Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Highlights of Vienna & Masters of Public Transport

"Thomas, what would you like to eat for dinner tonight? We can have anything you want since you've been such a good boy on our trip. We will go to a restaurant!"

"A big mountain."

"Um, okay...a big mountain of what?"

"A big mountain of rice. With salt."

"Okay, you can have some rice, anything else?"

"A big mountain of rice and salt with a little bit of treat(chocolate) on top."

We found this hilarious. Maybe we were just tired. Our trip to Vienna was productive and we were well taken care of by a wonderful friend who put us up in the Pension Schweizer near Vienna's center. We travelled by train and saw some lovely parts of the Czech Republic, and were showed around Vienna by our friend. He is a historian, and so once again fortune came our way, since he really brought the city's history alive for us.

We are back in Senov to do laundry and pack for the next trip, the mid-year Fulbright meeting in Brno. We are not sure how we will travel. I am inclined to take the trains, as they are much easier on my equilibrium, comfortable, and fun for Thomas. Chad would like to take a bus from Prague with the rest of the group (living in Prague). We have a day to decide. The buses are reasonably priced, fairly accessible, and only a little slower than driving a car. The trains, on average seem to take one hour longer, but only cost between 50-100Kc/3-6$ more per journey. We usually buy the tickets at the station right before we travel, since the windows are open from 5am to 10pm. We think that we've discovered a strange phenomenon. Euro rail passes do not work in the Czech Republic on the local trains or the trains between Prague & Vienna (Praha & Wein), but many of the Czech ticket sights sell Eurorail passes. We had looked into this online, but were too confused, lazy, & cheap to pursue any even though we plan to use the trains fairly regularly. Lucky we procrastinated on this since we overheard a heated discussion between a train conductor & Euro rail pass holder, who had to buy her ticket from the conductor en-route because he said the passes are not valid in the CZ. Many of the online sights offering ticket reservation assistance overcharge, as well. It takes a little time, but the sight provides all the information & links one needs to travel Czech railways (and buses) or (, if you can read/translate Czech). We usually transfer through Praha, hl nadrazi (main train station), but all of the stations we've been to in Prague & Vienna have been connected either through Metro or 5 minute train transfers.

"Thomas, you are the a train traveling master, you've behaved so nicely on this trip!"

"Tommy is train master conductor!"

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