Tuesday, July 03, 2007

My Family Visits

It had been 9 months and 4 days since I headed out of Calgary this past Friday and way too long since I had seen my family. I figured that since they were making the effort to come and visit me in Prague on their way to Croatia, I might as well do something special for them as well. So a couple of weeks ago I decided that I would go to Munich and surprise them at the airport. I'm quite impressed with myself that I didn't allow it to slip in the many conversations before hand as I directions for how they should get to Prague. I had a bit of a scare cuz I called to buy a bus ticket to Munich 4 days before hand and Student Agency was all sold out, thus squashing my wonderful plan. But with the help of some folks I found out that Eurolines has another bus leaving from Prague to Munich at midnight. FYI, don't ever take a night bus anywhere, especially when you have a woman in front pretending not to notice that you have told her numerous times to move her damn seat up. Seriously, that's just common courtesy. I had another scare when I arrived in Munich and realized that the bus does not stop at the airport, rather that I had to figure out the metro system at 5 am with no sleep and no knowledge of German. Getting quite good at reading these metro maps but 8 euros to get to the airport...seriously?

I arrived at the airport at 630 am, T minus 6 hours until my family was scheduled to arrive. Found myself a half descent bench and tried to sleep a bit but to no avail as the loud speaker kept turning on to remind people to keep an eye on their belongings.... OK we get it! The rest of the time I spent walking around the airport, reading and thinking how badly they needed a hostel at an airport for situations such as mine. Just a bed for a couple hours, that's all I'd need. Hmmm this could be a potential business plan for me in the future.

My heart was pounding so hard as I waited for my family at the arrival gate and of course they took their sweet time. Not to mention they went out the opposite side of where I was standing. Never mind. Despite the lack of sleep, the surprise was totally worth it. They had no clue I was coming and several happy tears were shed.

The drive back to Prague was interesting as we tried to figure out who was smarter...the car navigation system with German orders nonetheless, the printed Michelin maps or yours truly. Took a combination of all 3 but we figured it out. Alex was so good to us and had dinner prepared and waiting for our arrival. Everyone was pretty exhausted so we packed it in and headed to bed after dinner and a short walk to the old town square.

On Saturday we did the most intensive sightseeing tour that I have yet to give to any of our visitors. At least 5 hours of all of the major sights (Charles Bridge, Castle, Old Town etc.) with a couple breaks for pivo in between. Can't have it any other way. Anela still doesn't believe that I can drink beer and STILL thinks it tastes gross even though Czech beer is way better than Canadian. That evening we went out for dinner at this nice restaurant called Mozaika and even took a metro to get there. Quite the sight for me to see my dad taking the metro! All of them were so impressed with how steep the escalators are but I think I've just gotten used to it and don't really notice these things anymore.

Toni and my parents packed it in for the day after dinner, and Alex, Anela and I went out to meet some friends of ours at a cocktail place. We had two of our good friends leaving to go back home; Helena from Norway, and Claire for the UK. Sad to see them go and they will always be a part of my memories from Prague. On another note, many of the boys were very excited to finally get to meet my sister whom they'd seen pictures of. Yeah I think I don't need to explain much....I had my eye on them though.
Sunday was a lot more relaxed. We sat down for a long time for breakfast at a French style cafe. Don't know if the long time was by choice or because the waitress was so darn slow! Then we took a walk around the Jewish district and off to Letna park for some beers at the beer gardens. Alex and I love going here because it has some of the best views of Prague and its also a great place to relax. After a couple beers we decided to take a boat trip on the Vltava. I've been meaning to do this for a while so it was a great opportunity to enjoy it with everyone. I guess you get what you pay for because the trip costs about 12-15 dollars Canadian per person and lasts for an hour. Beers on the boat however were ridiculously over priced. The boat we took takes you under the Charles Bridge with good sights of the castle, then back the other way for half an hour. The weather was perfect though and offered more photo ops, as if we hadn't already taken enough!

Everybody was in the mood to try out some traditional Czech goulash so we went to our usually touristy but yet Czech style restarant in the Josefov district. Lets just say that we all ate way more than we should have and had to retreat back to my apartment for a nap. At night we went for a final stroll and grabbed ice cream. I suggested that we walk down to the river so that they could see the castle at night and to our surprise there was fireworks beginning just as we arrived. We were so close to them and the display was absolutely beautiful and lasted about 15 mins. My dad kept saying "OK that's it" and then they would start again. Some tourists asked me if I knew what the fireworks were for and I said that it was for Canada day which is totally false but it fit the occasion.
I had to say goodbye to them on Monday morning until I meet up with them in Croatia in a week or so. I really didn't want them to leave because the weekend was just so much fun and it was great to get to be with family again. Can't wait to join them for more quality time.

I'm off to Paris tonight for 4 days with Alex. Its my first time in the city so I am very much looking forward to it. Will try to update next week. Bone Voyage!


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