I woke from a delicious sleep in the most comfortable bed ever (thank you Grandior Hotel) with the symphony still playing in my head.
With a vow to return to Prague and spend a week next time, I got up and started my day beginning with another incredible breakfast complete with the piano serenade!
Then I caught the metro to the main train station.
I was getting around like a local, no problem! Felt good just to be “normal”…that’s what excites me about travel is the ability to blend in. That sounds weird but I get a huge thrill out of doing the ‘norm’ somewhere…like going to a grocery store, or a shopping mall, or catching transport.
The ultimate thrill for me when I travel: if I am mistaken for a local and asked directions by another tourist!
Not wanting to miss anymore transports on this trip, I arrived about an hour prior to my train. I’d received a text from the train company that the car I’d booked (#7) was not going to be on this train and I would have the same seats in 4 or 5. So I headed to the RegioJet counter to confirm my seat.
That done, I wandered around the main station until the platform was called.
Platform 3. Another sign to make me smile.
The train was lovely, the seats big and spacious (I booked the business class room)…I wish the plane was as comfy! I even had a fold out table and was able to type two blog posts that i’d been wanting to write, they needed editing but it felt good to be doing that.
When we arrived in Olomouc, the first thing that struck me was that all the signs were in Czech only, so my first attempt at leaving the underground part of the station had me in the wrong place. I had to back track to get to the exit and the taxi stands.
I had the “Dorothy” feeling of “Something tells me we’re not in Prague anymore!”
Then the taxi driver didn’t even understand the WORD English!! LOL. He was chatting to me in Czech and I said “English” and he nodded and smiled, but continued in Czech… thankfully he did understand the name of my hotel and drove me there with no detours!
I’d been spoiled in Prague, it was hardly like being in a foreign country, but now the foreign country experience was to begin.
The hotel staff spoke English of course, along with 5 other languages between them (!), but I was feeling a bit nervous about being in a place where there are no English speakers. I’d spent some time learning a few words and phrases in Czech online before coming, but could not recall a single one of them when it came down to the crunch!
Still I took myself out for a walk and went to a grocery store to pick up the tourist essentials (water, apples, delicious breads – the breads and bread-like creations were so delicious and nothing at all like home!).
I found that the trick at the grocery store is to nod and smile when people address you and not speak at all, always carry your own bag so that they don’t even ask if you want one. I got in and out without anyone knowing I didn’t speak Czech! Phew!
On my way back, taking the long way around, I ended up at a mall and I did get found out as a tourist while waiting to buy a top in a clothing store. The girl behind the counter was talking to me and I didn’t know she was addressing me until I fumbled with my credit card and said “Sorry” (haha… giving away my Canadian status!) and the girl replied, “oh, no, I’m sorry… I was talking with you in Czech and wondered why you weren’t responding! I’m sorry I didn’t know you spoke only English, I apologise.” (she’d make a great Canadian too!) I told her it was my fault and that I was trying to just get through without being found out. She laughed and told me that in the mall I wouldn’t have a problem with English. She explained the younger people will mostly speak some English, but the older people likely none. Good to know.
The funny thing is that all of the stores I’d been into, including the supermarket where no one spoke English, are playing English music. The taxi driver was even blasting Metallica. For some reason this struck me as odd. Do they not have Czech bands? The radio stations were Czech speakers, then playing English music. Intriguing.
My hotel is nice, not as nice as the last one…and ALL the TV stations are European. No English at all. There’s German, French, Czech, and Russian. That’s OK because I have lots of stuff on my laptop to watch, I even downloaded two seasons of a TV show I’d wanted to check out before I left Canada for just this reason.
Other than the extraordinary view from my hotel window, I didn’t see any “sights” on my first day in Olomouc, though I did walk through a beautiful park near the hotel.
Since I arrived in the Czech Republic, and especially while in Olomouc, I’d been looking at all the men and women and wondering what my child will look like. I couldn’t help myself from staring at babies in strollers wondering if my child would look like any one of them. All of the babies I saw were adorable and tugged at my heart-strings.
And as I was walking through the park in Olomouc and there were literally 100’s of people out walking, roller blading, and running, I wondered if any of these young people were the donors.
Did I cross paths with the donors during my trip? Will I still? Those thoughts were strange for me to be considering, but it was unavoidable. I was here to have an embryo transfer and the donors were young Czech people in their early 20’s. I could bump into them. It was possible.
One more sleep until the transfer. How was I feeling? The reality of what I was about to do, if I’m honest, had not really sunk in emotionally. I was prepared physically, and mentally I had all my paperwork and ducks lined up, but emotionally…still a bit disconnected.
My last thing for the evening was to call the desk and let them know an acupuncturist would be coming in the morning to see me, and could they let me know when she arrived.
Will post the Transfer Day (part 1) tomorrow…
Warm smiles and Love,