It would seem that this Spring Break has acquired a Bad Travel Sprite. To start off the saga, we missed our flight to Prague. Our train was completely disregarded by France’s SNCF workers. When we tried to get to the airport on the second day, we were derailed (har har) again because of the same strike, only this time, in Paris and on the RER (the fast trains that run through the city)!

The Travel Sprite got lost somewhere in Paris because when we arrived in Prague, our shuttle waited for us, timing perfect and the ease of which made us all rejoice. The next day, however, the Travel Sprite reappeared, and I misread our tram map. We got off on the wrong stop and had to navigate.

Now I will impart the story of why and how I came to be inexplicably on a bus headed toward Linz, Austria as stated at the beginning of the last entry. At the time I was writing the previous narrative, I was somewhere in the Czech countryside on a bus. I firmly believed I ought to be on a train, traveling straight to Salzburg, Austria. Instead, when we arrived at our train, two nanoseconds from boarding it, we were stopped by official train workers and told that we were going to be taking an “autobus.” What! Why did we buy train tickets to get on a Czech bus? Where does it say “bus” on our TRAIN TICKETS??!

I asked 3 or 4 different people and got the same response. “Ne, ne! Autobus for you! Ano!  Dobry!” (Translation: “Even though you bought a ticket to ride a train, You are not going to take one. You will be taking a bus for 6 hours into countryside you do not know where people speak a language you do not understand all while others look to you for answers.”) I know about 10 words of Czech, all of which were spoken to me with much head-nodding and pantomime. No doubt about it! We weren’t supposed to be on a train–we were supposed to be on a bus. Why the platform at the train station said “SALZBURG” on it and why other people weren’t visibly losing their minds over the thought of taking a bus to the middle of nowhere was beyond me. But the happy-looking woman and the seasoned-looking driver didn’t look confused. I reasoned that they were educated individuals who spoke significantly more Czech than me and walked on to the bus with much fear and trembling.

Watching the Czech countryside race by my bus window... Where were we going?

SIX HOURS LATER, we got off the bus in Linz, Austria and got ON to our train in Linz destined for Salzburg. Somewhere along the trip via bus, we crossed the Austrian border, stopped numerous times for toilet breaks and turn-arounds, gazed lovingly on the beautiful rolling hills of the eastern Czech countryside and wondered where on earth we could possibly be. I, meanwhile, sat as close to the front of the bus as possible and kept tabs on the highway we were taking (E55) just in case the driver took momentary leave of his senses. When we finally made it on to the train, had our tickets examined and deemed acceptable, I finally relaxed.

Another 4 hours later, I sat in a comfortable hostel in Salzburg, Austria while the raindrops stubbornly refused to stop dropping from the sky and the setting of the Sound of Music movie shrouded the city in fame. Around the corner, I knew Mozart’s birthplace, museum and artifacts were housed. And I knew that for the time being, the Travel Sprite would have to remain in slumber.

Click here to see the hostel I crashed at. It’s pretty sweet and featured as one of the world’s best hostels.

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