A few weeks in the Czech Republic

A few weeks in the Czech Republic

I needed to get out of Bangkok Thailand – maybe it was the heat, the bad beer of the wife. I’m not really sure but it had gotten to the point where I was getting angry at strangers. I’m sure a beating by a bunch of Thais was only weeks away.

In some ways this is the trip which nearly wasn’t, thanks to a lack of funding. I had to re-arrange my schedule and skip Germany (too pricey), ending up in the Czech Republic.

Sorry Gareth – was looking forward to catching up with you in Hamburg alas twas not to be. Next time 555

I’ve decided to decamp in Plzeň for two weeks, laptop in tow so the work ticks over – gotta keep the bossman happy.

A few days in , I know I’ve made the right decision as the cost of living in CZ is insanely cheap.

Day 1 – Bangkok to Plzeň – The long way

 Plane

LH773 BKK-FRA | FLIGHT TIME: 12 HOURS | 2 beers | Chicken Schnitzel | Omelette & Apple juice

There was a time when I found air travel enjoyable – those days are long gone. Having said that, LH773 wasn’t too bad.

An 11PM departure from BKK sees the wife driving me to the airport (thanks babe!) and clearing security is a nightmare. I haven’t taken many flights out of the Kingdom at this time of day. Don’t!

It takes an hour to clear security and immigration. I wander around, have a panini and buy some Strepsils to soothe my sore throat.

Get to the gate and am quizzed by the gate attendant as to whether I am traveling to Paris without any checked baggage. Sorry I lied about spending time with a friend in the Marais. Jumping off in FRA but couldn’t tell you that, and I managed to get both my bags thru as carry-on. Score!

Lufthansa, you’ve caused me enough grief already with your exorbitant change fees.

But boy does the Airbus A340-300 climb slowly compared to the A310. As we hurtle down the runway I catch myself thinking “Lift that nose. Anytime you’re ready, captain.”. Yeah I know, much bigger plane but it has 4 engines FFS

I manage to sleep for 6 hours on the flight, which is a new record. Food is decent, and I knock back a couple of cans of Warsteiner.

Watch The Post – Hanks is always good and doesn’t disappoint, and a documentary about Connor Macgregor the (still) notorious MMA fighter.

De-planing in Frankfurt at 6 AM local time and it’s 10 degrees Celsius. Time to throw a jacket on again.

 Trains

Depart Frankfurt (Flughafen) 10:02 ICE 1521 | Nürnberg 12:37 RE5287 | Cheb 14:36 IC 515 | Arrive Plzeň hl.n 15:54

I am making my way to Plzeň via Nürnberg and Cheb. It would add 6 hours to an already weary body.

In hindsight I now know I could have easily made the 8 AM train, but I wasn’t sure. Turned out immigration was a mere formality with most people catching connecting flights. I played it safe, and now have to wait 3.5 hours for my 10 AM ride to Nürnberg on ICE 1521.

I got a bargain price though, booking through the Czech Railways website, which compared to using the DB variant is a quarter of the price (EUR 17). I had to change trains a few times, and the connections were tight, especially the first change where I had 5 minutes, of which I used 4 minutes and 30 seconds. Amazed I didn’t miss it.

Nearly caught out by another change, of which I was not aware, but thankfully I knew enough German to realise the announcement had something to do with needing to change trains to get to Cheb. I wonder if I was in the wrong car as it appeared the train may have split into two at this station (unsure of name).

Eventually I arrive in Cheb and am confused as to which platform I need for the last train to Plzeň. Had to walk to the front of the station to check the main board, turns out I need platform 1.

After 10 minutes, the train arrives and I settle in while snacking on crisps and a beer for € 2.50. It’s noticeable how the scenery has changed, including the architecture of the houses.

Needs to be said, when traveling by trains in Europe, travel light as you are the one who has to lug all those bags up and down stairs between platforms.

 Automobiles

Well, a couple of buses – does that count?

Tried to buy bus tickets in the main station, and had a few issues. Seems the locals couldn’t understand me or were generally confused. I have that effect on people.

Got what I needed in the Relay store – five local bus tickets for 18 Kč each and found the buses I needed to get to my accommodation.

I had arrived after a long fucking travel day! After a few beers, I collapse into bed at around 8 PM (on a Friday night no less!)

 Budget

My budget for this trip is exactly € 50 per day so I have to be careful. That covers food and general spending money, I’ve paid for the remaining travel except for a train ticket to Prague and an airport transfer.

On Day 1 I spend € 7.60 on coffees, € 16 on drinks and food for the train and I change some money into CZK.

I know I’m getting screwed on the rate when I change cash at FRA – Kč 500 costs me € 26 and change, including a commission. Faaark, when was the last time I had to pay an FX commish? Long time ago.

I had to get some dosh though, as I had already done the research and the Cambio joints are some way from the main railway station. Gotta hit the ground running, so to speak.

I’m right on budget for the first day – A boring yet necessary one.

Now the trip starts..

Read the next installment…

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of
avatar
wpDiscuz