I wake up around 7. Didn’t sleep well despite crashing out as soon as I hit the pillow. We get cleaned up and Czech out of Post. The tatted dude that always seems to be working the desk comes across as grumpy. I think it’s just his resting face. He wishes us well, “D’ave a gud treep”
We walk over to the subway. James’ backpack is ridiculously huge. He’s half tank, half hermit crab, full tourist. I’m giving him shit about it. “Hey man, this is like all I own”, “Oilers jersey, hiking boots, shorts and that fucking backpack. You’re killing it. If looking like a douche is what you were going for”, “Hey, fuck you”
The longest escalator in the world takes us underground to the metro. We’ve gotta go two stops and switch trains then catch a bus to the airport to the rental car place. It takes almost an hour to get to the airport.
We swing over to Europcar and the guy behind the desk looks up and smiles at us. “Yeah, we’d like to rent a car”, “Where to?”, ‘Riga”, “No we don’t rent to Riga. Only as far as Warsaw. No further East than that”, “That’s interesting” he smiles and looks up at us, “It’s not interesting, it’s Russian. You know?”, “Yep. Ok thanks we’ll check around and see if anyone will”, “Ok, good luck.”
Go next door to Avis. Nope, only Warsaw. Hmmmm ok how about we try Sixt. “Let me check if there are any Eastern cars here. You can’t take our cars up there…”, she goes in the back to check. Fingers crossed, come ooooon Sixt. “No none, sorry.”, “Ok how about Warsaw”, “Yes yes”, “Just two days. Leave here and drop off there”, “Yes that is 975 euros. There is a 650 euro drop off fee”, “Oh shit, we’re not doing that. “No we can’t, sorry”, “I understand.” Wow, that’s insane. Over a grand for two days?
Back to europcar and the dude smiles at us again. He’s been watching us pinball our way to every counter in the room at this point. It’s basically the same deal but 575 drop off fee. “Ok, no we can’t do that”, “Yes it would be cheaper and maybe more comfortable to you to just fly to Riga or Warsaw. Better than this for sure”, “Ok thanks man. We’ll figure it out”, “Of course. Good luck to you.”
Sooooooo might as well grab a bite and coffee at the airport then and figure this shit out. We find a bar to sit at and order some ham and cheese sandwiches and coffees. It’s good. Ok change of plans. Probably have to ditch the bone church or Cesky Raj now. Catch a bus to Wroclaw? Yep. Looks like it goes right through Cesky Raj. It leaves from Prague at 12:35. That’s an hour and a half from now. Ok I’m in. Alright, planning done. “Having no plan is always the best plan”, “Ha, there’s a drink here called the smooth touchdown.”
We go wait for the bus back to Prague so we can go to the station there and get the bus to Wroclaw. “It’s pronounced vrots-wahf?”, “Yeah crazy. It has four different names depending on which country occupied it at the time.”
We start joking about our morning, “We’re in Prague, where do you wanna get breakfast?”, “Oh I dunno, the airport. Let’s just grab a train to the bus to the airport for a croissant and coffee. Kill two hours, then make our way back”, “Yeah sounds good.”
Take the Regiojet bus to Florenc to catch the bus to Wroclaw there. There’s WiFi on the bus and entertainment screens. James starts typing in pornhub on the infotainment screen. I’m just shaking my head, “Please don’t. Please stop.” He’s laughing at his own jokes.
Start looking into things to do in Wroclaw. Lots more Gothic architecture. A badass looking square. 300 bronze dwarves scattered throughout. The Jimmy festival. Has the Guinness book of world records for most guitars playing at once. My kinda city
They have an allergy codex here. Numbers by menu items tell you what allergy-type ingredients might be in them. James finds it on the little screen. I’m 2,4,14. This is a really smart system that I think everyone should adopt.
- Cereals containing gluten
- Crustaceans and derived products
- Eggs and derived products
- Fish and derived products
- Peanuts and derived products
- Soybeans and derived products
- Milk and derived products (including lactose)
- Nuts: almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, pecans, Brazilian nuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts and derived products.
- Celery and derived products
- Mustard and derived products
- Sesame seeds and derived products
- Sulfur dioxide and sulphites
- Lupin and derived products
- Shellfish and derived products
We come back to the city and cross the bridge by the Dancing House. Ahhhh it’s good to be back in Prague. We find the Flixbus office and look into tickets. They’re pumping dance tunes. There are three people in here with crossed arms, everyone is in leather jackets. It’s a small posse of metal gangsters listening to trance music. Weird. Only the lady talks to us, the two guys just look at us the whole time. Maybe they’re sleeping with their eyes open. It feels like we’re getting favors from the mob.
The next two buses are full so the 1420 bus it is. It’s direct so a bit faster. We can just grab lunch and some drinks, maybe blog up while we wait. It comes out to 1228 for two tickets so about 50 bucks. That’s waaaaaay better than 1000 for the rental car.
We walk to a coffee shop called Parlor just down the street to pass the time. Really cool place. High arched ceiling with plants strung up. We grab some comfy seats in the corner. The server says they’re out of the pancakes and Sweet Dutch baby. That’s a funny thing to say. Never heard of a dutch baby. There’s a savory one too. Looks great, I’m in. So is MacKay.
Wow these Dutch babies are delicious. I’m gonna eat Dutch Babies all the time.
I think I’ll risk pissing my pants on the bus and get some beer. “We only serve craft beer and they are all Czech.” He retrieves four large bottles and a smaller one. American red, IPA, double ipa, another IPA and a pale. I go for the pale since it’s the only pint sized one. Probably have to buy the whole large bottle and James isn’t having any.
I finish a couple blog posts and my beer. Got time for one more. Yep they only sell the large beers full bottle so I can’t really try them. That’s too bad. “Yeah this guy isn’t gonna help me and we have to leave soon”, “I would help you but the boss might come in”, “Haha next time.” Nice kid.
Parlor is a great place to kill an hour. Comfy with deep house tunes. Relaxing spot and good food/drink. I wish there was a place that cool where I live.
Over to the bus. Bus Guy loads every single bag before ours. Kinda weird since we were the first ones up there. Maybe loading the big bags first. At least we’ll be first to grab our shit on the way off
A girl gets on and sits with James even though there are lots of open seats. You go big boy. She’s been on an exchange program here for court
Her name’s is Daga. English is great, she’s very talkative. Lots of umm-hmm umm-hmmms. She’s very giggly. And polite. They chat it up big time
Daga has a lot of good recommendations, specifically Zagopane and the Tatra Mountains. Not the first time those mountains have come up on this trip, the Estonian guy from Day -1 said they’re his favourite place in Europe, high praise indeed.
I toss in the ear buds and go straight to my favorite bus ride through a foreign country music: The War on Drugs. Actually this might be a good time to give that new Tool album a more active listen, it probably deserves. Oh yeah, this is good too.
Ahhhh nope looks like we’re not going by Cesky Raj after all. Oh well, near miss. That’s too bad. This country side is pretty though.
We pass through a little town called Jaromer. It reminds me of similar places in the South of the country that we’d driven through on the rally. I like being here in the countryside seeing a different side of Czech.
Through another slightly larger town called Nachod now. The drive is going by quickly which is nice. Just listening to tunes and finger swiping blog notes in on the phone.
Cross straight into Poland seamlessly before getting to a place called Klodzko. And that’s that. With zero fanfare we are now in Poland. We pull over for a minute but I have no idea why. No one gets out. Maybe they’re switching drivers?
On the outskirts of Klodzko is a place called Minieuroland. The billboard shows miniature replicas of national monuments? Leaning tower, big Ben, Eiffel tower and statue of liberty on the sign.
Sun goes down and we’re getting close to Wroclaw now. We’ve passed lots and lots of wheat and corn fields. We get stuck in a line of traffic on approach.
MacKay is still chatting with that girl. She should grab dinner with us or something. She seems incredibly nice.
Into Wroclaw passed the car dealerships and a monument with two tanks. I can see a single tall tower in the distance. We’ll have to get up there for a city shot if we can. We hop off the bus and I go to put my day pack back in my main one. Zipper busted. Shit. It will only close one way now, top to bottom. Slightly inconvenient but at least it’s not split wide open. Yet.
We come out of the bus/train station and straight into a mall. What is this Hong Kong? Bathroom time. It’s called Toalety here. Looking for toalety. “From now on I’m calling it going toalety”, “Please don’t do that.”
I’m still chirping MacKay on his ‘fashion-sense’ and impracticality. Here’s a template for looking like a knob in a foreign country.
It’s a 25 minute walk to Moon hostel. We cross town and find a back alley entrance not far from the main square. Wroclaw looks like it has potential already. We follow signs for reception up to the third floor. Nope, by third floor they mean fourth floor. We get to Moon Hostel and drop our bags by the front desk. No one here. We wait a bit but after five minutes, still no one.
I walk down the hall passed a kitchen and common area. This is a nice place. It’s quiet and clean. No one to be seen.
A few minutes later a dyed red-haired girl comes up and suddenly stops when she sees us. She looks around, “Sorry I was in the laundry. It was a hard day and I was always back and forth.” She works her leg like a dance move when she points back and forth. “It’s ok, we just got here.” She sits behind the counter, “Murphy Jonathan”, “That’s me”, “Oh lovely hair. I would like curly hair but as you see. No.” This girl is funny. She’s like a cartoon.
“Jonathan from Canada?”, “Yep”, “Oh Canada is good. Where’s your crazy accent?”, “Yeah I don’t really have one”, “Huh. How can you be from Canada with no crazy accent”, “Forged passport?”, “Huh.”
“Ok, follow me”, she bolts down the hall and we grab our bags and catch up. “So check out is 1030. The door will also close between 10 and 6. At this time there is person working. You have electric thing in key to open door. You supposed to call reception but for me I’ve worked nights and I think this is stupid because your key opens door and this is too much bother so I think just open yourself. Brown door. Use key, open door. It’s no problem”, “Ok, cool.”
“And then there is also, ah…” She looks up at the ceiling and scrunches here face, “Ok” and she just walks away.
We open the door and there are two bunk beds and a single. Oh I thought we had a private ensuite not a five bed dorm. This is fine but maybe we should check in case a bunch of people show up while we’re out. Back in the hall a girl in leather pants is carrying two hot teas and walking really slow so as not to spill them.
I can hear Red Cartoon talking on the phone super fast. I wait for her to finish and she looks up. “Yes is everything ok?”, “Yes, I just thought we had a private room is all”, “What, yes”, “Yes we have a private room?”, ” Yes, all five beds are yours”, “Can we take the of them out?” She’s already back on the phone.
We go back and settle in. “Ok well, I’ll sleep here in this bed until 3am and then switch to this one”, “I’m just gonna jump top bunk to top bunk”, “Settled.”
James pulls out his phone and starts blasting Angel of Death by Slayer. Wow. Oh right the lyrics start with Auschwitz. Yeah, while we’re in Poland we should probably get there too.
We get ready to go out. Time to grab a bite and find a good spot for dranks. I ask Red Cartoon is she has any suggestions for a place to eat. “Go out and five minutes you will find the mart. I don’t know what you want to eat and I can not Eat some things so I don’t know. But go to the mart and there are many things. I don’t know what you like. I don’t know you. So I don’t know what to say. But what I can say is got to the mart and just get what you like. It is five minutes. You will see it. The mart. Five minutes, straight up that way. That is what I will say.” She just keeps going and going making the same points over and over. A combination of her look, thick accent and this cute verbal diarrhea makes her hilarious.
But yeah, that’s not helpful at all, let’s go see for ourselves. Find out what Wroclaw is all about. How do you pronounce that again? Vratislav?