Tuesday, August 16, 2011


 Heyyy Anna!

I've been meaning to do a post as soon as I got back but the 2 week tour has left me with many things to consider and it made me miss home wanting to come back at the end of the year and wondering if London is for me. I think being spoilt with sunny weather in Italy and suddenly being back to temperamental London weather contributed a lot to it. Coupled with the fact that I'll see you soon made me realise how much I've missed you and Perth. Thank you for calling up and chatting- I really needed it!

Between now and your arrival (which is NEXT SATURDAY!) I will still be on school holidays. I've been thinking about getting a full time job and will be looking into that this week. However  if I do, that would mean less flexibility to travel. Again,there's a few things clouding my mind right now but I hope to have it sorted before you come.
Now for the photos and my Contiki trip! I think I took about 1000 photos and I've spent a lot of time culling down ones to put on FB. There were lots of great photos and I hope you will enjoy them. I certainly had a fantastic time but I'm unsure if I will do another Contiki again. It was truly a mad rush consisting of late nights, early rises and long coach rides gallivanting across Europe from London- Paris-Beaujalais-French Riveria-Monaco-Florence-Rome-Venice-Munich-Rhine Valley- Amsterdam-London. There were a few days where we spent the whole day sitting on the bus with a couple of breaks in between! I expected the long drives, but I found it difficult to catch up on sleep on the bus. Other people had no problems and they stayed up and partied until early morning whilst I skipped most of that but it still didn't allow me to get my normal 8 hours of sleep and sleep deprivation gradually accumulated as the trip progressed. Towards the end almost everyone got the 'Contiki cough' and I managed unscathed until I got back to London.

There was a good mix of a total of 40 guys and girls of different ages and most of them were younger than me. There was a good mix of nationalities too from South Africa, USA, Ireland, Canada and of course Australia where majority of us were from. I found myself mingling with the few 'older' ones because the younger ones were really out there to party and a few 'other things' that I didn't sign up with Contiki for. In saying that I did enjoy myself and at the end of the 2 weeks we all became one big family and coming back to London and not having a bus load of 40 other people has made me feel...empty? I can't simply turn to my left or right or front or behind to engage in random conversations and have a laugh with someone.

Contrary, the trip has also made me immensely miss my solo travelling in SE Asia. Everything was cheap and getting a cab or staying in a nice hotel was not a problem and it really felt like an adventure when you did things by yourself and you could do whatever you liked without having to wait on other people. Europe is obviously more expensive and travelling with other people definitely makes it cheaper though. For a last minute trip, it was a good tour to do because I didn't have to plan anything at all but if I had more time to plan for my next trip, I would definitely try and do it myself. This is precisely why I'm so excited about our trip because we've planned everything ourselves and finally got all our tickets purchased and accommodation booked and we're going to create our own adventure!

What amazed me was how pretty the scenery we passed by were. Constantly throughout the trip I found myself wishing that I was on a road trip with friends and bikes strapped to the top of the car. There were so many areas that would've been perfect to pull over for a picnic or to go cycling and exploring around the cottages and farms. My favourite drive was along the French Riveria with houses and infinity pools teetering on cliffs and from Venice to Munich where gorgeous farms that seemed perfectly landscaped across the hills. I can't believe how lucky I am to have been able to do this and see so many things I never would've imagined I had the chance to.

I will leave you with photos taken in different cities and some comments highlighting my memorable moments. ENJOY!

In Paris on our first night having escargot in herb and garlic sauce. Delicious! They were tricky things and had to be pried out with little forks.
Paris jumping with gleee! Definitely worth going at night to see the sparkling lights. My other highlight was going to the Louvre. I would marry this museum if I could.

One of my favourite. We were in the wine region of Beaujalais, France and an initial short stroll after dinner ended up being a serious trek to a elusive spot with a spectacular view. After an hour we made it with poor footwear and not a single soul or tourist in sight apart from us. Anything  off the beaten path wins me!

That same night after the trek, Contiki organised a 'traffic light' party. You had to wear colours of the traffic light to indicate your status. Green for go/single , orange for unsure, and red for taken!  I bet you're wondering what colour I wore. It was a fun night dancing away and later on the trip we got to know each other and I'm missing them already! I believe there were a few hook ups on this night but nanny me went to be early.
Alix (South Africa) Colin (Ireland) Chris (US) Alan (Ireland) The two Irish lads were hilarious and such comical characters entertaining everyone on the entire trip.

I did not take the usual leaning pose and this is what I came up with.
My favourite city Nice. This was where I thought about you Anna and I sent you that text :)
Nice. It was a lovely climb up and the view as always  is truly worth it. Any city with the coast+beach+ scenery like this has my heart. Even if their beaches have no sand and literally covered in large pebbles. Alix and I spent the day together and it was one of my best days on the tour. Could also be the fact that we did a lot of shopping in a very limited time of half an hour!

Colosseum and I loved it here! Wish I had more time to spend wandering around as oppose to 40 minutes. Another Ancient Wonder of the World crossed off for me! It was an incredibly hot and long day and we also walked to the Vatican City.  The people I was with really made it for me and we got along so well even though we were all  hot and exhausted.

Another party followed after the long day. This was the whiteboard party I told you about in my post in Rome. A few of us shredded our shirts and customised it with scissors and everyone went around writing things. I had most of mines written on the back. My favourite one is 'UR 1 SEXY BITCH' Oh boy. Lots of positive references to being Asian as well.
In Venice on a gondola ride. I think this city is more romantic than Paris. I couldn't stop thinking how romantic it would be to wander the streets of Venice with someone special.It was a little eerie though because it was quiet and the doors at the bottom  have been decaying because of the water.

Scenery captured from the bus ride Venice to Munich. This is where I would absolutely  love to go cycling at a leisurely pace and stay in a B & B.
Munich beer hall having a huge pint of beer and amazing pork knuckle- both which I could not finish! They both complimented so well and my stomach is grumbling looking at it.

With Alix and my fabulous wooden clogs in Amsterdam. They added a couple of kilos etc to my luggage but I LOVE them and I had to get a pair! Don't ask me when I will ever wear them. For now they are looking great for door stoppers.
My babies! There are some other experiences of Amsterdam that I won't mention here but it involves a live show and a terrible headache. Both never again!

The Contiki family in Amsterdam. We all hopped on bikes and cycled to the windmill.  I couldn't believe how many bikes there were. Definitely recommend cycling your way around Amsterdam to see the buildings and canals.

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