the czech republic, from a train window

Some people said, "More fluff, please."  

So, for all you fluffsters, here's what I wrote during the train journey from Vienna to Prague, with photos in and around Prague by Andy.


Miles and miles of dandelion-yellow fields, spring-blooming rapeseed, roll into the horizon and fold into steeper hills as the train runs on.

Little villages spring up and disappear again, sharp-peaked cottages in candy colors, church spires rising square-steepled, or witch-hatted, or portly-minareted.  Tile roofs grey and terracotta, the deep purply red of black currant wine.

There are tulips, pink and purple flox growing in rock gardens.  

Back yard fruit trees, white or pink.  

Cotton-puffy sheep and tooth-pick-legged lambs.  

A pair of wild swans on a tiny pond.  

Old stone barns with grey-tiled roofs, rows of skinny Lombardy pines along a road.  

Dark pines cresting the hilltops, swaths of green velvet meadow draping down to gentle water.

The hills draw close and rise higher until the train runs in a narrow green valley next to a river grown shallow and rushing.  

Wildflowers, yellow and white and purple, are sprinkled everywhere.

There's a bike path, and narrow bridges for pedestrians crossing the river.

Right next to the train track is a little square white house with orchids blooming in every window.

Tiny white tombstones mark the passing kilometers: 285.9, 266.8.

The river slows and pushes back and forth along the valley, while the train slices through its center, crossing the river time and again.  

The river pushes, and the hills relax until the landscape is again a barely-undulating fabric of greens and yellows and freshly-plowed browns, stitched together with rows of newly-leaved trees.

Towns punctuate the fields now, and the churches grow more emphatic.  

One town has a plain white church with a square red-tiled tower, solidly modest.  The next town has an elaborate cathedral with its many spires flinging golden stars heavenward.

Far away at the edge of a hill, a road appears, busy with cars.

The river, wide and gentle, is edged with weeping willows with old men fishing in their shade.  One town hosts a contest on the river, with teams of children in rowing sculls, colorful and clumsy. 

We pass by industrial buildings, a red-and-white-striped factory chimney, a metal salvage yard, a train yard full of antiques: a museum glimpsed only in passing.

At the end of a long tunnel, the train slows into a fairy-tale city of lacy church spires and tall curvy buildings, pink, yellow, blue, orange, frosted with curlicue window casements, arching doorways, and frilly facades.

One delightful destination on a unique and beautiful journey.

With special thanks to my favorite person, best travel buddy, logistics genius, airline-hotel points wizard, and trip photographer, Andy Bruner.  He makes it all happen, and I get to enjoy the ride.  

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