There are signs everywhere that this train splits in half part way through the journey – only part of it goes to Prague, the rest somewhere else in Germany. I make sure I’m in the right half. In my compartment there’s a couple from Bosnia, who now lives in the States, a blond Czech girl who speaks both English and German fluently. The Bosnian woman asks her husband to go get her a drink. He doesn’t come back for an awfully long time. Then she hears her name being called over the intercom.
The drink and food car is in the part of the train that doesn’t go to Prague, and her husband was in it when it split in half. He got off at the next station, but now they have to figure out how and where they’ll meet up again. She’s distraught, poor thing.
Once she’s worked out a plan, and the tears have subsided, the three of us chat. Bosnia was part of Yugoslavia when she left, and when the Czech girl was young, it was Czechoslovakia. They talk about ‘before the war’, how its hard for the older woman to go back to Sarajevo where she’s from. How Czech was able to split peacefully, and Yugoslavia not so much.
“And who wants the split? Not the people,” says the Bosnian woman.
The Czech girl nods, puts her hand up and waves it side to side, to indicate the ‘higher ups’, the proverbial ‘them’ is who wants these things. She shrugs.
When the train arrives in Prague, the Czech girl is heading in the same direction as I am — I tag along with her through the metro station, she tells me where to get off the train. I wave thanks, and wander the dark lanes to my hostel.