Last year I went to Europe for 3 whole weeks and had the time of my life.
I kept meaning to post highlights of my trip on this web site, but
never got around to it. I suppose it is better late than never as they
Day 1 - London
I arrived in London around mid-day. It was really hot and Christina
and I had to take a train from Gatwick to Victoria station. From Victoria,
we had to take the tube to Russell Square to get to our hotel. It
was so incredibly hot that day and we struggled all the way to our hotel.
First we kept getting pushed around on the overcrowded underground,
then we had to walk with our heavy bags to the hotel. By the time
we got there, we were dead tired. Christina napped for a bit, but
I was too wound up and wanted to make the most of the day. So I let
her sleep for about an hour and then off we went exploring on our own. We
went to Trafalgar Square, Big Ben and Picadilly Circus. I had already
been to London, so it was nothing new to me, but it was great being there
again. Later that night we went to Contiki's pre-tour meeting and
met up with some really nice fellow Canadians there. I had been e-mailing
back and forth with one of them already, so it was nice to finally meet
in person. Later on, we met our Japanese room mate. I kept getting
her name wrong though. She was so nice and funny though and we knew
we weren't going to have any problems with her.
Day 2 - London - Amsterdam
We had to get up REALLY early for the start of the tour. I am
not a morning person, so this was really hard for me. We made it on
the bus though on time and it was great to be on the coach heading for Dover.
I was really excited to have this trip underway as Christina and I
had been anticipating and planning this trip for months. On the ferry
ride over we ran into an unexpected problem - motion sickness! I never
had a problem before, and neither had Christina so we were both really unprepared
for the ferry ride over. We had to try and scramble to get some gravol.
We arrived in Amsterdam in the evening. Our accommodations weren't
the greatest, but we expected that. We had to carry our suitcases
up a flight of stairs. Luckily, I packed light compared to some of
the others that had big, massive suitcases.
On the ferry over
(L-R) Megan, Marissa, Me, Yoshimi
We went on a canal cruise which was really nice. It was a lot colder
than expected, so we were trying to enjoy ourselves, but were freezing at
the same time. Afterwards, we went to the Red Light District. This
was quite the eye opening experience! People had told me what the
Red Light District would be like, but I think you really have to see it
to believe it. Afterwards, Christina, Megan, Marissa and I walked
around trying to find a decent club to go to. Sadly, we couldn't find
one, so just ended up going back to the hotel. It was sort of a disappointing
way to end the night.
(L-R) Christina, Clayton, Marissa, Megan, Me
Day 3 - Amsterdam - Rhine Valley
We got up really early and decided to go to the Anne Frank's house. This
was the one thing that I felt that I could not miss. Christina and
I had problems finding it, but luckily we ran into some other people from
the tour and followed them. Being at Anne Frank's house was an amazing
experience. It is definitely not to be missed if you are ever in Amsterdam.
We had to meet up with our tour around noon, so we didn't think we'd have
any time left to go anywhere else. So we just walked down this street
and bought some souvenirs. We were later discovered that we probably
could have made it to more than one place.
The Rhine Valley was just so beautiful. Lot's of green hills and castles
everywhere. I wish we could have stopped and explored a castle. Our
accommodation in St. Goar wasn't bad at all. It was very clean and well
kept. There was the option of going wine tasting, but Christina and
Day 4 - Rhine Valley - Munich
In the morning we went to see how beersteins were created. I wanted
to get one, but as I was on a budget, I couldn't. Bought some more souvenirs
instead. Then it was time to head off to Munich. I wasn't sure
what to expect with Munich. I basically just knew that it was in Germany.
We arrived in Munich late in the afternoon, so unfortunately there
wasn't much time to do anything. We managed to run to a church, the
Frauenkirche which was destroyed in the war and then re-built. We then
had to run and get some souvenirs and then meet up with the tour again at
the Glockenspiel. I can definitely say that I wished we had more time
in Munich. It had so much more to offer and we just saw a fraction of
it. Later we headed off to the beerhall, which was a fun experience.
Loads of happy, drunk people and good entertainment. Had a late
At the beerhall in
Day 5 - Munich - Vienna
As an extra, we got taken to Mathausen, a concentration camp. I
can't describe the experience. I had read and learned about concentration
camps in history class, but to actually be there and see it all was very different.
Needless to say that when we got back on the bus, the mood had turned
Arrived in Vienna late afternoon. Some of us headed off for the Mozart
concert. It was lovely. An extra, but definitely well worth it.
But then again I suppose it depends on what you're into and if you like
At a stop over in Austria... incredible
Day 6 - Vienna
Had a whole day in Vienna today. I wasn't sure what to expect
with Vienna either. Megan, Marissa, Christina and I headed off to the
Kaiser apartments. We didn't have nearly enough time to see everything
properly. Afterwards, we walked to the Sacher Cafe for the famous Sacher
torte. Our tour manager kept telling us about the Sacher torte, so
we figured we had to try it. The thing about the day was that it was
really, really hot. It felt like 40 degrees and we had to try and walk
around from place to place. I almost felt like giving up, but we had one
full day there, so we had to make the most of it. We walked around
the ring and managed to go to a park with statues of famous composers. We
then headed off to a cathedral. Unfortunately, we overestimated the
amount of time we had and basically had to run back to the designated meeting
spot. I think we managed to get lost on the way as well. Anyway,
the bus nearly left without us!!! Megan and Christina had started running
and were way ahead of Marissa and I. By the time we got there, the
bus was gone and we were left stranded. Luckily Marissa was with me,
because I don't know what I would have done if I were alone. Well I'm
sure I would have managed to get back to the hotel, but it wouldn't have
been a very good experience. Anyway, luckily Megan and Christina were
on the bus, as they told everyone that we were on our way.... and to our
relief, the bus turned back!
Afterwards we went to the Schonburg Palace. But by this point I was
really exhausted and didn't feel like doing much. So I just sort of
sat and waited for everyone else. We went to the Schnapps museum afterwards
and sampled some schnapps. By this time I was feeling really ill. Then
we headed off to the restaurant for an authentic Viennese meal. I couldn't
really enjoy my dinner though because I was feeling so terrible. But
I managed to have a pretty good time still. It was Yoshimi's 21st birthday,
so it was a special night.
We were standing behind water
at the Schonburg. This picture of the palace was taken behind the water.
Day 7 - Vienna - Venice
Pretty much spent the whole day driving from Vienna to Venice. Not
fun. The campsite was actually quite nice. But it's a bit of a
pain because when you go to the washroom, if you forget toilet paper, you
have to walk all the way back. Or if you're going to take a shower,
and you forget your shampoo or towel, you have to walk all the way back to