BootsnAll Travel Network

Cesky Krumlov: Hello, Beardy

rustle rustle……. silence


“Did you hear that?” whispered Bec across the pillow, through the darkness.

rustle…..rustle rustle…….silence

“Yeah. Is that…….is that a mouse?” I asked, hoping like hell it wasn´t.

“Yeah, I think so.”

“Should I turn the light on?”

“Yeah, better.”

It was the middle of the night, our last night in Cesky Krumlov. To escape the mouse upstairs, the one that chewed up my headphones, and to get some much needed privacy we had moved downstairs into a double room. But it seemed it wasn´t as private as we´d hoped; it was sounding as though the mouse had moved with us. I leant over and switched on the light, rubbing my eyes in the sudden brightness. We both looked in the direction of the noise. It had been coming from Bec´s side of the bed, where our bags laid against the wall. Bec slapped the cupboard that sat next to our bags, hoping to scare it out. Nothing. She then lashed out at her own bag, giving it a mighty wallop near the base. As she did so, a little grey blob went flying across the room. Bec gave a shreik, and I jumped back, startled. Being blind as a bat and without my glasses, at first I thought it was, well, a bat.

“What the fuck!? Was that the mouse?”

Yep, this was the mouse, flying through the air like it´d joined the mouse circus and volunteered for the mouse-cannonball sketch. It was 3 feet in the air, and flew a good 4 feet across the room, before landing somewhere behind my bag. “There it goes,” Bec yelped as it scurried out from under my bag and back behind the cupboard, where it presumably stayed the rest of the night. We heard no more out of our furry little friend that night, thankfully, but sleep isn´t exactly easy to come by when you lay there expecting an evil flying mouse to come and land on your face at any moment, thus we were still a little groggy when we finally got up.

So, after a grand total of three and a half weeks in Cesky Krumlov (broken up by a one week stint in Berlin in the middle) it was time to move on. We said our goodbyes to Greg and the others, and caught a bus around noon to Prague. A bus that was full to the hilt, I might add, I´m talking people standing down the entire aisle. And the guy standing just in front of us apparently got very little sleep the night before also, cause he had no worries falling asleep whilst standing up. Every few minutes his legs would give way and he´d begin to collapse in a heap like a rag doll, then suddenly come to his senses and open his eyes to give a quick glance around, before shrugging his shoulders, closing his eyes, and going right back to sleep. To sleeping-boy´s credit, the guy sitting right below him only got whacked in the head by a sleeping arm once.

From Prague, our plans were to catch a train further north to Dresden, in the southwest of Germany. We had passed through here on the way to and from Berlin a few weeks earlier, and from planning those trips we knew the trains ran about every two hours. We´d caught an 11.18am train last time, and so were hoping that there´d be a train at 5.18pm this time, based on our two-hour assumption. We arrived at the main train station in Prague around 4.45pm, which seemed perfect, and so immediately bought two tickets to Dresden. The tickets weren´t for any specific train, but rather were open and could be used at any time during the next two months.

We rushed around to the departures board and scanned the listings; no 5.18pm train to Dresden. Damn. Hmmm, what do we do now?

After standing around for a few minutes, heavy packs still strapped to our backs (Prague´s main train station is not the sort of place you want to go leaving your bags lying around), we approached an information desk, but were told they only speak Czech and that an English information service was located downstairs and to the left. We followed the directions, downstairs and to the left, and found nothing but the ticket booths where we´d bought our tickets, and each of these booths had a sign stating in no uncertain terms that the people manning the booths had zero information on the train timetable. Their job was solely to take money from people. They may as well have been monkeys.

We looked around, and found no information booth, so wandered back up to the departures board. Still no train to Dresden listed. After another scan around, we found an information board which, to our relief, listed a train to Berlin, which passed through Dresden, for 7.03pm. It was only 5.30pm by this stage, and so we headed into town to get some food, safe in the knowledge that we´d be in Dresden later that night.

After a cheap Chinese meal, we made it back to the station around 6.30pm, and strolled back up to the departure board. Departing trains were listed in order, starting with the next to leave. I rolled my eyes down the board; ok, there´s 6.50pm to Olomouc, 6.59pm to Salzburg, 7.10pm to Plzen, 7.18pm to Brno, wait wait wait, back up, where´s the 7.03 to Berlin?

I looked to Bec, and our shoulders simultaneously slumped. Shit.

We had to find an information desk, and after 15 minutes of searching downstairs and to the left, we spotted a small i way off in the distance, hidden in the far corner, obscured by a pack of drunks. Navigating around them, we made it to the counter and asked for information on the next train to Dresden. We were printed off a sheet listing all the times for trains the next day. “Uh, is there anything else tonight?” Bec asked after approaching the desk again. “No.” came the blunt reply.

“Man, the chick who sold us the tickets could´ve told us that.” Stupid monkey.

We looked again at the sheet, the last train had left Prague at 5.35pm.

“Hang on, we were here at a quarter to five, there was no train.” I protested to Bec, as though she could magically make it reappear.

“Shit, it left from a different station.”

“What?! Since when does an international train not leave a major city from its main train station?” But it was no use, we were stuck in Prague, again. For the fourth time on this trip, we caught the metro out to Sir Toby´s hostel, and were greeted by the staff like old friends. It could´ve been a lot worse. We quickly checked in, and made our way to the downstairs bar for a few beers, where they played a wonderful soundtrack of Johnny Cash and The Shins, whilst it began to snow outside. Yeah, it could´ve been a lot worse.

The first train the next morning left at 7.22am, and we set our sights firmly on that, rising at 6.30 the next morning to get there in time. The previous night´s snow had mostly cleared, but once we got to the train station it began snowing again. We didn´t know it at the time, but it would be another 24 hours before we saw it stop.

The landscape we had passed the previous week on the way to Berlin had transformed from a green countryside with a river bordered on the far side by steep rocky cliffs, into a dazzling white blur. Trees devoid of leaves were turned into living ying-yang symbols, with the snow coming in at such an angle as to only cover one side of the branches. Big chunks of ice stuck to the outside window like globs of glue. And Bec and I sat cosily in our cabin, dozing on and off.

We reached the Czech-German border, where the Czech passport contorl officer opened the door to our cabin, and asked for our passports. He took mine first.

“Tsk, tsk, tsk,” he grunted, shaking his head. He looked up at me, back down to my passport photo, then back up to me, and again shook his head. I froze. What was wrong? I´d heard some horror stories about passport contorl officers from other travellers, mostly that they are arseholes who do everything they can to make your life difficult. Although so far on this trip, Bec and I had encountered only friendly, smiling officers in nearly all countries.

I looked over to Bec, and her facial expression told me she was just as nervous. I turned back to the officer, and, with just the slightest hint of a grin, he made a shaving motion with his hand. My beard is running wild at the moment, and my passport photo is possibly the last photo taken before I grew it a few years ago. Bec laughed, and grabbed my beard in her hands, “Yes, I know, it´s coming off at Christmas,” she jokingly said to the officer. He looked at her with a smile, then, without averting his gaze, pointed at me, stretched out his thumb and flicked it back over his shoulder. The message was clear, unless I have a shave, she should give me the flick. Thanks mate.

Ten minutes later, the German passport control officer reached our cabin. He took my passport in his hand and looked down to the picture, “Aye aye aye,” he blurted out, jerking his head back to get a better look at both the photo and me. he looked startled, as though he´d just seen a flying mouse. He yelled down the hall to his companion, as though shouting, “Hey Hank, come get a load of this guy.” The second passport officer arrived at the door and looked at my passport, then, upon locking eyes on me, shook his head whilst stroking his chin. Again Bec laughed, whilst I hung my head in mock shame. They had a chuckle to themselves before stamping our passports with a smile, and venturing on.

I don´t know if it´s because we´re travelling in winter, and are generally amongst the only backpackers on each train, but we have had nothing but funny experiences with passport control.

So finally, around 22 hours after leaving Cesky Krumlov, we arrived at our destination, a snow covered Dresden. But it would still be another hour and a half before we made it to our hostel, tired, with sore shoulders, and covered in snow.

Tags: , , , , ,

One Response to “Cesky Krumlov: Hello, Beardy”

  1. Jaime Says:

    What? No pictures of the infamous red(?) beard?

    Hoping the happiest of holidays in your travels.

  2. Posted from United States United States
  3. Cian Higgins Says:


    Just leaving this reply to wish you both a Happy Christmas and Best wishes for 2006. The weekend in Clare was one of the best this year and IF we get as good next year we will be doing ok.
    Good Luck on your travels

    Cian Higgins

  4. Posted from Ireland Ireland
  5. Gina Hogan Says:

    Hi Bec and Blue! HAPPY CHRISTMAS! I’m just about to have breakfast at your mum and dad’s. Had tea with the Hogan clan at Grandma’s last night and came around here for a cosy bed. Sun is actually shining this morning. Hope you are both having a fabulous ‘white’ Christmas in Germany. I was told you are having Christmas with a big group of friends so I’m absolutely sure you’ll have a fantastic festive time. Looking forward to seeing you when you return next year. Love Gina (and the crew) xxoo

  6. Posted from Australia Australia
  7. admin Says:

    Hi guys, thanks for the Christmas wishes. Today is the first time i´ve been on the internet in well over a week, so sorry for the lack of updates, but I´m sure you´ve all been too busy partying and recovering to notice.

    Pictures of the beard are on their way, but I´m not promising anything pretty.

    Cian, our weekend in Ireland still remains bloody high on our list of highlights, so hi to everyone there for us.

    Gina, hope the Hogan christmas went well. Mum has sent me a couple of photos, but hopefully she´s got some more for me.

  8. Posted from Germany Germany

Leave a Reply