Europe, Day Four (Sept 11): Train from Prague to Vienna

One thing I find the GPS instructions provided by Google and Apple lack is local knowledge.    This morning, I caught a tram near my hotel to go to the train station.   I got off of the bus and couldn’t find the station.  I was using both Google and Apple maps and had some odd routing instructions.  I walked around for about a mile.  I finally ended up back at the bus stop.  I asked someone who spoke a little English.   Turns out the train station was right there, but through a park.  It’s partially my fault because I over rely on those instructions.   I should have been doing a better job with map reading.

The train station (Praha hlavní nádraží) was very large and very confusing.   I finally went down to the ticket office and found someone to help me.  It turns out, I needed to monitor the Odjezdy (Departures) board 20 minutes before my scheduled departure time to find out which platform my train was leaving on.

Other things to know for the train is your car number and seat assignment.   I was in car 25, seat 16.

The train ride was just over four hours and pretty relaxing.   There were some gals, dressed like country girls, who were handing out free samples of hard cider.

The Vienna train station was larger than the one in the Czech Republic.   I don’t speak much German, but I do better with the signage than the ones in Czech.

I only had Czech Crowns and needed to get some Euros.  I could not find a currency exchange.   I settled for an ATM and withdrew €200.  I should have taken either €180 or €220.   The reason is that the ATM dispensed two €100 notes.   Not the easiest thing to break.   I needed a subway pass and a €100 note won’t work.   I also needed change to use the restroom (I found this peculiar).  The only coins I had were Crowns.

I had heard that there could be problems using a credit card, in Europe, that wasn’t chip-and-pin enabled.  The half-assed solution U.S. banks have is chip-and-signature.  I gave up trying to use it in the Czech Republic.

My credit card did work for a subway pass.  I bought a 72 hour pass for €16.5.  Had the card not worked, I’d have had to get in a long line for the ticket office.  I really needed to pee and I had no euros to pay with.

I used my physical map (Streetwise brand) to figure out which train and which stop.  I made it to the hotel without issue.

I went out looking for a restaurant/pub.  I went into a place and had veal wiener schnitzel.  It was a very large portion and was very greasy.  I didn’t like it much.

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I came back to the hotel and took a nap.

Once I got up, I went out walking around the area.   Vienna, like Prague, is a tough city to accurately represent in pictures.   The Vienna Opera House is like the Grand Canyon.  It’s impossible to photograph either in a way that accurately represents their beauty.

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