Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Friday 3 June – Linz to Prague

1012 Linz to Wien Meidling 1207
1233 Wien Meidling to Prague 1617

Trams are a very quick way to get to the station.  Each stop is announced but not only the stop but the places served.  We were intrigued by one announcement which said "Ooodle noodle".

Because the direct line between Linz and Prague entails a connection of two hours we decided to travel via Vienna. The train to Vienna was fine but the train to Prague was very bad indeed. The only good thing about it was that there was Austrian locomotive all the way through which ensured an on time arrival. The equipment was Czech, very old, poorly maintained and the air conditioning failed – on a hot day. The brakes needed adjustment as they they tended to grab and the ride could be described as a sort of gallop.

Czech railways seem to consist of abandoned roundhouses and masses of abandoned locomotives that will never work again. The passenger cars, of which there are many discarded, are painted all different colours. It seems they used the particular colour that was available at the time. There are many four wheeled passenger buses.

Czech train dispatching is very poor.  They put a freight train out ahead of us from Breclav, then there wasn't a siding to put it out of the way so they stopped it on the main line.  Stopped us behind it and then ran us around and while doing this we stopped a passenger train going in the opposite direction.  Bearing in mind we had a 25 minute station stop in Breclav you have to work pretty hard to cause this much confusion.

Prague station was confusing and we were unable to find a Tourist Information office. What little I have seen of Prague so far is dirty and the architecture is no better than what we have already experienced in Austria. The Central area is packed with lager louts and tourists.

Old town square
We found a restaurant serving local food. Mary had pork while I had rabbit. Both were very good as was the beer. It was cheap and we were able to pay in euros.

Hope I feel better about the place tomorrow.

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