See that picture? There was I, 6:00am, completely lost in a remote village in the middle of Germany, with no internet whatsoever, trying to stop a taxi while I ran down the street I believed was going to take me to the train station. My next bus was departing in just minutes and I was lost: it was either running or losing it.
The reason you take an overnight bus is because you intend to sleep in it. You improvise a pillow, put your earphones in, find a comfortable position and wish the snoring of the German lady sitting next to you won’t wake you up in the middle of a dream.
I almost didn’t notice the announcement.
It was in German, and I was sleepy enough not to activate the German speaking part of my brain. I opened my eyes and saw some people with suitcases on the street and the bus starting to move again. I almost fell asleep again, but somehow I remembered I had to take a connection bus somewhere. But it still was too early, right? I managed to pull out my phone and opened Google Maps. Shit. Shit, shit, shit, shit. Why is the blue dot moving away from the city in which I was supposed to take the other bus? Wait. Shit.
I literally ran down to the driver.
—Sprechen Sie Englisch?
Shit. I wish I payed more attention in German class. Okay, I got this. I can do it.
—Ok, but we’re not coming back — he said, in a perfect High German
—That’s okay, just drop me here and I’ll walk — I replied, in a nicht-so-gut German
So he stopped the bus and I came down, in the middle of nowhere, almost in the Autobahn, 30 minutes before my next bus’ departure time, shouting “taxi” at random taxis passing by — and getting properly ignored. The only thing left to do was taking pictures to document the process, and keep going back by the way I thought the bus came.
I’m not sure yet how I made it to the bus stop. There was almost nobody on the streets, but I asked for directions to every single person I crossed paths with. A taxist (ironically) finally pointed me to the actual bus stop. Seeing a bus never made me happier.
The feeling of being lost remained in me the whole day. Even once I arrived in Prague, I managed to spend 1 good hour wandering around the bus station trying to get to the city center by myself. I was tired of asking for directions, I guess, and I believed I was smarter than everyone. Well, you know what, I don’t know everything, and sometimes you just have to be humble enough to admit you’re lost and enter some random hotel to ask for a map and directions. Lesson learned.
Still, I loved it. Getting lost gives you time alone with your thoughts, and sometimes it makes you discover amazing spots to just sit for a while that you wouldn’t have discovered otherwise.
Now, as I leave the city, I can’t help but thinking about a text I got from a good friend of mine: “Enjoy. I don’t know what have you lost in Prague, but whatever it is, find it… or not.”
Maybe it was me all the time who was lost, and maybe Prague was the place to go look for myself.
Or maybe not, and this is all about the adventure, about the impulse, about improvising a trip over Europe in 15 minutes, about sleeping in what’s possibly the cheapest youth hostel of Central Europe, about being forced to solve situations in languages I’m not fluent in, and about feeling free because you are doing exactly what you wanted to do.
I let myself get lost in Prague, and I’ve never felt so alive in my life.