Monday- This morning we packed our bags, made sure the kitchen and our room were cleaned up, and left the apartment for the last time. We found our way to Kafe Francin, a little coffee place I’ve been eyeing from the train every day. Then we went to a couple thrift stores where surprisingly, I made my first personal purchases since the trip began. Stuff was cheap, less than a dollar for a lot of it and I found a lace edged, mustard handkerchief thing for me and also something for Mom♡ Madison found a super cool vintage brown leather purse that she is going to restitch. Like what a cool thing to remember Prague by. We went to a shopping mall and had lunch and went into a grocery store. The stores here never cease to surprise me. The cheese, for example. When we went to the Netherlands a couple years ago we took cheese home for Dad Kevin because he loved weird cheese. He would always say “a little mold never hurt anybody ” so the cheese we see here wouldn’t bother him like it does me. It is full of mold. Far past the stage of common bleu cheese. It’s disgusting but it’s for sale everywhere.
Then we were off to Prague Central Station. I love the central stations here. They are like airports with the people pulling suitcases and hauling backpacks, but they’re also like a shopping mall with a food court and any kind of store you’d need. Our train was delayed half an hour so Madison and I sat in a Burger King booth and read while Morgan wandered around. This train was the first long-ride train we’ve taken on this trip, from Prague, Czechia, to Vienna, Austria. Some of the longer trains like the one today have little compartments with six seats in each of them. Morgan and I were in one compartment with 4 other guys, and Madi was in one a couple down from us with other people. The doors slide closed on them and they basically are little hotboxes. It was absolutely stifling and why we won’t take that particular train again. Anyways one of the men in our compartment was from Ohio and was originally from Hanford, near Fresno! He was a professor who taught teachers how to teach. You just never know who you’ll meet. I read John Grisham for most of the trip but we did see some stunning scenery. We went through mountainous regions in Czechia with pine trees and rivers, and then into Austria we had fields and fields of wheat being harvested and even wind towers so we really felt like we were getting close to Montezuma. We arrived into Vienna station at 9:30, about an hour behind so it was darkish already. We got supper in the food court and caught a train just a couple minutes down the line, close to where we are staying for night. We got an airbnb close to where we leave from tomorrow so we are putting the washing machine here to use and then going to bed. We are on the same time zone that we were in Czech, the Central European Summer Time which is 6 hours ahead of Michigan time and 9 ahead of California.
Tuesday- Our Airbnb is probably the worst we’ve had on this trip, although it was actually fine. The dryer didn’t dry our clothes so we stuffed them into trash bags and hauled them along while we walked over to the car rental. In hindsight I’m glad we had the wet clothes bags because Madison and I used them for seating at the car rental place. With some bribing Morgan was able to get his international drivers license and then a car rented. Then we spread the wet laundry over every possible surface in the vehicle and were off. We’ve been living high on the hog compared to other backpacking trips: warm showers, clean clothes every day, a washing machine at some of the houses, etc. so wet laundry doesn’t matter. We headed west out of Vienna and after a couple hours or so of beautiful scenery, we arrived in Gmunden. It is a little town on the north tip of Traunsee, Austria’s deepest lake. It is so absolutely beautiful. Mountains that go right to the water, trees on hills and the blue lake. We got gelatos and walked around the town until it started raining so we drove back to Wels, where we are spending the evening rewashing some clothes and relaxing. We have a 10th floor apartment with a lovely view of green hills and the sun shining in patches down on them. Morgan went out to get supper for us and Madison is sleeping off a headache while I write.
Some notes: 1. One thing I notice here is the lack of standing signs from places like McDonald’s or Burger King or hotels. The view from our window is just city lights and no tall neon or lighted signs. 2. Our little SUV has glorious a/c.