In the flash of a 3 second mishap, The Plan now needed re-thinking. Clearly we couldn't travel with me teetering/hopping on crutches-- up & down steps, curbs & escalators while poor Greg is balancing me, lifting me, carrying everything, and doing all the work. I know if the situation were reversed, my back couldn't handle all that! So flat out on the Bishop's bed with iced foot elevated, I reluctantly cancelled the first 5 precious days we'd planned for driving through the German countryside. Luckily The Bishop's House added 2 extra nights stay in our lovely room tucked up in the rooftop of the well-preserved old building in Prague.
After 2 extra days hold-up in bed in Prague, it was time to head to Munich, knowing that Laurie's empty & welcoming apt awaited us. During these 3 unscheduled days in Munich, we hoped to get a 2nd medical opinion so we could decide the fate of the remaining 5 wks of my trip.
HOWEVER, I cannot describe how much I dreaded the exhausting process to get from attic to a waiting cab, then the unknown challenges of negotiating Prague's main rail station with crutches, then the 6 hour train ride to Munich. Oh, it did seem impossible, really. In fact, I confess that the entire situation, the exhaustion & guilt cost a few weepy moments! (But then, you knew that already, right?)
I couldn't even sit down or stand up without help. With Greg's strong arms to pull me up things & support me going down things, we managed to get to the main rail station in Prague. I'll sum up here the 60 minutes it took once inside its vast halls -- nowhere to sit, lots of stops to sit on my suitcase, a close call when both crutches suddenly splayed out on a wet marble floor <== another save by Greg, escalators that were terrifying- esp the DOWN ones. (Finally a man grabbed my arm so Greg could manage our 2 suitcases & at 1-2-3, I hopped onto the fast-moving steps firmly held by this stranger. There were way too many challenges to list here, but 3 more cheers for disabled folks who cope with this every day in other countries! Finally with physical lifting by 2 more strangers, Greg, crutches & I got seated on our well-planned DIRECT train to Munich, a 6-hour trip with many stops. No problem, right? We spent 2 hours in our train cabin talking to a wonderful young woman from Denmark named Pa-CILL-le. There was an instant bond. We even navigated the subject of Obama vs Bush, where she handled Greg's undisguised pro-Bush comments with grace & polite, gentle challenges... while I sat on pins & needles hoping things would stay civil:) They did! It was a joy.
But quite unexpectedly the train stopped for good at Schwandof, about 2/3 of the way to Munich. So once again getting down the steps required the strong arms of strangers with Greg lugging all the baggage. We never quite learned why the DIRECT train routing didn't work, but were told our 2nd train would arrive about 3pm. Sure enough at 3pm a train appeared, & Pacille agreed to get in fast & dump her luggage on 4 seats (including 1 for my leg, of course). But as Greg & another stranger were getting ready to lift me up the train steps, another local told us that THIS WAS NOT THE TRAIN TO MUNICH! The next train was... at 3:06!! I asked Greg to get Pacille off this train. But as Greg boarded the train, it began moving to God-knows-where. I will never forget his dismayed & worried face peering at me through the glass as this train moved away! And I will never forget how terrified I was. Yea, I burst into tears in front of 20 strangers. I must have been a pretty pathetic site with my bandaged, iced foot sitting on ALL our luggage, trying not to drop my clumsy crutches, & my husband & Pacille gone. But the tear really began to flow when I realized that Greg had ALL our money, both our passports, & all our train tickets in the jacket he was wearing. OMG!!! (The other OMG's were nothing compared to this one!)
Are you guys still awake reading this?! Go get some coffee. There's more...