Unfortunately, it was Sunday and the vast majority of shops and businesses were closed. We took a bus from the church to the old city center, which was filled with winding streets and beautiful old buildings. I had a riot with my carmera, everything was so picturesque. We stopped in at a restaurant for lunch (had breaded trout with toffee and almonds - SO GOOD), and then we all trekked up to an enormous cathedral that was near by. The view was breathtaking.
Melissa and I, hoping to catch the 3pm train back to Prague, waved goodbye to Audley and Richard and headed back to the bus stop. Except we couldn't find it. We searched desperately trying to find it, but seemed to just go in circles on the old medieval streets. Melissa began to accost each and every local demanding in English that they tell us where the bus stop was - it was a bad approach, and most people just sneered and shooed her away. I wished she would just let me do the talking. I had at least picked up "please" and "thank you" in Czech and knew to approach people in a humble rather than aggressive way.
Suddenly Melissa turned to me and declared that she had left her book back at the restaurant and had to go back for it. I waved, letting her go. I would have left the book behind - we were lost in the middle of nowhere with no way back to the train station, and with the last train leaving at 6pm, we were rapidly running out of time. She left me and I was on my own, which was both frightening and a relief. I found the bus stop pretty easily using my map and backtracking our steps, but after I waited for a half hour with no bus showing up I began to sweat a little. No bus? There were no taxis that I could see, either. And no one out on the street... It was 4pm and I was fucked. The sky was growing dark and it was getting cold. I began to hike in the direction of the train station, hoping to find someone who could help me along the way. But although I did run into several people, none of them would give me the time of day. I got the feeling that there is a great deal of animosity towards tourists in that town. I was laughed at by some and others rolled their eyes and just kept walking. My time was running out.
I finally came to a cafe where a girl took pity on me and pointed up a street. "Go up there and you will find the old city square. There are taxis there." I thanked her with all my heart and found the taxis waiting on the square, just as she had said. I jumped in a cab and high-tailed it to the train station where Audley and Richard sat waiting for the 5pm train. They too had waited for the bus that did not come, and they too had had an awful ordeal making their way back to the train station. We laughed in relief about the whole situation. But I feared for Melissa, because even as we got on the 5pm train she had still not made it back. I wonder if she ever found her book.
I got back into Prague around 6:30pm and went into the old town area for dinner. I treated myself to roast duck with bread dumplings and two big beers, and all of the stress from dealing with Czech public transportation melted off of me.
Although, I must say that after such a difficult experience I was hardly looking forward to dealing with any more trains, which was unfortunate as I had to ride the night train to Wroclaw in just a few hours. I made my way to the train station to wait for it.