We left Nürnberg a little earlier today. It’s a grey, overcast morning, having rained earlier. We have one stop where we have to change trains after about an hour on the way to Prague (Praha).
We arrived on time at the change point (Schwandorf) to transfer to a Czech train and found the conductor was booting everyone already on the train, off; the train was cancelled. Why?? No one offered any explanation, but later saw an engine arrive to push the train we were supposed to take, off. There was another train scheduled in a bit over two hours, but after waiting most of that time, we learned the train line had dispatched a bus to take everyone to another city (Cham). Word of mouth was “it”, as there was no announcement by the station staff. We hustled over to an area nearby where there was a bus and recognized a number of our fellow passengers waiting.
Eventually (again without any kind of announcement) the driver helpfully called out the destination and if you were going there, you were on the right bus, all ~80 or so of us. It was SRO, for an hour. The group was amiable enough about the inconvenience (we had no choice). After an hour, we arrived at the Cham Hbf and people started running across the parking lot and down the stairs to get to the platform for the train waiting on the siding. We did too. At least this train looks much newer; the one that got cancelled was very old. Literally, within a couple of minutes of “Just get on the train first, we’ll figure out where to sit later”, (we had seat reservations), the train left. We’ll be at least two hours later arriving, but maybe we’ll actually get to Praha.
The transition to Czechia was seamless, as you’d expect, except for the “Welcome to Czechia “ text message from our cell provider and a few signs in Czech (which I’m at a complete loss to understand). The countryside hadn’t changed compared to my recollections, largely farmers’ fields, tall forests that loom up around the train at points and no cell signal (ok, not complaining about that part).
The rest of the trip was uneventful and we arrived in Prague about 4pm, having lost two hours due to our little adventure in scenic Schwandorf. Cham will have to wait for another trip. It’s already somewhat dark when we arrived at the main train station, but having been here twice before, it’s a familiar area. Fortunately, our hotel is only a ten minute walk from the station.
Austria ? In a few days we travel to Vienna, which I hope will have resolved its own recent challenges. There’s a day long general train strike (starting at midnight today, Tuesday) that’s closed all the rail lines (in, within and out of the country). I can only imagine the chaos. Fortunately, we have today and tomorrow to let that work it’s way out before we try to go to Vienna.
Although the delay in getting here kind of blew a good part of the day, we’ll console ourselves later in the hotel suite we booked, which is really lovely.
Undeterred by our delay, we went to the old town square that has an awesome Christmas market. When we came in 2018, they’d had snow (which certainly added to the atmosphere) , but it was a bit cold. Tonight was beautiful, even without the snow. Video (YouTube).
And, of course some food (HALUSKY – potato with cabbage and bacon) cooked in a huge vat.
Halúsky with a little gluhwein
Other Christmas markets to explore tomorrow!
Country count 2
City count 3
Total Christmas markets 4