Delicious Solitude

In the morning following Amanda and Ness' departure I feel their absence quite keenly, as the streets are fresh with memories of the three of us. However, I soon find some new shops and stumble upon an awesome scarf - note at this point I'd never worn a scarf in my life, so that should give you some idea of its fantasticness.

So, a little cheered I set off in an unexplored direction and end up at the castle gardens. Aside from being grand and beautiful, the gardens serve as a home for squirrels! After a pleasant walk I returned to the hostel refreshed, before heading out for a traditional Czech dinner - pork, dumplings and cabbage. The cabbage was quite vinegary which is not so much to my taste, nevertheless my chopsticks made short work of the dish.

I returned to the hostel to find the kitchen occupied by eight girls[1] and one guy, swapping travel stories. I find a place to squeeze in at the table and do some writing in my travel diary, while the ladies spin tales about creepy "gentlemen" in italian clubs, sleazy hostel companions, drivers trying to take advantage of hitch-hikers, forceful drunken antics at oktoberfest, and on and on. Caused me a little apprehension, but I realised Manda and Ness had been travelling for weeks already, and based on their demeanours had either not encountered such behaviour, learned to avoid/deal with it, or were enjoying the attention.

[1] about five of which were of course Australian.

The next day marks my last in Ĉeský K, and after a lazy morning in the kitchen I hop on my bus to Prague. I arrive at Hlavní Nadraží station, and immediately get lost due to terrible signage. But I have time to spare, and after much meandering I discover where my bus stops and where I buy tickets.

One lunch break and some reading later I am on my bus to Nürnberg, where I am planning to hop on a train to Copenhagen. There are some roadworks happening in Prague and the traffic is awful - the bus is something like 45 minutes late getting out of the city.

It is about now that I start to think it would have been a good idea if I had arranged for more than a twenty minute layover in Nürnberg. The bus was scheduled to arrive at 21:15, the train departing at 21:35, and I had been given the impression there was a ten minute walk from the bus stop to the train station, the route for which I did not know.

For the moment, I chill. The bus trip is 225 minutes, so I figure it's possible we'll make up some time and get some rest. I awake at 21:00, and indeed the ETA is now 21:36 - starting to look like things might work. I figure it's definately worth fighting for, and hop down to the lower level of the bus to talk to the greman supervisor who surveyed the passengers earlier.

I fill him in on the situation and ask him how I get to the train once the bus drops me off. He assures me there is only a short walk in a straight line and says he will call ahead to see if he can get the train to wait. I assure him that I can run, and if he can give me five minutes I will make that train.

21:15. The minute approaches and I begin to bask in the tension. My confidence falters when flashing lights pull out in front of the bus - border control! The bus comes to a halt as police hop on to inspect passports. I get it over with as quickly as possible, having reached inner calm. Either I make the train or I spend a night in Nürnberg, and there is no room for panic if I want to make the first.

The bus starts up again and the ETA is back to 21:45. My heart sinks, I'm not sure how long the train will wait. However, looking at the actual time I notice it is only 20:25. I had misread the hour when I woke and had only been watching the minutes since! Having psyched myself up for an event still an hour in the future I find myself quite amused, and turn to music and meditation to maintain my mental state.

Fear / and panic in the air / I want to be free / from desolation and despair

I smile. In this moment stretched thin over an hour, I already am.

And I feel / like everything I sow / has been swept away / well I refuse to let you go!

My resolve is firm. I don't know whether my river leads toward a peaceful lagoon or crashing waterfall, but in my mind's eye its course is crystal clear.

21:35. The bus stops, and in the next moment I am outside unloading the baggage.

I can't get it riiiiiiiight / get it riiiiiiiight / since I met you

"Dude, you're very nice and all but grab your bag and catch your train!"

The american's that were sitting behind me on the bus. Why can't they see what I see? Why can't they realise that's exactly what I'm doing, but there's other bags in the way first?

"I'm working on it!"

A mumble from my own mouth. The bare minimum to push the distraction away.

Loneliness be over / when will / loneliness be over?

And there it is, my bag! One shoulder, two shoulders. Two steps - the supervisor! I shake his hand -

"The train will wait for five minutes!"

Naught but the chase remains.