Saturday, July 2, 2011

Europe Part 2

Don’t forget to read Europe Part 1 located here so you aren’t lost for this one!

Venice Cont.
When we arrived at the train station everything was closed and we could see from the TV monitors that our train was delayed. We found the waiting room and Jason took a seat in the last chair on the edge of a row and I sat on my bag on the floor beneath him.  Every time we checked the monitors our train was delayed another 20 min, 40 min, 100 min…

The waiting room was full of tourists like Jason and I, but also homeless people that were using it as a shelter for warmth. Two of them sleeping on the floor turned and I could see that one of them had a knife. Not comforting. Later they began fighting and to our joy the police came. And then promptly left again. Boo. Later a homeless man, either drunk or high and seated in a wheelchair, started arguing with a couple of tourists. He tried to stand up out of his wheelchair and fell on me. You read that right – the man landed on me. Jason frantically jumped up and screamed for someone to help him as he tried to lift the man back into the wheelchair. I was definitely regretting emailing our families before we left Venice and telling them we were alive.

Finally at 6 am, 7 hours past our train departure time, the station began to open. We went to the lounge and a man, Gui, who had been in the waiting room with us all night started talking to us. He was from Paris, but his wife was Austrian and he was trying to get to Vienna as well. Gui and Jason went to information and were told that they had no idea about the train – where it was located, when it might arrive, if it would arrive… nothing. Gui said if we could catch a train to Villach that his wife would come pick us up and could take us to another train station to catch a different train to Vienna. When did that train to Villach leave? 3 min. We ran and jumped onto the train with him. A total stranger. Best thing we could have ever done! We visited the entire train ride to Villach, went to information and found out that it was better for us to take a bus and a different train to Vienna. We waited with our new friend until his wife arrived, met her, and waited another hour for our bus. We took that bus and another train and FINALLY made it to Vienna. We were supposed to arrive in Vienna at 7 am. Instead we pulled in at 7 pm. Exhausted, tired, and in need of a hotel.

We had booked a train for the following morning to ensure our arrival in Prague for Christmas so we really didn’t have an opportunity to see any of Vienna. We walked around the Christmas markets, bought a weinerschnitzel, and booked the cheapest hotel possible a short walk from the train station for our early departure the next morning.

Prague, Czech Republic
We arrived in Prague early in the morning and made our trek through the city and across the Charles Bridge to our hotel. After checking in we visited Prague Castle and had hot wine and Trdlo (Czech pastry rolled in cinnamon, sugar, and pecans then baked over flames - YUM!!) Prague was our other favorite city in Europe!

The following day after a 10 mile jog (did I mention that I was training for a marathon while we were in Europe?!), Jason and I walked up the hill to Petrin Tower. Afterwards we walked around Josefov (the Jewish Quarter) and visited the Jewish Cemetery, Maisel Synagogue, Pinkas Synagogue, and Klaus Synagogue.

The food in Prague was amazing (I might be partially biased since I am 50% Czech…), but Jason and I LOVED the garlic soup and potato dumplings!

We also attended a Christmas Eve concert and called our families to wish them a Merry Christmas. We had such an amazing time in Prague and I would love to go back to the Czech Republic one day!

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