What an incredible 9 days. When I signed up for this tour I knew it would be fast paced and an experience of a lifetime, but what I did know was that I’d meet so many amazing people and create so many unforgettable memories. My trip began on the 3rd, where I met with some of the tour group the night before. I was extremely relieved to find I wasn’t the only one traveling on my own and we were all looking to make the best of it! I apologize in advance for the length of this post, I’m still trying to remember everything I’ve seen and done myself!
The tour started bright and early (as did every other day for the next week), and we headed to Dover where we took the Ferry across the English Channel to Calais. We passed through 4 countries in a matter of 8 hours (England, France, Belgium and Netherlands) and finally arrived in Amsterdam. On our first night we took a Canal Cruise through the city, and what a great way to get to know everyone! After that we explored the city (you can probably guess where we ended up) and lets just say it was an experience for everyone!
We spent the next morning walking around the city. We didn’t have much time but managed to make a quick stop at the Anne Frank house and the I amsterdam sign. Back on the bus for about 5 hours and after a beautiful drive through Rhine Valley we arrived in St. Goar, Germany for the night. We visited the local shops which included authentic German Biersteins and Cuckoo Clocks. After dinner at the hotel we did a wine tasting just down the road in a 14th century wine cellar and ended the night with drinks at the hotel bar.
The next morning we headed for Munich for the night where we did a guided bike tour of the city, a quick jump into the Isar river and dinner at the Beer Gardens. We ended the night at Kultfabrik, an area of nightclubs.
After a very rough night for pretty much all of us, we headed to Austria bright and early where we visited the previous Olympic Bobsledding track. Not the ideal day to test out the track but it was still an amazing experience! Probably not something I would ever do again, but huge respect for those athletes! After the track we stopped in Innsbruck, for lunch and a few pictures of the Golden Roof, Royal Palace and surrounding mountains. We arrived in Venice later that night for dinner and called it an early night.
We spent the next day exploring the ‘floating city’. After a group gondola ride, and guided walking tour we had the rest of the afternoon to ourselves. The rest of the day was spent exploring alleyways, canals, shops, bars and markets and a second (much more beautiful) gondola ride. We then visited a glass shop where we watched a demonstration and then had a traditional Italian dinner.
The next day we drove on to Switzerland and made a stop and Mt. Stanserhorn. We probably picked the worst day to get a mountain top view but it was still amazing! After the train and cable car ride we headed to Lucerne for the night. We joined another contiki tour group for a cruise on lake Lucerne. Now coming from a small town surrounded by flat farm fields.. the view definitely took my breath away. Hard to believe that people actually get to live in such beautiful places! After the cruise we finished the night with a pubcrawl!
We spent the majority of our 7th day traveling (about 8 hours) and when we finally arrived in paris we did a quick bus tour and stayed out for the rest of the night! Finally our last day in paris. In the morning we visited a perfumery and then had a free day. We made a visit to the Lourve, ate some escargot and climbed the Eiffel Tower. For our final night we enjoyed a dinner and a show at the Moulin Rouge, then over to the pub next door. A perfect way to end the trip!
Although I’m over a week behind on sleep and the comforts of home, this trip has been an experience of a lifetime. So many laughs, incredible sights and memories with new friends that I will never forget. Already looking for my next Contiki tour!