Getting stranded in Poland
So things in Krakow had gone well, and it was time to meet up with the rest of the family in Brno. We had booked tickets through eurorail, and in retrospect that is not recommended. We ended up with 6 train transfers in all and some of the connections were pretty tight. However, we were buoyed up by our travel successes so far and thought, what could go wrong (never, ever ever think this thought while you are travelling, just don't!). So after making the first connection, we were an hour closer to the Poland/Czech Republic border and were preparing for the transfer where we only had six minutes. We got our bags all set and were waiting diligently by the train door to jump out and run when we arrived at the station. But it was all in vain, the other train had left early (only in Europe do the trains run early). We trooped into the ticket office, and tried to find out when the next train left for Ostrava (a town just inside the Czech Republic and an hour away from where we were) only to be told, or I should say signalled since the kind lady spoke no Czech and no English, that the next train to Ostrava did not leave until 3 days from then. Panicked, we start trying to find out if we can get to Prague or if there is another train out or a bus. She laughs at us, and then signals that we can take a train to a town called Chalupek, and from there will need to walk across the border into the Czech Republic (I started laughing in hysteria at the idea of walking across a Polish border). However, since this did in fact seem the best option we exchanged some more money for zlony and bought tickets. On the train we tried to figure out if we would be able to make it into Brno that night but without having any idea of how long the walk is instead thought that any mile closer to the border we could get was the best we could do for the evening. At the town of Raciborz though, we were told (or we think we were told, it's hard to know when you barely speak Czech and really don't speak polish) that we needed to get off the train. At the ticket office the lady told us that we could not get to Chalupek from Raciborz (if all roads lead to Rome then apparently the inverse can be said of Chalupek) and needed to get a train back to the town we had just come from where we would wait for three days for the next train out. It was at this point that I said to Ali "to heck with trains" but only if you substitute in some more colorful language. I decided we were going to get a taxi across the border, even if I had to pay 100 euro to do it. Stopping at the first taxi I saw, I tried to ask how much to get to Bohumen (remember the name of this town from the last story? apparently we would do well to just steer clear of this place forever) and while we're trying to figure out what number she was saying, our taxi driver asks us "you speak English?" This was Anna. Our saint and savior for the day. For 110 zlony (about 50 U.S. dollars) she drove us right to the train station in Bohumen, sparing us from a five mile walk from Chalupek into Bohumen at night time. When we walk into the train station we are met with another miracle, a train leaving for Brno in 30 minutes. We get tickets and then grin the whole train ride where we show up at the station only 40 minutes later then we would have otherwise but having gone a whole different route and spent a great deal of time speaking in Pol/Czech/lish.
God Bless Anna!