BUDAPEST, Hungary – 11:42 a.m. Monday, August 3 until 11:42 a.m. Tuesday, August 4 – that was perhaps the craziest, most adrenaline rushing 24-hour period that I’ve had in my life.I landed in Prague at about 11:15 a.m. Monday, two days later than I thought due to the mind boggling flight cancellation with no notice and the flight not even existing – still something that puzzles me beyond belief.
Anyways, after going through passport control, to the luggage claim I go – even though the backpack I brought with me for my trip is carry-on regulation, according to the airline, the bag weighed too much and thus it had to be checked – something I was hesitant about from the get-go, but also something that I had no say in.
So, as I wait and wait and wait for the luggages to go around, there is no sign of mine, and then there were no more luggage bags coming from the plane: problem #1.
So, to the baggage claim help desk I go.
Though very helpful, my backpack was still nowhere to be found in the Czech Republic.
Problem #2: I’m only in Prague for one day and then heading to Budapest, where – if found – will my backpack be sent there?
After understanding my situation, I left the airport to enjoy my one and only day in Prague… just me and nothing else.
Prague is without question on the top three most beautiful cities I have ever been in.
Aspects of the city had me mixing Munich, Barcelona and Naples together – and only the best from each of those cities, I really was blown away.
I really got the most of the day largely in part due to someone I met while on my walking tour, Brad Sisneros.
During our break from the 3-hour tour, we all went to a pub where I had the pleasure to be joined by Mr. Sisernos, a successful man in many ways, if I do say so myself.
He resides in St. Thomas and owns a booming traveling company – pretty cool if you ask me.
So we clicked right away and after the tour was over, Brad became my tour guide for the rest of the day since he had already been in Prague for 5 or so days.
That has to be one of my favorite parts of traveling – the unexpected people you meet and become friends with and I’m not talking about having a conversation with them and that’s it. No, I mean become good friends quick because – in my opinion – you both already share something that cannot be taught – the beauty of what the world has to offer by wandering the streets of cities where you don’t speak a word of their language and relishing every moment of it.
It felt like I was on my own private tour, Brad had Prague down like the back of his hand, and with him being one of the most social people I have ever met, him finding the best place for dinner was not a problem at all.
And what a dinner it was. I had pork neck with fried onions on top all complimented with an onion gravy – so so tender that the pork literally melted in your mouth. With a hefty portion of bread dumpling on the side and 2 or 3 or how many beers it was later, I felt like a million bucks and ready to see what the Prague nightlife had to offer. Oh, and the entire meal cost $10, when converted back to U.S. currency.
Let’s give an inside to my mindset at the point: I’m blown away by Prague, Brad is on his A game and making sure that for the 20 hours I’m in Prague, I use every moment to my advantage. However, the labor backpack is still looming in the back of my mind knowing how detrimental this is could mean for the rest of the trip.
Well, after not going to bed until 6 a.m., only to wake up an hour later to catch my train to Budapest, which I ended up missing by a few minutes and then had to wait two more hours for the next train, which was at 11:42, I’m proud to say my backpack arrived late Tuesday night and I am back in business!
If you haven’t got the point by now: Prague was amazing. Every building has detail and perfection of the Sistine Chapel – and I’m talking every building. It really is some place and beyond cheap.
So, as always, no blog would be complete without an Anthony Bourdain portion of the blog and this quote by the Great Bourdain I believe describes my Prague experience, because most of it was unexpected, surprising and in all the most perfect of ways.
“It seems that the more places I see and experience, the bigger I realize the world to be. The more I become aware of, the more I realize how relatively little I know of it, how many places I have still to go, how much more there is to learn. Maybe that’s enlightenment enough – to know that there is no final resting place of the mind, no moment of smug clarity. Perhaps wisdom, at least for me, means realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go.”
And that could not be more true. The Czech Republic was only the second of 12 countries on this journey I’m taking and every day it feels as if there becomes more and more to see even though I’m seeing more and more – the list just keeps growing and that is a beautiful thing, in my opinion.
Now, let’s see what Budapest, the city called the “Capital of Freedom,” has to offer me.
Thank you my friends,