For the most part, those posts only talk about the positive aspects of the trips. And, while they are obviously fun and memorable trips that I will never forget...no period of travel goes perfectly according to plan. So I thought, why not start sharing some of the less picturesque (and often funny) moments from my travels?
I thought the perfect trip to begin this little series of not so glamorous travel experiences would be November 2015's trip to Plzen, Czech Republic. Let's get into it.
P.S. Thanks to Ephram for letting me use his photos for this post!
Something that I did mention in my previous Plzen post is that we actually missed our bus due to being at the wrong bus station in Prague. Although it was an issue that was pretty easily resolved, it was still stressful. And...little did we know that the occurrence was just the first of many downfalls that would come along during the trip.
When we arrived in Plzen, it was dark. Not only was it dark, but we had no idea how to get to our hostel. Luckily, Google Maps helped with that, and we were soon walking in the direction of our accomodation.
Now, Plzen is a beautiful little city. However, like any place you visit, there are always areas that aren't so lovely to look at. So, while the hostel was the best one I have stayed at in Europe so far, the area that it was in was just a bit scary. It was also about a 15 minute walk from the center of town, and as we would make this walk to and from the hostel, we would always encounter three things:
*The very questionable looking bar/club across the street
*An abandoned building that was definitely haunted
*And a giant dead rat next to the most frightening hideaway hole in existence
|Just in case you didn't believe me.|
And yes, the rat remained there for the entire three days.
After checking into the hostel on our first night, we went out in search of drinks...specifically beer, because as I mentioned in my last post, Plzen is popular because it is the location of the Pilsner Urquell brewery. The first place we went to was a restaurant/pub. Jess went to the washroom at one point, and when she returned she told us about a drunk guy at the bar that tried to talk to her. A little while later, Ephram went to the washroom, and he told us the same thing when he came back.
We made a few jokes about how he just wanted a friend to talk to, finished our beer, paid, and left. Outside of the pub, we had walked about 10 feet when we noticed a man staggering towards us. Ephram and Jess both recognized him as the man that had just tried to talk to them in the restaurant. He tried to speak to us, and he was so drunk that we could not even determine what language he was speaking.
Usually, the rule goes, if someone drunk is harassing you...you ignore them and they will go away. So, that's what we did. The problem was though...he didn't go away.
He followed us. He continued talking and yelling. He would get unnecessarily close to us and even try to grab our arms. At this point Ephram was even yelling at him to go away, and he just wouldn't. This probably went on for a solid 10-15 minutes. Ephram finally got right in his face and yelled at him to get lost, and then we booked it and managed to lose him.
We were really paranoid after that, looking around corners and avoiding the area we had lost him in. After another drink though, we were able to laugh about it. We even decided to give him a nickname...Germaine. Then we proceeded to joke about how Germaine was going to be hiding in the loft of our hostel room when we returned. (Unfortunately, I was the one sleeping in the loft so it wasn't too funny when the lights went out.)
|Sadly...I don't have a picture of Germaine. But here is a beer in his memory.|
Let's fast forward to the next day. I also mentioned in my Plzen post that the main reason we went was to experience a beer bath. We were able to reach most places in Plzen by walking, but the spa that we were going to for the beer bath was quite a distance away. Therefore, public transportation had to come into the picture.
A quick piece of information: most European cities have really great public transport options. For example, in Prague, we have the metro, trams and buses. Some parts of Plzen had trams, but they also had what we deemed a "bram," because it looked like a cross between a tram and a bus.
Another quick piece of information: Public transport is not free. It's cheap, but not free. And, if you get caught on transportation without a ticket, you get a fine.
All three of us have unlimited monthly transportation passes for Prague. However, when we were getting ready to head to the beer spa, we couldn't figure out how to buy tickets for the transport in Plzen. Jess suggested that we just ride the bram without buying them. She pointed out that the city was small, so we would probably not get checked.
Ephram and I agreed with this, and we did manage to make it all the way to the beer spa without a ticket. We had our bath, relaxed in the spa, and left feeling rejuvenated. On the walk back to the bram stop, we continued to speak about how rejuvenated and relaxed we all felt.
We were two stops from where we were planning to get off, and two young blonde women enter the bram through the door that we were all standing closest to. We thought nothing of them until they pulled out their badges and asked to see our transportation tickets. All three of us exchanged a wide-eyed look because we were obviously (and knowingly) not following the rules. We then quickly formulated what we were hoping would be a well-executed plan.
We whipped out our Prague transportation passes and showed them to the women.
They looked a bit confused and thoroughly inspected the passes. We were all still looking at each other wondering if we would get away with our crime. It seemed possible until...
"These are tickets for the city of Prague," Blonde Woman #1 told us.
It's this point in the story that we decided to play the tourist card.
"Oh, you mean those aren't good for the ENTIRE Czech Republic? We thought they were!"
Unfortunately, they didn't fall for our tricks. We each proceeded to pay a 500 crown penalty (which is only about $20, but still a lot when you're on an English teacher's salary!), and we were then given lovely pink ticket slips. The woman who wrote our tickets smiled at us and left us with a kind "Welcome to Plzen!"
|Paying for our crimes.|