I was looking forward to Budapest. To travelling alone again. Moving on from hostels and back to couchsurfing. This was the trajectory I had set myself on for this trip, and although it had been nice to meander into the realm of travel buddies and hostels, I was happy to return to my original path.
I climbed onto the sofa pallet bed, stepping over Stuart to lie down and give him a hug. It was 8am.
Stuart was smoking. “We’re not in a rush, are we?”
“Umm, no, we’re not in a rush.” How could I say we were? We weren’t. But I wanted to go. I didn’t want to “chill out” and “slow down”. I wanted to go, go, go. I had a town to see. Sights to explore. An environment to take in.
We got up, packed and were on our way to Cesky Krumlov by 11:00am. We took the number 16 to just outside of the coach station. We had six minutes before our coach was due to leave.
We couldn’t find it.
We found a yellow bus with “Cesky Krumlov” written on the list of stops on the side of the bus. “Could this be us?” I pointed.
“FlixBus are usually green. But they do sometimes contract out… I’m not sure.” We asked the driver, he nodded, or at least we thought he did, until we showed him our ticket before trying to board.
“THIS IS NOT FLIXBUS!” he shouted, pointing dramatically at the bus logo on the side, placing his hands on to it for extra emphasis. “NOT THIS BUS.” He took our bags out of the hold with dramatic exasperation, sighing loudly.
We wondered what to do. If this wasn’t our bus, then our bus wasn’t here. Had we missed it? Continue reading →
I got back from PAX BAR the night I arrived in Prague, and went down to the hostel bar. I was uncomfortable. I didn’t want to step out of my comfort zone. I was safe in my bubble of being alone. But that’s not the point of staying in a hostel. You’re supposed to talk to people. Meet other travellers.
I sat in the bar, alone, and thought, Why isn’t anyone talking to me? And then, Well shit Hope, you might actually have to be the one to start the conversation. The prospect was horrible. A pub quiz was taking place and everyone was sat round tables in groups already. I spotted one table. Kept telling myself to just go over and join them. It felt so unnatural. Continue reading →
I woke up on the morning of my departure early. I wanted to make sure that I had plenty of time along the way to Prague to get lost, be confused, and make mistakes. The train journey was only four hours, but I had to catch the tram there, and then a metro and another tram on the other side too. I was really nervous that arriving in Prague would be just as frightening as arriving in Berlin had been.
Anders, true to himself, sent me on my way with a packed lunch fit for a queen. “It’s a long journey,” he asserted as he carefully placed a slice of blueberry cake first on a cardboard plate, wrapped it in baking paper, and then placed it carefully in a paper bag (all recycled and reused might I add).
When I arrived at the train station to catch my Eurostar I was suddenly so excited. I jumped up and down a little on the spot and grinned manically to myself. I’m doing this! I’m travelling! Interrailing here I come! “There’s a room over there if you’re cold ma’am.” The voice came from an American man waiting on the same platform as me.