A Travellerspoint blog

So Long Europe!

It's time to head back to North America....

sunny 35 °C

Greetings all!

I took an over night train from Krakow, Poland to Praha (Prague), Czech Republic. I decided to not get a sleeper car, because a seat was cheaper and it actually ended up working out better because I got a whole cabin to myself so I could stretch out and get a good sleep! I left Krakow around 10pm and arrived in Prague around 6 am, the plan was to change and put my bags into a locker for the day then tour around the city. Of course now I had to get yet again another currency, so when I went to the washroom (you have to pay) they tried to rip me off cause I was paying in złoty (polish money) but since I’ve been through so many countries and currencies I’m always checking to see how much each is worth to the others, so they couldn’t rip me off! So after I changed clothes and washed my face, I had to get some Czech Crowns so I could pay for the locker. I also met for the first time Canadians from Nova Scotia, all the other Canadians I’ve met so far have been either from Ontario, or the west coast. Anyway so I got this crazy money, got a bite to each so I could have change for the locker, went through my guide book to figure out what I wanted to do and put everything I didn’t need in the locker for the day. I then went to the tourist information place to get a map, and to ask about tours, I had heard that there were some great free tours but the first tourist place had no idea about any free tours, so I checked the map and set out to find another tourist place. Once I did I found some great info, and the lady who work at the tourist place was actually on the same train I was coming into the city, and while we were on the train she told me where to get off the train, and she remembered me! So I was looking through the Brochures, and I found a free tour but it started in the next 5 minutes, so I ran! I made it just in time before the tour was about to leave, it was also the day I found out Michael Jackson died, that's right I was in the historic city of Prague when I found out MJ died! So anyway I went on this tour that was almost 4 hours long! It was a great tour; it really took you everyone where around the city. One of the stop was at St. James Church, where they had an "arm" hanging from a rope. Now there are a few stories behind this arm, the one I heard was about a man who lost his job and went into the Church to steal something to sell for money, it was either on or near the Statue of the Virgin Mary. When the man went to take what he was stealing the statue came to life and grabbed his arm, and wouldn’t let go! The man was trapped there all night until the Priest came in the next morning, and had to cut off his arm to get him free! They say the arm is kept there to warn thieves. It was a great story and I did get a quick picture of the arm (even though we weren’t supposed to take pictures) I'm not really sure if its really an arm but its a great story! I crossed the famous Charles Bridge, unfortunately it was under construction so it was really packed getting across it because there was less room to walk, and the statue on the bridge that everyone stops at was insanely busy! It was Statue of John of Nepomuk. This statue is the spot where John was thrown over the bridge to drown, the reason he was thrown because he would not reveal the secrets of the Queen Bohemia to the King. The story goes that when he touched the water stars appeared, our guide told us that if you touch one side it's supposed to bring you luck in money and the other in love.... I’ll leave it up to you to guess what side I touched!!
There was a lot to look at in Prague that is hard to describe, it's just a great city to walk around in and take in all the old buildings, and I loved the cobble stone roads, but I’m sure how I actually made it through all of Europe without killing myself on them! Prague was a city I wished I had read more about before I got there because there is so much history behind this city! One of the biggest tourist attractions is the Prague Astronomical Clock, and it's more of a sight to see the amount of tourist that gather around the clock on the hour then it is to actually see the clock!
I realized over the past 11ish months that there are so many places in the world I want to see and places I got to see but I just didn’t have enough time. Prague is one of the places I would like to go back to for sure! So after a very long tour of Prague, I went off on my own to check out the local shops, and FINALLY bought Russian dolls! Now I know I wasn't in Russia but I've been wanting these things since I can remember, in case you don’t know what they are or you know them as something else. They are those little wooden figures that you open and there is a smaller one inside then you open that one and so on and so on. And the reason I decided to buy these ones was cause first of all the lady give me a great deal, and second because they were Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs! To finish my day off in Prague I got a toasted sandwich and ice cream, before heading back to the train station to gather all my stuff from the locker!
The train was running a little bit late but I was happy to sit on my bag and wait. Again I was taking another overnight train. I was to get into Germany at 6am and then was to take another train 6.18am to my friends’ city, called GELSENKIRCHEN, a smaller city in Germany.
I met Linda, in New Zealand while working on the vineyards; she was one of the best English speaking Germans I met. She loves that she can speak English so well, and was always asking me to correct her if she made a mistake, I got a kick out of this because to be honest, I’m pretty sure her English is better then mine! The one thing she had a problem with was words that started with the letter R. The Irish guys that worked with us in New Zealand were always getting her to say Roger Rabbit, which would sound like "Woger, Wabbit" but not to worry, she would get the Irish guys to say Thirty Three and a Third, which sounded like "turdy, tree and a turd".
Anyway, Linda stayed in the same room I stayed in, and we got along really well and she said when I got to Germany I have to stay with her and her family.
So before I left Prague I asked what train station to get off at, because I had to switch at a major train station to get another train. Unfortunately, my train from Prague was late so I missed the train I was told to get on, and I was sure exactly what train to get on, so instead of risking getting on the wrong trained I asked at the information place, and I had to take two more trains. So I did exactly what she said and guess what?? I ended up at the wrong station! And because I had no phone I couldn’t call Linda, so with all my bags I started to search for a pay phone, but of course, no one in this world uses pay phones anymore so I couldn’t find one! Luckily I saw a lady walking her dog, first I asked her if she knew where a street was (Linda’s address) but she didn’t know then I asked her about a pay phone, she didn’t speak very much English but I got my point across that I was trying to get a hold of my friend. And thankfully she told me to wait a minute and she would get her cell phone so I could use it! I was so grateful, and I called Linda's house and her mum told me that she was waiting at the train station, (the one I was supposed to get off at) and she would call Linda and tell her to pick me up from the one I was at! So what happened was the lady told me to get off one station to early! But it all worked out well, and Linda finally found me and had a good laugh at me for getting off at the wrong station and then we were on our way! In Germany a normal breakfast, is lots of different kinds of buns, cold cuts and lots of toppings, like spreads and jams. So we picked up some stuff for breakfast and went back to her house. Her mum was up and waiting for our arrival. When I got there I put my stuff away, took a much needed shower, then we all got settled outside on the deck for breakfast! Both of Linda's parents spoke English, not quite as well as Linda, and her mum better than her dad. But we did just fine keeping up a conversation. I remember one conversation I was having with Linda's dad and he couldn't think of the word in English and he said "ok we'll just wait for Linda's mum and ask her" so we did but she wasn’t sure either and he said "ok we'll just wait and ask Linda!"
Their house was beautiful, and they had a beautiful garden as well, the city was a nice, small but not too small. Linda's parents pointed out stuff on our way to meet Linda at work, she worked at a nice restaurant, which she hated, but they had some great food!
That evening we went to the city's culture festival; where I found out Germans like to mix coke and sprite with beer! The festival was actually at an old mining factory, and they had made a ferris wheel, that went underground, kinda creepy. There was artwork to look at, but mostly people were there to drink and socialize. The next day we went to the ZOOM Erlebniswelt Gelsenkirchen, which is the Zoo! I was told they cant call it a zoo but rather Zoom because they don’t have elephants, not really sure how true it is, but oh well! Anyway to the Zoo or the Zoom whatever you want to call it was GREAT! I took loads of pictures and you get a free picture taken and get it made into a key chain! And because divided into two sections, Africa and Alaska, you get a picture in each section so I got two free key chains with my picture on them!
That night we had a BBQ where I got to try a whole bunch of different German meats, now normally you go to a BBQ have some hot dogs a burger and then that’s the end. Well Linda's brother says to me "ok are you ready for the first round?" and I'm thinking, "first round"??? Well I tried 4 or 5 different types of meat, which were all great! Then for dessert we were going to have bananas on the BBQ with chocolate in them! But we decided to go get some Gelato but then we got back and had the bananas anyway! They were great as well!
The next morning I was back on a train heading back to Paris.... and although I didn’t like Paris the first time around I was excited this time because I was going to Disney Land!
Oh and how I loved Disneyland! This Disney had two parks, which were right beside each other so I could actually walk from one park to the other! And as always I had blast there! I did all my favourite rides of course and I tried out some new ones I hadn’t been on before, I like the Crush Roller Coaster (Crush from Finding Nemo) and it was awesome! It was like riding on the back of a turtle through the EAC (east Australian current) it was just like the movie! And this time around Paris was actually hot! I was happy to not be in another Disney park freezing! After a great day of fun it was time to get back to my hostel and get packing so I could get some sleep!
I got up early, so I could grab some free breakfast from my hostel, then take the subway to the Airport, and I ended up being a few hours way to early but it worked to my advantage because American Airlines, combined two of their lines into one, very unorganized, and took over an hour just to check in! I spent my last few Euros I had left on some duty free chocolate and a Magnum ice cream bar, now if you've ever had one of those Häagen-Dazs ice cream bars, its like that but even better (if you can believe that!) so so yummy! What I’ve learned is that everywhere else in the world seems to have better ice cream then we do in Canada!
The flight to Boston was great, it was actually an hour early, go figure the one time I wouldn’t have minded the plane being late it was early! I had an early morning flight to Florida, so I was staying the night at the airport. Getting through customs was a different story. On the plane I was filling out my little card, on where I’m staying and all the stuff, when I remember that I don’t have my God Mothers address, now I’ve been there loads of times before but always with my parents so I never had to know the address, and the rest of the world I had just been putting down staying at hostel and it worked fine. But I really didn’t want to chance it with the states cause I know how they are, so I left it blank, just putting in the city I was staying. Well that didn’t work for the customs guy so I had to go to a second security check. And I’m thinking in my head, "well shit, I’ve made it all the way around the world with no problems and of course it has to be the states that gives me trouble". So I get to this next security and the guys asks me where I’m staying and I explain everything to him, and he says "well is there someone we can call to get the address?" So I say sure, "call my dad he'll know for sure". The guy turns around to use the phone then comes back after a few minutes and says," your dad doesn’t know..." at first I thought he was just joking, so I say, "are you serious?" he says, " yeah, your dad said he wasn’t home and didn’t have his palm pilot on him, but he said the address is 29th something..." Then he tells me we'll have to do a search for my God mother, so I’m like, "ok her name is Lisa Mackay... or wait it could be under Mary because Lisa is her middle name, oh and it could also be under Cunningham cause that’s her husbands name..." The guy not looking at his computer anymore is just staring at me, and in my head I’m thinking "this guy must think I’m retarded or that I’m a really bad liar, and that I might never get into the states even though I’ve been across the world with no problems. So the guy just sort of nods his head and smiles and says, " I’m sure I’ll find her." and he did, and then asked me if I wanted to write down her number and address, so I did. Phew! I could finally go pick up my bags!
The next morning I was off to Florida!
I was greeted at the airport by my wonderful god mother (Lisa or marry or marry Lisa) haha but I think I’ll just stick with Lisa!

And I’m going to leave you all hanging there, my next and second last, (cause I’m going to write the FINAL blog when I’m back home.) will be on its way soon time!

Peace out,

Ps. Make love not war.

Posted by hankins16 08:31 Tagged backpacking

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