Days like today – as painful as it got – are my biggest motivation, and my largest quest.
I have a giant blister on the bottom of my right foot. It has been popped three times now, but keeps coming back with a vengeance. I have another quasi popped blister on my left foot, but it isn’t causing the limp and hardcore pain of my evil right foot.
So I was hitchhiking from Poznan in Poland to Salzburg in Austria, and thought I’d take two or three days (of course this already meant missing such amazing places in the Czech Republic as Prague and Liberec unfortunately). That is until I could take the foot pain no more. Screw it, Prague was an easy hour hitchhike away, and there would certainly be a train from there to Salzburg. I crossed my fingers my ride would both understand that I needed the train station, and be willing to bring me there. I got lucky.
But when I arrived at the massive train station, no signs pointed me to a train to Salzburg. No problem, there was wifi at the station; the train probably has a stop somewhere, I just need to look it up.
But no. That would be too easy. The train from Prague to Salzburg, as it turns out, takes 11 hours. It’s only a four and a half hour drive. To boot it was not even slightly cheap.
Fuck. Now I’m in Prague, I can’t walk, and even if I found a semi cheap hostel I’d have to take a train out of the city tomorrow. What to do?
Find a train that does exist and is going in the right direction. I figured it out, had a brief stroll outside the train station (conveniently located in the centre so even those limping can have a glimpse of Prague), and caught my train.
I arrived in a deserted city after two hours on the train with a couple very drunk alcoholics coming to bother me now and then. If ever there was a time to hobo it up and sleep on the street, these empty streets inhabited only by fellow hobos sleeping (who seemed like they might rob me should they awaken, and there was no one around to stop them) was not the time.
I’d looked on Google Maps, and there seemed to be a park just on the outskirts of town right next to the highway I’d need in the morning. It was a half hour walk, but it was the best I could do given the circumstances. I half assumed I’d spot a hostel on the way, now being a great time to splurge on one, but had no such luck. With my lack of walk ability there wasn’t much point in asking someone. To the park!
But as I got close I realized that said park was on the other side of the motorway, hidden behind twisting, confusing ramps. God. Damn it.
By this point I was in absolutely excruciating pain, but there was only one thing I could do: find somewhere to sleep. There was no one to moan or cry to. There was no hostel. Even if I’d wanted one, there were no taxis. I had to figure it out.
This is a big deal in my life – finding ways to be resourceful and innovative in new situations, however shitty they may be. This makes me feel strong and free.
Eventually I saw some trees tucked against an apartment building, and after investigating I found that my tent would fit nicely. The only people who might spot me were the couple of apartments whose windows faced me, but it was midnight by this time. I set my alarm for 6 am, and crossed my fingers no one would notice me until then… Or at least if they did, didn’t call the cops on me. At last I fell asleep despite my foot throb throb throbbing inside my cozy sleeping bag.
Camping in a city: success.