Day 8: Mad packing and travel to Prague

A and I started some laundry around 9 p.m. last night, as it was the halfway point of our trip, and we needed fresher clothes. Due to having some fleece, wool and wicking clothes in the one load, we tossed everything into the dryer on low. However, by the time we started thinking about going to bed around midnight, the clothes were all still super damp! So I took out the quick-dry stuff (mainly my hand and body towels) and some of the fleeces. 1 a.m… still wet.Took out the jeans, spread them over the couches by the radiator. 2 a.m… still wet! Took out all the wool socks, spread them out on the dining-table chairs to dry, turned dryer to “Extra dry.” However, by the time I got up and rechecked everything around 9:30, nothing was fully dry! So I restarted the dryer, but when U came into the laundry room a few minutes later, she said we should just try to air dry everything. So we cranked up the heat in her place a few degrees, and spread everything wherever we could. Thanks to A for thinking to snap a pic of the living-room scene (and bear in mind that that’s only about half of our laundry you’re seeing there!)..

We had some chai, and then started madly packing for our Prague mini-break. We were on a budget airline, so we’d selected “carry-on only” to save the $$ we would’ve had to pay to check in luggage. Had some minor panic when we realized my carry-on was 1.5 kg over the limit, though I really didn’t have a ton of stuff in there. Finally got it down to 10.5 kg, 0.5 over the limit. Then I pulled on my jeans that were still damp at the waist, and we were off to the bus. The train ride over to Eindhoven (where the airport we were flying out of is) took 50 minutes, which was painfully long for me, as I hadn’t brought along a book (didn’t want to add the weight to my carry-on, though later I realized I could’ve held it separately), and didn’t want to listen to music on my Zune, as it’s down to about half its juice, and I don’t think I brought the charger from Seattle. However, it was a beautiful day to be traveling through some of the Netherlands’ farm country, and I did manage to pull off this nail-fragment thing on my right index finger that had been bothering me for several days!!

Got to the Eindhoven station, and then hopped a bus over to the actual airport. The airport was super tiny — I think they only have flights to the U.K. and Europe. And look, you can even fly on Twitter Air!! No.. it’s Transavia.

Anyway, after all my drama trying to pack that carry on, it turned out it was too big to actually be carried on (yes, I was asked to try and squeeze it into this tester box). So I had to shell out $30 to check it in. (I should note that I’m trying to be better about not focusing on the costs of everything out here — just on enjoying the sights and scenery and making the most of it!) The seating was open seating, so there was quite a crush as we lined up to hand over our boarding passes. Then A looked out the windows behind the gate clerk to the tarmac, and said “Uh, where’s our plane?” Turned out after checking in, we had to stand in line for 10 minutes, then go outside and stand in line for 10 minutes, and then walk over to the plane that’d finally arrived and walk up the stair car’s stairs (sadly, no “Bluth Company” logo on these stair cars!). A and I were flying on Wizzair, which you’d think would have a yellow-colored plane … but it was actually fuschia and purple. Luckily, the plane was only maybe 2/3 full, so we got a three-seat row to ourselves. The flight was only about 90 minutes long, which was nice (you could even buy soda for 2.50 Euro (about $3.75)!

We got off in Prague at 5:30 p.m. Did the usual post-flight-in-a-new-country drill (pee, exchange money, get more money, buy bus tickets) and then caught the bus, and then after that the metro into the heart of Prague. We got off the metro at about 6:45, and though we had some directions from the hostel’s Web site, we of course immediately got lost (how the heck do we know which way is “toward the river”??). Got no help from two storekeepers (most stores were closed by that time, so it was slim pickings), and then we finally were able to buy a map at a drugstore. With its help, we finally walked in the door at our hostel 20 minutes later. Despite the frustration of being lost yet again, we did get to walk along the riverfront and get a preview of Prague’s amazing architecture.

Our hostel, which I found myself online, is really awesome so far. It’s just A and me in here (though there are four beds), and for three nights’ accommodation, we’re only paying about $55 each. We have our own bathroom, with a heated floor and heated towel rack (A: “Oh my god, I’m just going to stay here in the bathroom”). We have a little kitchen area with a table and chairs, fridge, microwave, sink and dishes/mugs. There’s even a water boiler thing, if we buy some tea to brew. We have free WiFi on top of all that, so it feels quite luxurious. The only hitch is that we’re right behind the reception area (staffed 24/7!) by the one Internet-enabled computer, and the window by our beds faces the street (not a main road, though). However, the price is awesome, and we’re within a 5-20-minute walk of all the Prague attractions. I’d share the name now, but I don’t want to activate my local stalkers, so I’ll save that for later.

After gawking for a few minutes over our room, we freshened up and headed out for some grub. We went to a pub a couple blocks away, and had some delicious pasta. Our eyes were as always bigger than our stomachs, but thankfully the place gives take-home boxes (for about $0.50 each), so we’ve got the leftovers in our fridge to eat over the next few days.

I think tomorrow we’re going to embark on a boat/foot/tram tour for most of the day. It lasts 6 hours, costs about $35, covers the main attractions, and even includes beer tastings and lunch. Plus, as a bonus, it doesn’t start until 10:30 a.m. …

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5 Responses to “Day 8: Mad packing and travel to Prague”

  1. Iceland Express (budget airline–and yes, they are all that ghetto) flies between Reykjavik and Eindhoven. :)Sweet hostel digs!! Sounds a lot like Sir Toby's, actually… awesome that you found a great place. Hope all your, er, finger nail bits are taken care of by now, lol.Believe me when I say, though, that getting lost is all a part of the self-guided travel experience… sometimes the greatest memories come out of stumbling around in a strange city, hehe. :) (My traveling companions never appreciated me reminding them of that, though, so you might not, either.) ;) Anyway, ENJOY PRAHA!!!

  2. Oh my God, Johanna, I stayed at Sir Toby's when I was in Prague! (I couldn't remember the name of the hostel to tell Pooja, but as soon as I saw your comment, I recognized it.) What a small world. Crazy thing is, it was recommended to me and my travel companion by someone in our grad school student group. That place has quite the reputation …Enjoy Prague, Pooja; I think you made a smart choice going there. It is really such a beautiful city. Definitely check out the Prague castle.By the way, your tour starts at 10 am, not 10 pm right? (Otherwise, you really are becoming quite the night owl!)

  3. Wow, they must charge for even more items on Iceland Expressed, based on Icelandair itself!!Yes, getting lost in new cities can seem like "fun" to some people, haha, but for me, it's a rather inefficient way to get around — we weren't able to get to the Van Gogh Museum due to losing so much time being lost earlier in the day in Amsterdam. Here and there, sure, you stumble onto interesting places you wouldn't have otherwise, but it certainly would be nice to first hit those attractions you set out wanting to see in the first place! :o)Lara, that's hilarious that you also stayed at Sir Toby's. We looked into it, but I think it was a bit further outside the city center than we wanted to be. You're right — our tour is 10 A.M. (actually, 10:30 a.m., to be exact). There's some "ghost tour" our morning tour gets us into tonight, but that's only at 8:30 p.m. We're not that much of night owls ;o)

  4. Lara–wow, I guess Sir Toby's does have a reputation! That was back in 2002, too. Funny. :)Pooja, yeah, I get what you mean about not having time to see the cool stuff if you're lost… maybe I also take for granted that we had really long summer days when we were there, which is probably not the case for you right now. It's too bad that Europeans seem to be so inept at giving helpful directions, too. :( Will you have any more time around Amsterdam when you get back from Prague, or not?

  5. This is true — sunset has been around 5-6 p.m. (and we're not super early risers), so that's definitely more of a consideration for us. Though Prague has been really breathtaking at dusk and after wards!Sadly, no third trip to Amsterdam once we return to the Netherlands Wednesday. We get back in the late afternoon, and then fly to Reykjavik the next morning. Since we have no idea when we'll see our cousin again, we want to be sure to spend that last time with her, at her place (plus, we of course have to pack, ugh).

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