Days of Many Steps

by Andrew Stein

All over Europe, but in particular Prague, Gabe and I walk, walk, and walk some more. We also take our share of metros, trams, and buses, but walking is a great way to see any city. In Prague, we are staying about a three to four kilometer walk out of the Old Town, Stare Mesto, and from there, it is probably another kilometer to the famous Charles Bridge, which is a couple kilometers from the Prague Castle, Prazsky hrad. Although no single stage of our journey seems like a large commitment after walking to and from the castle, our feet are a little sore. And this does not include the walk to the USA Embassy to show our support on the 4th of July, the walk to the club and back the night before, the meander around the Jewish quarter, the stroll around town during the walking tour, and the train station adventure.

Near the Charles Bridge at night

We need to find the train station in order to purchase tickets for our overnight train to Budapest the following day. And to find the station, Gabe and I think that we are being smart by looking at a map, finding the largest collection of tracks, and heading in that direction. We find many railroad tracks just northeast of the city, and although the weather is drizzly, we put on our raincoats and start walking. We get near the tracks, start looking for signs or large train-station-looking buildings. We find nothing. Eventually, we again pull out the map, and find another slightly smaller although still large collection of railroad tracks. Luckily, we are able to see the comedy in the situation and laugh even as we continue to have to walk through the rain. When we near the second grouping of tracks, we again do not see many signs, but at least we see a building that could pass as a train station. We walk in and it is darker and gloomier than we had expected. We maze through the station until finding a ticket counter. There is one window open that reads “International Tickets” above it and we reserve two seats on a train. After about 20 minutes of fiddling with my credit card, the man behind the counter finally gets it to work, we get our tickets, and we ask from where the train will be leaving. He lets us know that the train will be leaving from a station about 100m down the road. We are a little confused and decide it is best to explore this other train station now rather than tomorrow night. We get to this other station, which again is not very well marked, we enter, and we are presented with something more like we had expected. There are convenient stores, more ticket counters, escalators, and a level of cleanliness much greater than that from our first station.

In other words, between walking all over town, walking to Prague nightlife, and walking to the wrong train station, we calculate that we probably covered about the distance of a marathon in 48 hours in Prague.

Prague's famous clock

From inside Prague Castle