… So the next day Action Girl and I spent a lovely day waltzing about the town that had started to become familiar. We admired the scenery, the cow barns in the middle of town, the toy shops and the beer. Finally, after checking out of our home of the last three days, we rather reluctantly made our way to the train station. The ticket agent smiled to us, having remembered us from the previous day. We smiled and got on board or train. It was early evening now and we watched pasture give way to city as we slid in to Munich’s suburbs.
Here’s where things started to get… difficult. First, the little village we had just been in didn’t have a lot of train service. This meant the we had to take a train that got us into Munich too early to just hop on our next train, but not enough time to go poke around. There was also the problem of out giant back packs. Though handy to carry all your worldly possessions in, they also are a sort of nylon ball and chain. The bags are too large to fit in a standard storage locker but far too big to take for a jaunt into the city. Shop keepers are particularly loath to see you coming since you might as well strap on some horns and start pawing the ground and grunting. I wonder how much loss the average shop looses in breakage in a year due to huge back packs?
So, with out enough time to do anything and no place to put our bags anyway, we sat and waited in the Munich Hauptbahnhoff. Oh, and the heat. Did I mention the heat? No? Well, it was oppressive and had been, apparently, for days. What this means is that everything, every surface on every object, was warm to the touch. Just to add to the heat, we couldn’t have been more than a couple of degrees from the dew point. Hot and sticky. What fun. The walls of the train station glistened with grimy condensation and everywhere you looked were wilting travelers. Everything wilted, no one was comfortable and the two hours until our train arrived dragged on like a weasel pulling a gazelle carcass.
Then, it was here! The train pulled in and after the wait for the all clear from the conductor, we bent our backs under our nylon loads and hustled to the train. Now, it was a long train, and I wanted to make sure that we were going to the right bit of it. Some times, trains get split up at stations later down the line so half of the cars go to the place you are hoping to visit and the other half go to Smelters-burg or something. I asked the conductor if this was the right car for Prague and he brusquely motioned down the line. We continued on, longingly looking through the windows of the first class sleeper cars until we were about half way down the train. “Prague?”, “No.” Point, point. We continued. “Prague?” “No. point point. But were are almost out of train! Then we saw them. The last four cars looked like they were refugees from some Soviet train depot and for good reason. They were. And, they were going to Prague. We hastened in to grab two seats and I quickly got panicky. Not only were the cars quickly filling, but all the seats seemed to be reserved. Not good. Not good at all. We were racing through the cars now trying to find two seats for the nine hour ride. The train was really filling up now. Then, in one of the cars, I spotted an empty, non-reserved seat and quickly gave it to Action Girl. Before she could ask about what I was going to do, i raced off to find another. One car down, the last one on the train actually, I found it and practically dove in. I was a ball of sweat, I was out of breath, exhausted and… now that I looked around, surrounded completely and utterly by nothing but Koreans. All of them. every last passenger.
“Well, that’s different.”
Conclusion tomorrow including the “Evil Eye” and angry Czech border guards!