morning: slept in, chatted with t and steph over breakfast, got gorgeous, went out in the cold and rain to meet talitha’s mentor for lunch at an exotic restaurant specializing in tea, african, indian, and middle eastern dishes.  we sat at a corner table with our little pots of tea and chipped drinking bowls and piles of steaming savory food while a czech man laid on a bench in a far corner reading a paperback and smoking a hookah.  priceless.  t and i then did another cold wet hike up to a gorgeous church–vhesherad–only to find that it is closed on friday afternoons.  snap.  we were both upset, but talitha more so.  she knew the beauty inside and was upset that i couldn’t see it.  the thought of doing another cold rainy hike down the hill after not seeing the church made me want to cry.  talitha suggested some tea at a nearby cafe.  we went in, got the idea to order two hot chocolates and a shot of bailey’s to split between them.  ahh, perfect.  we had a good heart conversation and listened to the rain pitter patter as we enjoyed our delicious warming beverages.  after a few hours of relaxation, we decided to hike back to public trans.  we walked out the door and–and–
the church was open!  we thought maybe it was for mass and decided to attend, but when we walked in people were just milling around taking photos!  we had a lovely time looking at the ornate art deco painting, mucha’s depictions of the saints, the gold leaf, a few mosaics, some statues, an amazing altarpiece.  it was all really breathtaking.  talitha got some cool images, too.  yay!  yet another awesome unexpected gracious addition to an already great trip.  wee!
after the visherad miracle, we headed to touristland to get me some postcards and souveniers.  we bought everything and were heading back to the metro when i said, “talitha, i haven’t had any sausages while i’ve been here–is that okay?”  and without skipping a beat, talitha turned to a street vendor and said “one kielbasa, please!”  it was really yummy!  there was a giant pump vat of yellow mustard, but i was delighted to find it was not the normal american stuff but rather a flecked delicate brownish mustard.  yum.
from there, we headed home (we were operating on plan D for the day at this point, so many things had changed), looked at photos, talked, prayed, laughed, i packed.  then we headed out to the same sushi place which also serves pan-asian cuisine and got korean bi-bop.  it was awesome!  a hot cast-iron-looking bowl came out with white rice, meat, sea vegetables and a raw egg yoke in it and we stir fried all the food together into a yummy dish.  red bean paste was waiting in the wings to add flavor and bright red color.  awesome.  we had sake and agreed that we go out on good dates–and that our ethnic food experiences were diverse and awesome on this trip.
next stop: bar note, the location of talitha’s expat friend’s bachelorette/hen party.  we metroed there, cursing our heels in the mud when we got off, but eventually arrived and saw *the most handsome czech man ever*  (t’s title for him) and megan and a crew of talitha’s friends.  side note: there are lots of connections with t’s expat community to virginia and the fellows.  it’s really strange.  i met 2 people who know my dear friends in VA.  [regan, i’m following in your footsteps!]  we gathered with about 12 other girls and played never have i ever and drank good girly drinks and laughed and met some gay hipsters and the bachelorette danced on the table and we told stories and had a great time.  all of the girls went on to a club but i made t take me home.  first, though, we had a bueno kinder–awesome chocolate bar!  once home, we had toast, watched an episode of chuck and went to bed around 2.
and then, this morning i got up with the alarm at 5:20, packed the last-minute things, gave talitha a hug goodbye and took a taxi to the airport!
what an awesome trip.  i’m so grateful i could go.
it’s funny, every once in a while i’d realize exactly what was happening.  one of my best friends moved to the other side of the world and i paid some money and just showed up to spend a week with her.  and we spent the week catching up, eating a wonderful variety of ethnic food and drink and touring a gorgeous old city.  that’s crazy, right?
thanks for reading about my travel adventures!