Unbelievably my time in the country that inspired my USSR Trip 2015 is over!
Early this morning I checked out of my hostel and made my way to the airport for an 11am flight.
I experienced a new twist to the whole “throw the bottled water away before going through airport screening” game today.
As always my bottle made its’ way into the trash again before I went through the screening but when I went to buy a fresh one on the other side of the security area something different.
The guy would only sell me a bottle of water without a cap. Apparently those are the rules for the St Petersburg airport – no caps on the water bottles.
This was a bit of a challenge transporting said bottle in the pocket of my backpack while trying not to spill it.
I made it unscathed though as my first of two flights this morning landed in Riga for a quick 20 minute turnaround to a connecting flight to Prague.
And then the water bottle game continued…
Yeah, for some reason I had to go through security again even though I was just transferring to another flight.
So, bottle number two made its’ way into the garbage.
Sigh, such a waste…
Anyway, enough water ranting. Even though, if you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know it’s one of my favorite things to rant about.
So, let’s talk about something else then.
How about my fellow airline passengers?
Today I took flights #42 and #43 for the last 2 1/2 years and no matter where the flight is the same thing happens every time.
The very second the plane lands, rolls to a stop and the “fasten seatbelt” light turns off everyone races (and I mean races) to get out of their seat and grab their carryon bags from the overhead compartments.
And then they stand there in the aisle like fools waiting for the airplane door to open.
It’s as if they getting out of their seat and standing up in the aisle will make the whole process quicker.
The real kicker is the flights that land away from the terminal and require the passengers to board a bus to take them from the aircraft to the terminal.
The smart people (like myself) have figured out if you’re actually last off the airplane and last on that bus you’ll also be first off that bus when it arrives at the terminal.
So the people who race off the plane actually end up leaving the bus last and are then left waiting at the back of the customs line at the terminal.
Now I just casually sit there in my seat watching the whole charade letting people pass by me from the rows behind me as I then saunter off the plane last.
I did it twice today and it was awesome.
By the way, the planes I took today were both with Air Baltic and they were the smallest planes I’ve traveled in. They actually had twin propellers instead of jet engines and sat only 4 to a row for a total of 80 seats.
Arriving in Prague this afternoon was like a new awakening.
Yes, my time in the Ukraine and Russia was great but it sure was nice to be in a place that still had an old town feel and not a bustling big city like those I’ve stayed at the last couple of weeks.
I reminded me of my time in Portugal and Slovenia a couple of years ago and those were very good memories indeed.
In the evening I went down the street to a restaurant the man at the front desk recommended.
The place was packed and I sat down at their only available table. It was, unfortunately, in the smoking section (yes, there is still such a thing here).
I sat for a couple of minutes looking at the menu before I had to get up to leave as the smoke was actually pretty overwhelming.
Instead I walked a little further down the block and found a great little restaurant. It wasn’t as busy and they had outside seating.
I turned to the “Classic Czech dishes” section and ordered the Old Bohemian Square Meal which was pork chop, smoked meat, sausage, pickled cabbage and homemade dumplings (219 CZK = $11).
I also had a bowl of onion soup (39czk – $2) to start and apple strudel with ice cream (89czk = $5) to finish off the meal.
As I sat there by myself looking out at the cobblestone streets and the old building facades reminiscing at past places I had been I became very excited for what the last two weeks have in store for me.
Over the final two weeks of this trip I’ll be travelling to different cities steeped in history and I can’t wait!
Here’s to the home stretch…