Take a Ride with Me

Today I'm going to take you for a "virtual" ride on a Metro in Prague. The train system is mostly underground as it transports people around the city on three different lines - Green, Yellow, and Red - which intersect in a couple places in the downtown region. I'll take you on one of these trains - or at least describe this experience:

Train stations are all configured differently. In most cases, you walk down a set of stairs to access the underground tunnels, a cool breeze from below brushing past your face. You might see hallways that access the escalators going down to the platforms below. Other stations are blocks long with stores located  below ground to purchase groceries, clothes, etc. Of course, the ever present coffee shops are there for the early commuters.

I can't imagine that too many people shop at these stores. Everyone scurries past on the way down to the trains. I never have ventured into any of the stores to see if they are more expensive than regular stores. Maybe next time I see a donut store, I'll try one.

To access the trains, you need to take an escalator down a level or more to get to the platforms. The escalators vary in length, but some are VERY long, taking you the equivalent of three levels down. Etiquette dictates that the standers stay to the right of the escalator, while the walkers hurry up or down the moving stairs to get where they need to go faster. On warm days, the change in temperatures causes wind to rush up from below, billowing your skirt.

From top down
From bottom, looking up
A steep ride up












At last, you've reached the train platform where you need to decide which train you need to take. The signs show destinations of both trains so after a few seconds, you head to the area to wait for your train to come.

As the seconds count down, you know the train is approaching before it even arrives. The wind preceding the train out of the tunnel announces its imminent arrival. It can get so breezy that I've seen women stand behind their accompanying male companion to stop the wind (including me). Of course, the male responds with, "That feels so good since it's so hot today." I always take a long sleeved shirt with me when I go on the train because the temperature is so much colder below ground. I keep wondering what winter will feel like down there.

When the train arrives, the disembarking passengers quickly jump off and head for the up escalators, while the waiting people jump onto the train. If there are no seats open, you grab onto a pole close by so you don't fall over when the train starts to move. There is no limit to the amount of people who can ride in a car. If more want to get onboard, people just squeeze tighter. The interesting thing is that 50 people or more can ride in a train, through several stops, without a word being spoken or smiles exchanged. I've witnessed this often.

When you arrive at your stop, you hop off the train and scurry up the escalator to reach your destination on time. People do this day in and day out.

Visit us sometime and experience this ride for yourself.

Comments

  1. Everything looks clean. I'll never forget a European airport that looked like people never bothered with trash receptacles and it never had janitorial service. It wasn't a case of a sanitary strike because a few years later, I returned and it was still a mess.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They pay people to keep the subway and streets clean here. I've seen someone scrub the floor in the Metro area when it's later in the evening. What's left lying on the streets most often is dog droppings. There are SO many dogs over here.

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  2. I forgot to mention that all the people ride these trains - including children without any seatbelts. I've seen children standing up on some trains when it's busy. Very different from the States.

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