Getting in from our night out at 5 am, I completed a James Bond-style mission to break into the hostel kitchen to get my wraps. We then had to wake up at 9am to pack and carry our heavy backpacks around Berlin, this was FAR from ideal. After twenty minutes of struggling, we realised we were walking in completely the wrong direction. After trying to save money, we ended up getting the S Bahn anyway to Berlin train station.
We arrived with just enough time to find the right platform as the train was pulling in. This 5-hour train was to be our first experience of real interrailing. To say it was completely packed is an understatement. We thought we were in luck when we managed to find a compartment with four empty seats. These compartments were tiny, so trying to get a huge backpack off and into the overhead storage involved a lot of negotiating. This happiness lasted for about 5 minutes. The people who had booked the seats appeared, and we were forced to squeeze out into the now packed corridor. Corridor is a very generous term for this space. It wasn’t even big enough to walk down with a backpack on. One person just about fit stood up. So having to try and squeeze past people was beyond a joke. Realising we had nowhere else to go we joined the lines of people sitting on the corridor floor trying to make ourselves as small as possible so people wouldn’t have to stand on us too much-going past. A very hungover Harrie was not at all happy with this situation. Much to the amusement of people in the carriages decided to sleep on the floor.
Every few minutes someone either slightly too large or with too much baggage would come past. We would be forced to stand up while they pinned themselves against us trying to get past. While we were stuck on the floor eating lunch, the guys in the carriage opposite us held up a piece of paper with a hangman on it. We then proceeded to play hangman and eye spy through the glass wall with four English guys. We never actually spoke to them instead of drawing and wiring on pieces of paper. All we had to do was slide the door open, but instead, we opted for this stranger method of communication. They enquired whether Harrie needed medical assistance. When we explained she was just hungover, they offered her more alcohol instead. Just over halfway through the journey, a carriage finally became free. We then left our new friends for a much comfier seat. In our new carriage companions were highly amused by our conversation as we discussed the amount of graffiti in Berlin, and Lucy noted her disappointment at the lack of penis graffiti. After this ordeal of a train journey, I would highly recommend booking seats, especially in peak times. It might cost a little bit more, but please learn from our mistakes.
Arriving in Prague, the temperature difference was instantly noticeable. It was scorching, and we had hefty backpacks, so did what all poor tourists would do and stopped off for food in McDonald’s. I would recommend exchanging money before arriving. While they do accept Euroes, everything is almost twice the price verse paying in Czech Crowns.
Our hostel was only a twenty-minute walk from the station, but with the heat and our bags, it took us a lot longer. We are staying at the Hostel & Pension Downtown, and it wasn’t like any of us had expected. It’s full of colour and very friendly, offering different social activities all day and night. Each room had its theme, we are still trying to work ours out, but it appears to be peacocks?
Our room is big and spacious for five people. Although air con in this heat would have been great, we instead have massive windows. The windows would be fine if there wasn’t a massive construction site opposite with loud builders. Other than this the location seems incredible right in the centre but not too noisy, and the kitchen is massive.
We managed to find Lucy’s friend Vicky who is staying with us for our time in Prague. We spent the evening exploring the area around the hostel and stocking up on food from the Tesco opposite. Wanting an early night, we headed back to the room to relax and play cards.