Well, I added another mode of transport – backpacker. No apparent issues with my teeth when I woke. I reserved a bed at Sophie’s Hostel, near the train station in Prague, and picked up a train ticket for Prague. With Multipass Hostel only a block from the train station in Budapest, a 30-minute train ride brought me to Vac to change trains to the six+ hour train to Prague.
Fro past trips I found hostels from the map when in rural areas. In big citis I either asked at Tourist Information, or just wandered the streets at random looking for signs.
In my new GPS-enhanced state, I use an multi-stage process for selecting hostels. I figure out where I’m going to be in a city, and then look at the GPS for hostels. Then I look up hostels on hostelworld.com. Normally I’d sort by price, but off-season sorting by rating becomes a lot more cost-effective than high-season. I flag several hostels on the GPS in the area I’m interested in that are available on Hostel World, and review the recommendations on the website. I confirm the hostel between maps matches, and grab a copy of the directions off-line before making the a reservation. If it’s mid-week and I’m going to be somewhere several days, I only reserve one night, in case I decide I want to be somewhere else. Should I have any issues, I already know where the backups are. Hard to have something go hideously awry.
In Vac I found that the “every two hour” train to Prague skips 10:00 am, leaving me with a couple of hours to spend in Vac. Convenient, as I hadn’t packed lunch. After wandering about a bit I ended up at the Danube, and found the ferry I’d crossed on when last here. Heading the direction I didn’t follow last time, I found a castle upstream. After that I visited the market to pick up lunch, and back on the correct train.
Outside of Prague I started to wonder whether I’d identified the correct train station in Prague. If I was wrong I had about a four-kilometer hike across Prague in the dark, with a backpack. Not until I left the train station did I have GPS signal to learn I arrived exactly where planned. I found my way to the hostel; I feel like a real backpacker now. It’s a lot like being a cyclist, but slower and carrying more stuff. At least it’s easier to get on and off the train.
Four months of cycling and walking across Europe in cycling shoes and sandals, and I ended up with a blister from my actual hiking boots from a single day hiking around Budapest. I’ve switched back to my sandals and the first aid kit includes tape and moleskin. The Czech don’t wear sandals; at least three people have made some comment.
Sophie’s Hostel is about a 15-minute walk from the Old City, how novel. However, a free walking tour this morning left from the hostel and provided a bus into the Old City. I liked the tour enough that I signed up for their tour this afternoon for the Castle District.
Tomorrow I head back to the Castle District, which doesn’t have a distinct castle. Instead, a number of different palaces populate the area, former residences of those members of the Royal and Imperial Court. As that district is on the other side of town, wandering back will cover a lot of ground. While my metabolism has started to slow down, walking still doesn’t cause me any muscle-stress.
An early train on Monday should take me back to Budapest for a evening dental appointment. Before flying home, I have a few ideas for day-trips out of Budapest. There’s caving offered somewhere underneath the city. . .