Contiki – Switzerland

We´ve been sharing a room almost every night for over a month now. Still hugging.

We´ve been sharing a room almost every night for over a month now. Still hugging.

Wow so Switzerland is stunning. I’ve traveled through much of New Zealand and seen some of the best mountain ranges the planet has to offer. Switzerland is something else. The mountains are seriously huge and alive with waterfalls. The contiki chateau we stayed at is nestled in a glacier formed valley surrounded by waterfalls.

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Contiki – Italy

We had three stops in Italy:

Venice
Rome
Florence

Venice

Venice was very cool. No cars are allowed in the city and canals wind themselves between all of the beautiful old buildings. We did a big walking tour together which I enjoyed. For the afternoon there was a bunch of optional excursions that Contiki offered. A cool Canadian guy named Colin, Brown Simon, Krumm and myself instead chose to skip the excursions and take the advice of our bus driver and go off the beaten track. He said we could pretend we stay at the Hilton and catch a free ferry to the hotel and sneak up to the swimming pool. So we went for it and we were rewarded with a nice, refreshing pool on the roof with panoramic views of Venice. We made it and celebrated with some nice cold beers. It was a blistering hot day and we were soon the envy of the tour once the others caught on to what we had done.

The canals of Venice

The canals of Venice

Living the dream at the top of the Hilton

Living the dream at the top of the Hilton

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Contiki – Munich to Austria

Munich was alright. If I could’ve skipped any of the stops it would’ve been this one. Just more big old beautiful buildings and tales of Germans being dicks. To be fair, we did only have one night here so we didn’t have a chance to see much. I do plan to return for Oktoberfest and get a better feel for the city then.

One awesome thing I saw in Munich was on a city bike tour we did. The first official stop on the tour was a beer garden. Where most of us opted for 1L steins of beer to help us through the ride. Just before this stop we saw a river that was creating a natural wave. A bunch of guys were there surfing it like a wave machine. This alone is motivation enough for me to get back to Munich again someday.

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The wave

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Contiki – Berlin, Dachau concentration camp and Prague

Berlin was a city bursting with history. We learnt much about world war two and the Berlin war. Very interesting, but very messed up. Germany has had some terrible ideas. For each city we visit we do a walking tour. One stop was a carpark. It was below that carpark that Hitler and his wife took cyanide pills then shot themselves as the Russian army was coming into the city. In that carpark was where Hitler had his men burn his body to save him from having his corpse humiliated. There was nothing but a small sign to indicate what had happened there and the bunker was gone. There was no memorial here because the Germans are very careful not to provide neo Nazis with a place to worship Hitler.

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Contiki – London to Amsterdam

Okay so Contiki has now been and gone. What a trip. I wrote this enter on day 16/18. I’m going to be writing about this trip in catch up mode. Probably due to the ridiculous amount of action and alcohol that was consumed; my memories are a little fuzzy.

So night 0 was our meet and greet night in London. Straight off the bat our group seemed rad. However like myself we all seemed to be kicking off the trip with already depleted energy levels. So not much excitement on the first night. However there was enough for one new friend, Jack John, to miss the coach to Amsterdam the following morning. I still haven’t figured out which name out of Jack and John is his real and which is his nickname. So I call him both to cover my bases. Jack John had to catch a rather expensive last minute flight to Amsterdam to catch the group.

Night #1 in Amsterdam was kicked off by a sober sex show. An event I believe shouldn’t be attended sober. I had enthusiastically made the front row then spent much of the show in fear of being dragged up on stage. Luckily I dodged that bullet! The sex show was very different from the ones Thailand has to offer. Where as Thailand has the cringe worthy “oh no she didn’t just do that!!” acts, this one was made up of mainly just sex. I was pleased to hear that most of the actors (I suppose that’s what they’re called), are actual couple’s, so the chemistry is natural. So we spent an hour there then processed to rampage around Amsterdam for the night.

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Day #2 in Amsterdam was one of my favourites. We visited the Heineken brewery and took a trip to Edam. Which is funnily enough the home of Edam cheese. There we did a cheese and clog tour. We also took a bike ride out to see some windmills and a dyke. Not a lesbian but the water level control system the Dutch use to stop their country flooding. However later that day we did see plenty of the lesbian type of dykes. We were super lucky as it happened to be gay pride. I had never been to a pride event and it did not disappoint. The whole procession was on water with the rivers lined with spectators. It truly was a spectacle with the local gays taking their usual flamboyancy to a whole new level. It was great to see big companies such as Google also showing their support by sponsoring floats.

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Later that night we met up with the group and did an overpriced (£32) dinner then a nice canal acruise. The prices in Europe are killing me. Especially after coming from Asia. At this rate I’ll be extremely lucky to have much money left after these four months. Contiki has a bunch of overpriced optionals. I opted for most of the first ones for the reason of getting to know the group. Later on in the trip I skipped most of them and instead did other, cheaper and usually better things with a few of the other guys.

Contiki – an 18 day tour of Europe

On July 31st Simon, myself and about 50 other like-minded travellers met in London. For the next 18 days we will all get to know each other very well on a trip through Europe. Contiki is a tour company that is famous for its crazy party style of travel. They also limit the age of travelers to 18-35 year olds. Our itinerary is:

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One other very special man that is joining us on the trip is a work colleague, Karl. Better known as Krumm. Krumm is a machine. I don’t know anyone else that parties as hard as this man. He really is ridiculous. He showed up in London still on a three day hangover from Tomorrowland. Sporting a busted knee and cut nose. I really do hope he doesn’t end up killing himself on this trip.

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So I suspect my next few posts will be about this trip. I’m currently sitting on the bus. We’re stuck in traffic on the border crossing from Austria to Italy. Which gives you an idea of how far behind I’m already getting on this blog. Plus I can’t post this till I get decent WiFi. I’ll be more diligent after the craziness of Contiki is over.

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Krumm and Chloe's interesting sleeping positions on the coach

Simon’s drunken injury

Our host in Glasgow, Pete, had been busy for the majority of the visit as he was a volunteer at the games. However on the Monday night he had finally got the chance to party with us. Clearly there was a lot of excitement in the air. He was also very excited about the fact a famous NRL star, Cecil Martin, was staying at his friends place through Air BnB. Cecil had agreed to party with us one night so a hoard of us turned up at Pete’s friends place for pre drinks.

It was a great night and Cecil was an awesome dude. I hadn’t previously heard of him, but he was quite the charmer. He had all the girls giddy around him.

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Later in the night another friend I had met in Vietnam with Pete, Ben, was being sick in the bathroom. Simon decided he urgently needed to investigate. He was outside the club at the time so went running for the front door. Unfortunately a pot hole was in his way which he dodged with only half his foot. His ankle rolled and he ate shit in front of the thirty odd people that were hanging outside. I doubt it was his proudest moment.

The following day Simon’s ankle looked no better than the swollen mess it was the night before so we headed for the A&E. I also took this opportunity to get an infected toe looked at. Making this the fifth country I’ve visited a hospital in. Hopefully I don’t add to that list any further this trip.

The hospital system in Scotland was amazing. We were in and out within two hours and it was all completely free. No insurance needed. I got free antibiotics and Simon got free crutches. Highly recommend getting injured in Scotland if you’re going to do it somewhere.

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Questionable icing technique

This was horrible timing for Simon to get injured as we were due to start Contiki in two days time. He came very close to pulling pin. Luckily he was only diagnosed with a sprain so he decided to man up and still do the tour.