On 11th April, one of my best friends – Jerry – turned 18. He is one of the most important people in my life and he’s also the first to turn eighteen from all of my close friends, so I started planning my present a very long time ago, probably in January. I knew I want it to be even more than just awesome. I wanted to give him something he will remember. I wanted to make his 18th birthday as much fun as possible, because I knew that this is something I – and any other teenager – would love. A proper 18th birthday surprise. And so in January, a new crazy idea started to rise in my brain. What if I gave him something non-material. What if I gave him an experience. He loves travelling, he loves spontaneous things and I guess he loves surprises, so… what if I took him on a trip somewhere abroad on our own? I bought the bus tickets, I planned all we needed, prepared a few more surprises and the adventure can begin!
A few days before his actual birthday, I sent him a letter with instruction to open it on 11th April – on his birthday. On that day, I texted him at 7AM saying ‘Happy birthday, you old gaffer. You can open the letter! ;)’ The letter was inspired by the Paper Towns (we had a discussion about the meaning of the book and living in a paper world a few days before) and it basically told him to be in front of the train station in Brno on 15th April at 9AM. Nothing more. Just that.
15th April 2016
It’s the day. I’m nervous, but excited. I wake up, pack everything I need and head to the train station. I receive a text from Jerry ‘When are we leaving? I’m stucked in a traffic and I’m gonna be late.’ Holy crap. If he doesn’t make it until 9:30, we are done. ‘9:30. Will you make it?’ ‘Hopefully.’
It’s 9:02 and Jerry comes to the station, shocking me by appearing behind my back. I relieve all my stress and greet him. It’s time to give him first envelope – Happy Birthday no. 1. He opens it and inside, there are the tickets. ‘I thought so, you’re crazy’ he laughs and we head to the platform. We enter the bus and we find our seats. A few minutes later, the steward comes.
‘Umm.. hello. What number are your seats?’
‘Hello. 33 and 34.’
‘Have you showed me the tickets?’
‘Oh, but you have to do it outside, before entering the bus.’
‘Oh, sorry, you weren’t outside, so we thought it’s okay. We’re sorry, here it is.’ Jerry shows him the tickets.
‘It’s okay, thank you.’
Two hours after that, we’re already in… WIEN! We fight our way out of the station and it’s time for envelope Happy Birthday no. 2:
So, happy birthday! I wish you all the good luck, happiness and good health! I hope the following surprise won’t cause you a heart attack, because… you know, old people have those. However, we’re now going to Prater!
I fortunately lead us to Prater and there, we meet my mum’s friend Robin, who works there as a mechanic. He offered to take us wherever we want, to any attraction we want and also gave us a lunch – all for free. So, the first attraction we went to was Hotel Psycho, which is basically a haunted house. We went in and the horror began. It was terrible, but phenomenal. I thought I won’t be scared, because I’m already kinda grown up and I don’t really freak out, but I was so wrong. I was screaming and yelling all the way through. Robin gave us a photo of us inside, which is totally hilarious, but we both look too funny and creepy to show you. 😀
Then, we tried the roller coaster. I thought I can’t scream very loudly. The hell, I can! Every five seconds, I thought we will fall down, crush and die. What a relief when we could leave and stand on our own legs again. Next attraction: another roller coaster, but this time lying on the stomach. Crazy. Scary. So. Much. Fun.
The last attraction we were able to go to without throwing up: the taifun. Seems scary, but it looked pretty nice, so we thought it will be a peaceful ride. IT WAS NOT. We were spinning so quickly that I couldn’t even properly see the people around us. I guess I don’t have to tell you I was screaming as much as I could.
We said goodbye to Robin and left the amusement park. There comes time for envelope Happy Birthday no. 3. It was a little comic I did the night before, picturing every year since we met, which was in 2010. There was a picture of an event happening that year we went through, ending with year 2016 and a picture with us waving on a few buildings and a title Wien above it. Below the comic, there was a simple birthday wish, signed by me. ^^
Back to Wien. We went to the famous centre. We saw the parliament, the city hall, the beautiful architecture and the lovely parks. Wien truly is an amazing town. Not necessarily to live in, but definitely amazing to come at least once in your life. I haven’t been to a city with such an atmosphere before. After an hour sitting on a bench in a park, watching some random guy making bubbles, taking photos, chatting and eating, we looked for the underground. After a while, we finally found it, but we didn’t have any coins to buy the tickets, so we had to go to a bakery and ask for a change. Fortunately, the lady was very lovely and she gave us everything we needed. We headed back to the underground, bought the tickets and caught the train. When we left the underground, we still got about an hour before our bus was leaving, so we went to a café called Harry Holzer for a coffee (for 4 euros, pff).
We caught our bus and this time, before entering it, we even had to show our passports (eventually ID cards). The journey back home was pretty fine, however we had one adventure, when we were on the borders. The police stopped the bus and they went inside and everyone had to prove their identity. The migration controls are really serious. Fortunately, everyone was okay and so it took only a few minutes and we were able to continue. We arrived to Brno at 8PM and I was already in a rush to catch my bus, which was leaving at 8:21. Last few metres, I had to run, so I did not even have the chance to say a proper goodbye to Jerry. However, I made it. I travelled back home and when I left the bus and was walking through the silent village, with almost full dark around me it occurred to me like a really crazy thing… nowadays, you can leave for a day, spend it in Wien in a rush and with a ton of people, but on the same day, you’re walking in a dark, silent village listening to the animals and river floating by. Crazy.
A big thank you goes to:
Robin – without him, nothing would be possible
My mum – she helped me a lot with planning and insuring us
Jerry’s mum – she let him go with me on a random trip abroad and she did not tell him
Iva – her opinions about my ideas were really vulnerable
The lady, who changed our money – she basically saved our lives, because we tried another shops and no one wanted to do this for us
I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did, Jerry, and we can definitely do this more often, even if we are not celebrating birthdays! ^^