“Praha-Budapest-Wein” read the light up sign over our sleeper car. We took the night train from Krakow, leaving at 22:15 and traveling through Poland, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, and into Hungary. Graham bought the tickets while I was still recuperating, and after returning from Auschwitz, we were sleepy and ready to be rocked to sleep. Graham was ready to be rocked to sleep, I was feeling much better after being sick and I was ready for some James Bond action sequences where I run around between cars and on top of the train and Ninja kick a bad dude off the roof of the train right before we go into a tunnel and then slip into a window to drink a martini.
Sleeper car compartments have 2 or 3 or 4 beds in them. If you/your group buys all the beds in a compartment, you can fill them however you like. If you are a single traveler, you go into a male or female car. Graham bought 2 tickets, which we found out when we arrived at the train were in the male car. The conductor had enough English to relate that my ticket was a ‘man ticket’. I locked him in the eye and nodded, then shrugged. I wasn’t sure if he would let me on or not. Eventually he shrugged too and Graham and I got on. Graham was feeling a little contrite and hoping aloud that we would have the 3-person car to ourselves. We had heard a lot about people getting their valuables stolen while they slept on night trains, and didn’t want to share our car with a creepster. It turns out we did have a companion, and elderly fellow who was a night train veteran. Happily, He carried 1 small backpack to our 3 suitcases and 2 backpacks, so it was not too cramped. He showed us how to use the sink and was very nice. He didn’t seem to mind a woman on the car.
The ride itself was pretty good. We stopped a few times in the night to drop cars and pick cars up – we ended up in Budapest about 30 minutes late, then we pulled our bags onto the metro (we are getting good at navigating the crowds and escalators with our bags) and went to our hotel. More on Budapest in our next post!