Friday, May 15, 2009

European Magic Contiki Tour

Pammy & I just returned from a whirlwind tour of Europe, courtesy of Contiki! 8 countries in 10 days! It was our first time visiting Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, and France. Pammy was able to get a postcard from each country and mail it to her god-child Hailey. Our Contiki group was about fifty 18-35 year olds, made up of mostly Canadians, Aussies, Americans, a couple Indian couples, a few Eastern Europeans, and a very entertaining Japanese fella :) Greeted by "Decent Days And Nights" at the start of each day, here are the highlights of our trip:

England (London):
- Billy Elliot the musical at the Victoria Palace Theatre
- Tiny hotel room with an even tinier bathroom
- Cliffs of Dover on the way to ferry into Europe (Port Calais, France)
- Ferry was huge - parking below and three levels of retail shops + cafes! (Pammy nearly got run over trying to catch the coach during deboarding)

- Pitstop, first taste of Belgian chocolate

The Netherlands (Amsterdam):
- Canal cruise
- Red Light District and "Coffee Shops" (I wanted to get an "I love Coffee Shops" shirt, but there was none left in my size)
- Bicycles: Lots and LOTS of bicycles!
- Anne Frank House

Germany (St. Goar, Munich):
- Rhine River
- Birkenstock
- Beer steins
- World's Largest Cuckoo Clock
- Hofbrau Haus (Pork knuckle and enormous pretzels!)
- German beer YEAH!!!
- Bike tour
- Glockenspiel (11 minutes of your life that you cannot take back *HEHEHE*)
- Canal surfers
- Rory's storytime about Hitler
- Rory's lederhosen
- Toilet seats that rotate during self-cleaning

Austria (Innsbruck):
- Swarovski crystals
- Golden roof

Italy (Venice):
- Gelato, gelato, and more gelato!
- Three words you need to know: Ciao, Grazie, Prego
- Three signs to look out for while getting lost in Venice: Al Rialto, Per San Marco, Per Academie
- Gondola ride
- Murano glass-blowing and Burano lace-making
- Little frogs that look like poop
- Must emphasize "cafe" with latte, else you get just milk *HEHEHEHE*
- An Italian cappucino = an American cafe latte, with regards to taste.

Switzerland (Lucerne, Stanserhorn):
- Swiss alps
- The lovely smell of cow manure, cows with cowbells
- Mt. Stanserhorn and marmuts
- Very brief glimpse of Lake Como
- 15 minutes of a terrential downpour + hail
- Lovely cruise on Lake Lucerne
- Chocolates of all kinds

France (Paris):
- Musee de Louvre et jardin
- Tour Eiffel
- Champs Elysees
- Latin Quarters
- Arc de Triomphe
- All the croissants and crepes you can eat :)
- Moulin Rouge
- Rory's storytime about Napoleon
- Sean's squeezing in our ginormous coach into a narrow entry way at the Louvre
- Sean catapulting coach into the famous roundabout!
- It is worth paying Euro 1.50 for a clean toilet.

Parting words from Pammy: "My gelatos were worth every Euro!"
Parting words from Emma: "Avoid sitting next to a coughing old couple on a plane"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yay for you both, though. Seriously. It looks and sounds like you had a great tour of the continent. Need anything from Ireland? I leave on the 26th. Your brother is already there... ;)