With two and a half hours before Julia arrived, an exploration around the Westbahnhof train station was necessary. Vienna can actually remind one of Saigon, but much less dustier. It was a city, yet held a small town feel. Shops were locally owned with not many chains. English was barely spoken, but they were used to foreigners.
It was the usual 4:30AM wake up call for the 7:15AM flight. Luckily, Jordan and Anne lived in the heart of Paris, so the Chatelet RER stop was just a short walk away. The check in process at CDG Airport was surprisingly smoother than other airport experiences; after utilizing the kiosk and going through security check, the check in was complete in only thirty-six minutes! Nice job, Air France!
There was a sudden urge to get acrylic nails - if only they were less than 70euros! Make sure you make an appointment too! Without a new set of nails, it was time for a durum kebab at Schnitzel Urfa Lezzet. Luckily there was an outlet to charge a phone and there was entertainment as the kebab guy had a crush on one of the customers.
After Julia arrived, the next step consisted of jumping on Tram 5 to get to our CouchSurfing host, Margit! We conversed with her for a good hour about travel, CS, etc. Surprisingly, she was learning Chinese and spoke quite well with Julia!
First attraction was the Albertina. There was a 1-1.5 hour wait, but it was worth it to explore the museum and the new Van Gogh exhibit. With over one million master prints on top of more modern works, it was a sight to see! The Monet and Picasso were quite good as well (as expected).
On the way to the Christmas market, I received a phone call from Michelle Chan at our university. She was so bored that Friday night that she decided to book a flight out to Vienna for Saturday! It worked out well because Julia would be leaving Saturday night, so Michelle could take her place as a CouchSurfer. We then walked to Rathus Park for the "Rathausplatz Christkindlmärkte" a.k.a. "Kris Kringle" Christmas market. The lights were absolutely stunning as City Hall counts down the days until Christmas.
The older performers of Cantabile then had their turn - the best moment of the night came with audience participation. Singer: Let's have all the men yodel (deep yodeling)...All the ladies (gentle yodeling)...Let's make it more interesting now. All the ladies twenty through forty years old (light yodeling)...Hmm, sounds promising...All the women ages twenty through forty that don't have a boyfriend (silence)...Alright, let's move onto something else before I get angry! Hahaha.
It was time for the Voice Mania Music Festival at the Odeon Theater! The international festival featured everything from pop to beatbox acapella-style. The show started with Vocaldente, a boy band-like acapella group which actually performed some 'NSYNC and Spice Girls! The crowd was a bit older (mostly senior citizens), so they didn't catch the boy band/Linkin' Park melody too much, but Julia and I loved it!Vocaldente's boy band-style performance!
Back home, we discovered that Margit and Nina had been drinking for two hours while waiting for us! We were able to catch the last tram by three minutes - whew! We headed out to Club Sass, where they allowed one person to go in and see if the club was good. Report back to the others: good potential!
After sitting in the lounge for a bit, we met Minda, a P.h.d. student from Lithuania. Soon after, we all hit the dance floor! After Nina went home, Julia took a nap in the club, Minda and I conversed about everything from culture to life, and Maggie kept on dancing! Haha, we soon left at 4:30AM.
After Facebooking the directions to Michelle, I climbed into bed at 5:30AM. I tried to get inside the comforter, but had issues, so had to wake Julia up. In her soporific state, she yelled, "You're not supposed to get in it!" Apparently, it was just a really fat pillow! Good times, Vienna!