Hello! I have been traveling around, so I wanted to update you!
Last week, among other places, I went to Munich and Prague. I was in both places on business, but it was my first time in either, so it was an adventure.
Munich started out as a pain in my ass. I couldn’t find anywhere to stay because of Oktoberfest. My friend Tracy lives there, but she and everyone she knew had rented out their apartments for Oktoberfest. Hostels were all booked up, even as far away as Dachau. Hotels were booked and/or insane rip-off prices- like $400 a night. I finally found one for like $140 which was soooooooooooo painful for me, I’ve never paid that for lodging in my life (I am a youth hostel girl), but it was just not going to get better, and I didn’t want to cancel my plans, so I reserved it. The reservation specifically stated no cancellations whatsoever.
So, the next day Tracy writes me that, oh hold on, she does have a place for me to crash. Ack! I called the hotel and asked if there was any way they could let me out of my reservation, and they said sure, no problem, they hadn’t actually charged my card yet since the reservation came in so late at night. Yayyyyyy!!!
On my way to my audition I passed this:
“Toi toi” is opera for good luck- it’s our version of how theater people say “break a leg.” I don’t know how I’m supposed to take it that it was on a port-o-potty.
Anyways, I took advantage of a long wait time to go shopping for the afternoon’s festivities. Me and Tracy went to Oktoberfest!! Or “Wiesn” like the cool kids call it. She had been a million times so she was able to show me the ropes.
Soooo fun! I thought it was going to be all touristy and expensive, and it was, but it was still so fun!! Probably a lot of it had to do with playing dress-up. I am going to come up with every excuse I can find to wear this dirndl again and again!!!! (Not hard for an opera singer.) We went on a ride, we drank Willi (schnapps with a pear slice), we managed to find seats in one of the beer tents, had a giant pretzel, socialized with the drunks- the next table over was from Harrisburg, I hope they come see my Gilda there next year!!
We only stayed a couple hours, then I had to go to Prague. I threw my jeans on under my Landhausmode and jumped on a train. Getting to where I was going was a huge pain in the ass. First, for the first time ever this trip, and since I last used a Eurail Pass years ago, a ticket-clicker gave me a really hard time. He tried to say my ticket wasn’t valid because I didn’t have my fill-in itinerary attached. In retrospect I think he might be right, but I had thrown that out because it was doubling as an optional survey for the Eurail company, and I’d thought that’s all it was for. But in all my intimate time with the Eurail Pass I had never had this part attached to it and no one had ever even hinted at asking for it. So I’m just over the border into the Czech Republic and even though my ticket’s already been stamped by three people this guy’s telling me it’s not valid. Well, what am I supposed to do? He let it go but was a huge douchebag about it, “If I ever see you one more time without this I make you pay the ticket” etc etc. Asshole. It also says the ticket’s not valid without passport, but he didn’t ask me for my passport (and nobody else has yet, even crossing borders). So, my entry into the Czech Republic was not very welcoming.
It only got worse from there. I arrived at the train station after 11pm. I had written down the “station” that my hostel was by, assuming it was a subway. But I couldn’t find it on the subway map at all. There was also an S train (probably a regional rail like in Berlin) and some sort of tram that WAS NOT CALLED A TRAM, it was called something complicated in Czech, and I couldn’t find maps of their lines. I realized I had no idea what the exchange rate was, and tried to estimate it based on my youth hostel bill. Once I had it figured out, I went to the only ATM in sight to take out what should be enough money to last me the two nights- but it gave it all to me in one big bill. THANKS A FUCKING LOT ATM. To make matters worse, the public transportation ONLY took coins. Where the hell was I supposed to get Czech coins at 11:30 at night? EVERYTHING was closed- EVERYTHING. Even in the central train station.
I decided to figure out where I was going, so I called the hostel for directions, even though it was an international call. (If I’d paid attention, I would have seen that they had included very detailed instructions in the booking email. Yet another case of international unpreparedness.) They told me I needed to take the tram. I’m like, “What’s it called, there’s a bunch of different signs and none of them says tram.” He’s like, “No, it’s called tram.” He told me I needed to take the #5 tram and he didn’t know the direction, but I should take the one on the opposite side of the street from the station. Except I couldn’t find the freaking tram at all. (It was alll the way towards one corner of the yard in front of the station, not out in front or in back.)
Oh, I skipped the part where I decided to walk to the hostel, because Google Maps said it was a 52 minute walk, and I was like “At this rate that’s the fastest way I’m gonna get there” and started walking, but then I realized the Google directions were going over an inaccessible highway. THAT’S when I went back and called the hostel internationally. (I was already paying international data rates to use Google Maps.)
Well I found the tram and waited and waited and waited til everyone had gotten on one but me. By this time I was starting to figure things out, so I deduced how to read the schedules. It was midnight. Under what appeared to say “Monday – Friday” only because it said “blahblah – blahblah” and what else would that mean, on the #5 schedule next to 0 (midnight) there were no listings. This tram didn’t run late nights. I had just missed the last one.
I called the hostel back and they were like, “Oops, sorry about that, I forgot. Take a different tram one stop to this other stop, then you can catch a night tram from there.” Well the other trams going that way were not coming any time soon so I just walked to the next stop. It was another half hour before my tram finally came. Since I had no coins and couldn’t buy a ticket, I just had to get on and hope the police didn’t come on checking tickets. (That’s how public transportation works in Europe- there’s more honor system, but they check once in awhile and if you get caught there’s a big fine.) There just wasn’t any choice, I didn’t figure my chances of getting caught were that great, and anyways, how big of a fine could it be in freaking Prague? It’s cheap over there!! So I found my stop (and the hostel) very easily, no “control” (people checking tickets), and there was even a 24-hour pizza delivery place that the receptionist ordered from for me. It was terrible pizza and kinda of a rip-off (for the area), but it was hot food on a long night. I got to the hostel at about 1am, I don’t think my pizza came until like 2:30.
So the next day I got to explore Prague!!!
It was cloudy and sorta dreary. I spent a chunk of the morning (afternoon) having phone drama (my iPhone nearly crapped out on me- I got the Sad iPhone), then once I got that more or less straightened out I got to explore the city- Wenceslas Square, Old Town Square, and all around the castle. I just walked and took pictures.
It’s hard to pick which pictures to post, if I don’t want to be all day at this!
I had a really great dinner, just the kind of thing I wanted- as close as you can get to traditional fare, except vegetarian. Some crepes filled with spinach and cheese, plus some brie with cranberry sauce and like walnuts or something (I forget now) as an appetizer, and a nice big dark Czech beer- the whole meal ran me like $14, and it was nice!! Actually, the only money I spent the whole two nights was the hostel, good food, and a postcard I sent to my parents because I needed change for the subway. (Oh and I guess a few subway tickets once I got change.)
OK srsly though it’s late now, I’m out. Happy dreams of beer hall girls.