When I was looking at logistics for our Poland/Czech Republic trip, there were a lot of dots to connect. We would be flying into Berlin and out of Prague. In between, I had to plan a few train routes. I stumbled upon the AWESOME site Seat 61. (http://www.seat61.com/) This guy is the best! Everything and anything you need to know about European train travel, he has it. I figured out that there is a night train that runs regularly from Krakow to Prague, and having this lengthier train trip go through the night would spare us more daytime in these cities.
We boarded in Krakow around 9pm. The “captain” (as the kids called him) of our coach was a friendly man named Thomas. Or Tomek. I can’t remember. But he was friendly. He was in charge of the five or six cabins in our coach. He checked us in and the kids ran down the hallway to check out our cabins. I think they were a little taken aback by the minuscule size of them. And maybe I was, too. I remember the cabins being small back when I took night trains after college, but I guess I had forgotten just how small they were. We all had a laugh. The cabins are teeny tiny. There is almost no room to turn around or change your clothes. We “splurged” and paid to have a sink in our rooms but the bathroom is shared between all the cabins on the coach, and it is down the hall. It’s a great way to travel but it’s not luxurious!
Thomas came and took our breakfast orders and said he’d be back with breakfast about an hour before we pulled into Prague. We all settled in, with me, Vin and Ana in one cabin and Noonie and Sophie next door. And then, the power went out in our coach. Let me tell you, there is no darkness like the darkness of the Polish countryside. No outside light whatsoever. Moving around a tiny train cabin in the dark can be painful. Poor Thomas. He has a coachful of crabby travelers, complaining about the dark. And the lack of power for charging phones! Travelers these days need phones. Well, we don’t need them, but we rely on them heavily. For calling hotels or hostels, using Google maps, booking transportation, talking to loved ones. And with no power in our coach, everyone’s phones were dying. Looking back, it was good for us. Last time I was here, I had no phone. Just a paper map and a calling card. I knew we’d manage. So, we went to sleep. The train and the darkness rocked us all into a nice, deep sleep. Well, maybe just the kids. I slept intermittently. And then poof! Breakfast arrived and we were pulling into Prague. More on that later. It was a fun adventure. The kids will talk about it for years to come, for sure. Noonie…well, Noonie will stick to hotels and day train travel in the future, I think!