On the Road, a Real Highway.

To get from Olomouc to Krakow, one has to split the journey:  train to Ostravo, CZ, and then a bus to Krakow. I had a bit of a panic when I couldn’t book a train directly, and while Olomouc had its charms, not least of which was wandering around the squares at night, with no one else around, and then stopping at a cafe for a shot of cold Bercherovka, the Czech digestif, we had reservations in Krakow that we did not want to lose.

My friend Matthew quickly found the train/bus connection, and we booked our trip.  As usual, the Czech train left on time and took us easily to Ostrovo, nearly at the border with Poland.  The bus is run by Czech Transport and was parked nearby waiting for the train.  It was not immediately apparent, and as we left the station, an urchin approached and with a few words figured out where we were going.  He pointed, started off, and waved us to follow.  I soon noted the bus with our destination and offered my thanks by emptying my pockets of the loose change I had, about 80 kroner, just over $3.00.  He looked at the handful of change and then at me with supreme disappointment.  I had only 500 kroner notes left and managed to walk on to the bus, in spite of his attempt to embarrass me for being niggardly.  Would it have been appropriate to have offered a 500 kroner note and asked for change?

On the route to Ostravo, in the agricultural heartland, there is quite a bit of heavy industry to moderate the landscape.

Trains in Europe are better than trains in the U.S., or at least better than the ones I’ve ridden.  I suspect that busses are the same everywhere.  (With one exception in my traveling: Cornell offers a non-stop bus from campus to New York City that is, in fact, quite comfortable.). The Krakow bus has wifi, but it drones like a bus, sways like a bus, and just pokes along. The view from the bus looks exactly like any ride on an expressway in the Northeast.  Still, I think the ride is non-stop and will arrive in Krakow early afternoon.

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