The secret's out...finally!

Trip Start Sep 11, 2008
Trip End Dec 12, 2008

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Friday, November 28, 2008

I've been keeping a secret for over a month now, and it can finally come good friend Lori from Montreal decided to take a short trip to Europe! She came to meet me in Vienna on Monday and we spent the week together. So why the big secret? Because she also came with me to Prague...and surprised our friend Jamie!!! But now that Jamie knows, the secret's out, and I can finally tell the world (and fill you in on my last week)!

Going back to last Sunday, Nov. 23 - after I checked into my hostel, I went to the hostel bar for a quick bite to eat. I ended up meeting a few Canadian guys from Edmonton, and they thought me how to play a 3-person drinking game of pool! We met lots more people staying at the hostel, had a few more beers and played some foosball. I didn't go to bed too late, but I had a hard time to sleep because I was so anxious to see Lori the next day! I ran some errands in the morning (needed to buy a warm scarf for this cold weather), and was expecting to meet Lori at the hostel around 1pm. When I returned at 11:45am, I was so shocked to see her in the hostel lobby checking in!!! It was so nice to see a familiar face, and someone so close, after being on my own for more than two months!

Lori was rightfully tired from her flight to Vienna from Paris (and from what I understand, from her weekend in the city of lights as well), so we took it easy and walked around. And of course, we ended up in a Christmas market! We ate kebaps from a stand across our hostel for dinner, and spent the rest of the night in the hostel bar, talking about all and nothing, and pretty much ignoring everyone around us! We had some serious catching up to do! :)

On Tuesday, we visited the baroque Belvedere Palace, which was originally constructed as a summer residence and 'party venue' for Prince Eugene, and now houses some wonderful art, including Klimt's "The Kiss." Lori and I walked through the inside halls, and wandered the grounds for the large part of the day. For an authentic Viennese dinner, we went to a pub for some Wiener schnitzel...little did we know we would each be served with two XXL pieces! Let's just say that we sat at the restaurant for a few hours trying to finish our plates! We spent the evening back at the hostel bar, where we met our two Aussie roommates and the two local bartenders. After Lori has beaten everyone at foosball, we all ended up at a nearby drinking hole, and only when we left did we realize it was 5 am!

Needless to say, Wednesday was a rough day. We slept in pretty late, awoke somewhat hungover, but decided to make the best of it. We headed for the MUMOK, a contemporary art museum known for pushing boundaries and forcing people out of their comfort zone. Probably due in part to our current states, the visit through interactive light installations and questionably-moral exhibitions definitely took its effect on us. We left the museum needing to relax, and did just that for the rest of the afternoon in a cafe close to our hostel. Looking for comfort food, we headed to a nearby Italian restaurant that served really good, and really cheap, food. However, back at the hostel a few hours later, I realized there might have been something wrong with my lasagna when I started to feel the effets of food poisioning! I was sick for the rest of the night...

I was happy to wake up feeling much better the following morning. After getting ready, we headed to a cool Art Nouveau clock in the centre of the city at noon, when all the clock's characters parade in front of it. After witnessing this change of hour, Lori and I split ways for a few hours - Lori wanted to check out the Sigmund Freud Museum while I went to the Albertina. I visited this museum's amazing retrospective exhibition on Van Gogh, along with its beautiful state rooms, and exhibits demonstrating the beginnings of impressionist and post-impressionist art movements (my favourites). We met up again around 2pm and had a mellow afternoon.

That evening, we went to see the Opera! We queued up and bought our 4 euro standing tickets. The opera room is rather small, but the setup is good for standing 'seats'. Despite the tight squeeze, we had a bar to lean on, and a little screen with simultaneous translation during the show. The Opera we saw was 'Salome'. The music was amazing, and the singing just as good, but the story was unfortunately very strange, and much too stretched out. We enjoyed ourselves anyway!

This morning, we got up early and after a bit of difficulty, got on our train headed to Prague! We were getting really excited to surprise Jamie, thinking about what her reaction would be. We devised a plan of attack; I was to leave the train first and meet Jamie, Lori was to walk behind me and surprise her. The four-hour train ride went by very was nice for me to have some company! When we got to Prague, Jamie wasn't on the platform where I was supposed to meet her. But as I entered the station, there she was coming towards me - it was really nice to see her. A few minutes later, Lori came up from behind us, and completely shocked Jamie!!

We're at Jamie's apartment now, and are just chatting and catching up. We're all a little tired, so we'll probably just stay in tonite. What a great week filled with close friends and surprises!
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