On a whim I took a night train out of Prague. I'd planned to spend some time in the Çesky Raj Park, but I only had a week left on my Interail pass and wanted to cover some miles.
I was cheap and had booked a seat in the couchette car, a fancy way of saying that I'd be spending the nine hour ride in a contorted jolting purgatory, with only a cheap bottle of Fernet to smooth the ride.
There were 5 other men in the carriage, Czech or Polish - I couldn't tell from the long conversation that they were having, so I put in some earphones and tried to find the most comfortable position, which turned out to be a sort of zig zag headlock into the window.
In my experience, the further East you travel, the bumpier the tracks get. Plunging deep into the Eastern bloc, the train bounced around like a marionette in the hands of a Parkinson's sufferer. At several points, I wondered whether we had left the tracks entirely.
I realised, as I pondered life, that nobody had any idea where I was. My phone was off, and I had no wifi, I hadn't told anyone where I was going. I was truly alone - any one of the men in the car could have killed me and thrown me in a ditch, and I wouldn't have even been missed for a month. And I was riding a train into Poland, an activity that, at least historically, has often ended quite badly.
The train shuddered to a halt this morning in Krakow. The station and streets were deserted as the other passengers melted away. Krakow was blanketed in a freezing fog, the sun hadn't quite risen and I was walking along twilit roads towards what I hoped was the city centre. I needed to get money, but I had no idea what the currency was, no idea what it was worth - it's always a little terrifying being presented with a list of withdrawable amounts not knowing whether you're taking enough money to buy a house or a hamburger.
There was frost on the ground - it's still October, I wasn't dressed for this.
I realised I had no idea where I was. No-one did.