Last weekend my friend Bekah and I decided to take a little trip to Bratislava to check out the IKEA there. We took a train from Zilina that morning, then once arriving in BA we hopped a bus to IKEA. All smooth sailing. No bumps along the way. We were totally in control of our destiny.
After a couple hours of perusing, we got our stuff together and headed back to the bus stop. Our bus, bus #64, was scheduled to arrive at 2:45, so we got there at 2:30 just to be sure we didn't miss it. Well, 20 minutes went by and there was no bus. We start to stress. You see, our train was leaving at 3:32, and we still needed to buy a ticket, so time was precious at this moment. Finally, we see bus #64 crossing over the bridge and coming right for us. We gathered our stuff together and are ready to get on...
But the bus sped right past us.
You've got to be kidding me. This is where I start to freak out inside. As many of you know, I am quite high strung when it comes to traveling. I like to be totally aware of what is going on, where I am going, what I need to do to get there... Well, you get the picture. And, yeah, I know. I probably shouldn't have moved to a foreign country if I wanted to avoid such stress. Get off me.
Well, at 3:10 our bus shows up. If I knew any Slovak I might have had a few words for our driver, but since I don't I just had sit down and pout. And at this point we had bigger issues. We were about to miss our train. The whole ride Bekah and I can't decide if we are going to make a run for it or not, but at 3:30 we arrived at the station and had to make the decision. So we run for it.
We got to the ticket counter, bought our ticket quickly, sprinted to the right platform, and jumped on our train. VICTORY!! We made it!! Yay!! The train pulls away seconds after we got on, and then reality hit us...
We got on the wrong train.
Well, at least we were pretty sure it was the wrong one. But, we figured we would just ask someone else on the train where they were going and see....
There was no one else on the train. Not one.
Crap. Crap, crap, crap. Where the heck are we going and WHY ARE WE THE ONLY PEOPLE ON THIS TRAIN??? After about 10 minutes of traveling the train stops. Thank goodness! We'll just get off, go into the station, get a new ticket, and be on our way to Zilina. Easy as that...
There was no station.
That's right. No station. We were stuck at the maintenance yard. Just me, Bekah, and about 15 middle-aged Slovak men wearing bright orange overalls. What have we gotten ourselves into? Well, we jumped off the train and started looking for someone to talk to. You'd probably think that these men would be curious as to why these 2 American girls are wandering around their workplace, but they acted as if it was the norm. I mean, come on. Give us a break.
Well, Bekah finally found someone to talk to, and with what Slovak she knows she explained what had happened to us. Of course I had no idea what was being said, so I just stood there like some kind of mute. Finally, once their exchange was over, she turned to me to share the information she has just learned...
We have to walk down the tracks to get back to the station.
But don't worry, its only a 25 minute walk. Right. Just 25 minutes of dodging trains while trying to avoid a sprained ankle from the oh-so-even terrain. Is this some joke? At this point I'm waiting for candid camera to jump out of the bushes. But no, its not a joke, so we started walking. Just after we made it up this little hill and passed by some creeptacular vagabond (that's right, I said vagabond. But we're talking about walking down train tracks people, when else would you use that word??), one of the men in orange jumpsuits came running after us.
After yet another exchange with this man, Bekah tells me we don't have to walk. He said if we sit on this train (motions left) in about 2 hours it will be going to the station, so we can just ride it back. Well, at this point we didn't know what option was better, walking down sketchy train tracks for 25 minutes or sitting at the sketchy maintenance station for 2 hours. Hmm, decisions. So, we finally decided to call my roommate Zuzka for a little help. After a brief explanation of what we had gotten ourselves into, Bekah set out to find another orange overall man that Zuzka can talk to. Who knows why we didn't do this earlier?
In the end, we ended up riding back to the station - FIRST CLASS BABY- on a different train, which left in 30 minutes instead of 2 hours. Thankfully, we made it in time to catch a 5:12 train, and at 7:40 we arrived safely in Zilina... quite exhausted and scarred from traveling on trains, but safe none-the-less. Oh the adventures of living in a foreign country. Bring it on, Slovakia, bring it on.