I left Prague this morning by Moe and Joe (left foot, right foot) dragging two suitcases behind me. “It’s a short walk. Just go that way and take the lift to the train and then go to the bus station.” Those were the vague directions on how to get to the bus stop for the long trip to Heidelberg, Germany.
Three information centers were closed in the train station. So I asked several people for directions to the bus station, and no one seemed to know it was right up the escalator on the other side of the room.
One guy said he’d help me if I’d give him some money. Another one said the information booths were closed because it was Christmas, and still others had no clue.
Then I finally found a woman traveler who pointed to the escalator and said, “it’s right up there.”
I got inside the 20’s art deco style building that a high dome with paint falling off the walls. It reminded me of an aging movie star.
I found a door that said something like a waiting room, and there I found a woman eating at her desk, in front of a computer. The rest of the room had some dirty blue chairs, two coat racks and a fire extinguisher.
The filthy carpet reminded me of my Soledad Bee office. But I waited there until it was time to catch the bus.
I was lucky to meet two young women on the bus. Lauren is from Australia and had worked for a world health organization. Her contract was up, and, while waiting for another one, she took some time off to travel.
The other lady, Helene Goarzin, from France, was doing some preparation for her masters degree in U.S. History. This interesting young lady’s emphasis in history is the 50s and early 60s racial climate in the U.S. and also the early women’s movement.
I dubbed her Wonder Woman, because for our last train change, we had only three minutes to get from one platform to the next and we worried about that for 6 hours from the bus, to a train, and to another train. So when we got there, she simple picked up her suitcase, slung it over her shoulders and grabbed my suitcases under both her arms and ran like heck to catch the train. I ran as quickly as I could and hopped on behind her.
I don’t know if I would have caught the train on time without her. I said goodbye to her after an 8 hour day.
I wanted to get to Heidelberg on time because I was being met by my friend Nathalie Ebikeme.
She was there and together we got on another train, and then walked a few blocks to her house.
Her sons, Pascal and Demsay and I ate a great dinner that Nathalie prepared.
I met Nathalie and Demsay in Iceland earlier this year. They were staying in the same hostel as I and we became friends…just like that.
Nathalie is a wonderful cook. We had a smooth pumpkin soup with a salad of tiny leaves that she purchased fresh from a farmer in town. Delicious.