Prague-Budapest is a 7 hour journey that I was originally going to do on the night train, but that would have involved sticking around in Prague for another day until midnight - and I didn't have enough to fill a day with, because I wander round cities far too quickly for my own good. 7 hours was probably pushing it for all in one go (yes, certain parts of the world will require 18 hour journeys in one go, yes, I know - but I'll save that novelty for later) so Bratislava seemed like a decent halfway point to stop off. 4 hours from Prague to Bratislava, the Prague-Budapest train was every 2 hours, and then Bratislava to Budapest takes just under 3 hours.
So. One city in 2 hours. Even by my standards, that was always going to be a challenge.
Dragged myself out of bed at some silly hour of the morning to get myself some breakfast, only to find that I'd dropped my phone from a 3rd tier bed to the floor again. I really am useless like that. And worse than that, some moron on one of the bunks below had hung their wet clothes on the LADDER. The ladder to MY BED. This defies logic in more ways than one - and I can't move it before I go down, because some of it is too far down to reach (these are triple bunk beds). I can't move it as I climb down the ladder either - I don't have the ninja skills to do so and would probably fall off. Plus wet clothes transfer water to surfaces they're on, and water is slippery. Common sense level: lacking. Hang your stuff somewhere else where I'm not going to stamp on it or slip on it. Like on the rails of YOUR BED for example.
By doing this, you also avoid what I managed this morning - falling off the ladder as I attempted to avoid the clothes, catching my hand on something as I tried to break my fall, splitting it open. I hope the sound of me hitting the ground woke you up. Douche. Injury #1 of the Tour is recorded.
Anyway. Got myself out of there, with excessive bandaging of my hand (of course). The great thing about moving this fast is that I never need to pack, because I never have the time to unpack. It's the one time in my life that I've been tidy and my stuff hasn't been sprawled everywhere, as anyone who's ever lived with me will testify is not normal. Or anyone who's been into my bedroom for that matter.
Money changed (I took out 2 days' worth of koruna, so I changed the spares into euros) and into the station for the train. It was pretty empty. I had a 6-seat compartment to myself for most of the journey, which I took great pleasure in locking the door of so I could sleep in peace. Probably against some unwritten rule of train etiquette, but there was plenty of space in the rest of the train.
|The Czech countryside: nearly enough to keep me awake on a train|
Sleep can wait.
I kept the door locked though.
Then we pulled into Bratislava.
My only experience of Bratislava is watching the film Eurotrip, which I highly recommend - it's fairly amusing. And my first experience of Bratislava in the flesh felt something like that. The station is a bit of a Soviet affair. Welcome to the East all over again?
I needed to drop my pack off first, but that involved finding left luggage. I'd seriously considered just leaving my pack on the train (which was headed for Budapest anyway) and picking it up from lost luggage in Budapest in order to save a bit of cash. I decided against it, on the basis that knowing my luck it would end up in lost luggage in Moscow. And the Germans still haven't found Adam's glasses.
But there were no signs for Left Luggage when I arrived at Bratislava station. I went out of the station, which felt like some sort of provincial affair without much going for it. Then I went back into the station through what I presume was the main entrance, because I was immediately confronted by hordes of people playing the international sport of Departure Board Watching (seriously, what's with that?). And eventually found it, hidden away. Right next to the platform I'd arrived on to.
2€ lighter I set about getting into Bratislava. I had just under 2 hours to kill before the next train to Budapest came along, so had a look outside. Couldn't see the city. Just some more concrete and a load of street stalls.
So I went back in to get some coffee. And back out again for another go at it. Then back inside for a third time to ask someone on the information desk for a map. She just said something about a trolleybus and a kiosk.
So I had a look outside. I didn't have a clue. So I went inside again and bought myself a kebab, which I'm fairly sure was about my 6th in three days. They're cheap and everywhere. But I definitely ordered it in German, which means that I've been to far many countries in the last few days.
|Strange place this one.|
|This, in one photo, is Bratislava's tourist sights.|
|Yes, stop judging me. I took a picture of my food.|
|Oh yeah. I should get on one of these.|
|I'd normally appreciate this. Today is not one of those days.|
And to the bus stop. It was 15:45 by this point. Even if I did make it, I had to get my bag out of left luggage. Why didn't I just leave it on the train?! I was genuinely praying that the train was delayed.
|Nice view, but cobbled streets do not amuse my feet.|
Time for a spot of International Departure Board Watching (R). 15:50 to Budapest, no platform listed.
Had it just left?
Delayed by 25 minutes.
The first time I've been thankful that a train has been that late. And I'm sure it won't be the last.
|Thanks for having me Bratislava. But no thanks for trying to hold on to me. I appreciate the sentiment though.|