war placards.
We then soaked up the atmosphere at Wenceslas Square over a sausage and mustard lunch at one of the pavement carts, not disimilar to Harry's Cafe de Wheels.
We wandered the streets of the old town, Stare Mesto and in particular, the Staromestske Namesti (old town square). With it's collection of Romanesque, Baroque and Gothic style buildings, the Astronomical Clock and the stunning St. Nicholas Church, Staromestske Namesti is easily the most resplendent square in Europe.
After more karva, I then accompanied Lubos to the airport (and saw the United States of America Air Force One arrive). He boarded his flight to England and I went to Sarka Park for an hour ot two and then made my way back to Zilina by train.