Contiki part 1
Trip Start May 10, 2013
41Trip End Jan 14, 2014
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So yeah went on a Contiki tour to 10 countries over 19 days, I was a bit pessimistic about how much I'd enjoy the tour in the leadup to it. I had been enjoying the freedom of travelling solo for a couple of months beforehand, so I wasn't looking forward to having to conform to someone else's schedule. Also, I wasn't looking forward to being surrounded by a bunch of drunken Aussies. What if they embarrassed me in front of my uber cool European amigos? But yeah, got over my reluctance and arrogance soon enough. Ended up having a great time and meeting great people. So here's a rundown of the tour (in a chronologicalish order)
On May 19, we all set off from London to Amsterdam. Wellll almost all of us. I was a tardzilla and forgot to set my alarm to 'ON' when I went to bed on Saturday night. So I didn't wake up till 10am, 4 hours after our bus departed. At first I was all like fuuuuck then I was all like shiiiiiiiit but then I was all like ok it's not that bad I'll sort it out. So yeah, had to make my own way to Amsterdam to meet up with the group, so I caught a flight the next morning. And got an extra day in London, which I used to go to dat football match at Wembley I spoke about in my last blog entry.
So yeah rocked up fashionably late to the Contiki tour, and met the crew. We had a great group in general - we got along, partied together, spewed together, hooked up with each other, dined together, went sightseeing together and spent countless hours on the bus chatting and bonding. That day in Amsterdam we wandered around the city streets, Amsterdam was beautiful - exceeded my expectations. Away from the seediness of the red light district and the curiosity of the coffee shops, Amsterdam has some beautiful cobblestone streets running alongside pretty little canals. Especially the Jordaan district. In the evening we went on some shitty canal cruise, then went on a pub crawl together
Off to Berlin the next day. Checked out the site of a milllion fb cover pics - the Eastside Gallery. Actually lived up to expectations. Next day we did a walking tour of the city. Was really interesting to find out more about the history of the city, especially the scars from the Nazi regime, the Holocaust, and communism. The Holocaust memorial (and museum underneath) were especially moving). Checkpoint Charlie was cool. Not so much the touristy reconstruction, but there were a couple of free exhibits nearby detailing the history of the wall and the communist period. Its really interesting how a city like Berlin can acknowledge its past, but at the same time move forward. And now Berliners really value their freedoms, which has led to its current popularity and atmosphere. That night we did a crappy pub crawl. And the girls were mean to us and tricked us in to running to the train station. Bitches be crazy. But we ended up at a really cool club called Matrix. Club was massive; drinks were doubles; cages were danced upon.
After that we went to Prague. It's like a city out of a fairytale. Old palaces. Church spires dominating the sky line. narrow cobblestone streets. A lovelock bridge. A big town square, with an astronomical clock, with a trumpeter playing from the top of a tower erry hour on the hour for no apparent reason. Was really nice just to wander the city streets, which I did with Kelly, Marissa, Nicole & Arielle from the tour group. Was a really nice day, capped off with a fantastic lunch
The day in Prague may have been beautiful, but the night was crazy. We went on a pub crawl (a decent one for once), drank and made merry. We kicked it off with free absinthe shot (hot tip: it wasn't real absnithe), chased with vodka and beers. So yeah we got ineb-to-the-riated, We ended up at the infamous 5 story nightclub. I don't think any of us can remember its name, but G. oogle tells me it's Karlovy Lazne. I had heard this club was tacky, and yes it was, and no we didn't care. Had such a fun night. If you got bored of one floor, you just go to a new floor with new music and a new crowd. It's like going to a whole new club, and it really re-energises your night. And I got to go to my first ever ice bar! Partied in there with Crystal, Pedro, Emma & Tim and was so much fun. So partied the night away like this, then got a cab back to the hostel, where I found Dan curled up at the foot of the stairs. 3 things I learned from the night: 1 - there is a noise curfew after 10pm in Prague. James had to literally cover his own mouth to keep himself out of jail. 2 - Malaysian girls are not fans of facial hair. 3 - absinthe can be brown. And lethal.
After Prague was Munich. Munich was crazy. chaos. carnage. We lucked out and happened to be in Munich on the night of the champions league final. For those of you who don't know, piss off... lul nah so Bayern Munich were playing in the final that night. The whole city was out in force, draped in red. A horde of fans gathered in the main square, Marienplatz, where they waved flags, chanted, and let of flares (maritime safety yo!)
From the craziness of Munich to the tranquility of the Austrian alps. We stayed in a lodge/hostel in a little mountain town called Hopfgarten. Lush green hills, sweet-ass pine trees, snowcapped mountains. You get the idea. Tim, Hull, Rachel, Mike, Ash & I had a wicked afternoon going up the mountain. We all got a gondola up Le Mountain (admittedly can't remember the name of the mountain. The views from the cable car were killer, as was the company (naww). And getting to play around in the snow as sweet. I've only ever seen snow 4-5 times in my life, so it's still a novelty. And we had a delicious lunch at this mad decent restaurant on top of the mountain
After the Austrian Tyrol, we stopped off for some placid water rafting. The slopids weren't that exhilarating, but the views were nice. And jumping in to the ice cold water was a good hangover remedy. What an oaf. Glad he's not my father. How embarrassing. That was for you, Frank. Love you. After the rafting we proceeded to Venice. But that'll be in the next blog entry. Tune in next week for the thrilling conclusion of, 'CONTIKI: European Whirl. Revenge of the Tourist. 3D. On ice. In space. European Gigalow.'