Monday, July 27, 2009

So much driving...

So we left Corfu. Lost our people & got new ones. The new ones seem to be pretty cool & are quite comfortable with the rest of us that had already gotten to know one another. As we were leaving Greece we stopped in Thermopoli, saw Mt. Olympus & slept as much as we could on the bus. We drove thru to Kavala, got there pretty late & set up camp. Dinner, a wander, and then I went to bed. There are a few people who are drinking & up late most every night, but I am trying to get rid of this darn cough. The rest of the cold is pretty much gone, but the cough is very persistent! So fairly early to bed & then early to rise.

Packed up camp & hit the road. Headed out to Cannakele. We crossed through the border into Turkey & it was fairly uneventful, but Canadians had to pay the most for our visas, and that sucked. We rode on a Feribot & had some Turkish Tea. Stopped & saw the city of Troy & got photos inside of a wooden horse. Pretty cool, had a great guide for the tour. Then onto Cannakele - and our first hotel during our camping tour. There are a few countries here in eastern europe where camping isn't the best idea, so all in all we get 5 days in hotels. At the hotel we went for a swim in the pool, a walk along the ocean, had dinner & then some conversation until bed in a BED!

The next morning we packed up again & went to Gallipoli. Very cool place that I knew nothing about. But it was a pretty historic place for the Aussies & Kiwis in our group. And a very beautiful place for such horrible fighting to have occured, but the monuments & cemetaries they have are beautiful & definitely do the fallen proud. Then we headed into Istanbul. Beautiful & amazing, I cannot wait to spend more time in that city!!! The first night I did laundry & then we all headed to this little bar type place where we lay in the street on pillows & drank our drinks & smoked Shisha. It was pretty amazing & fun. Didn't help my cough, but I had to do it anyway :) I still called it a pretty early night, bed in the hotel by 12:00ish.

Next morning was a full day in Istanbul. We started with a walking tour, saw the Blue Mosque and hippodrome- pretty cool. The Grand Bazaar - which was  disappointing & insane. Mostly shops, not very market-like. And then we went on a hunt for the turkish bath with the most bang for your buck. We found one, 4 of us girls & 1 guy that tagged along. WOW! This was so amazing! We paid the money & went to a room to get undressed & put on our towel/sheets. Then we were led into the Women's area & told to undress & sit on our towels while soaking ourselves with warm water in a marble sauna environment. So cool. So bizarre. Very relaxing. Very funny for a North American to be lounging around naked with a bunch of women. After about 20min they came to get us & they lay you down on your towel on a marble slab & rinse you, scrub your whole body & then soap you up. They give you a soap massage, flip you over & repeat. You get fully groped by a largish turkish woman in a bathing suit & it's hilarious, strange & so amazing at the same time. Then they sit you up & wash your hair. A final rinsing & back to the sauna area for more relax time. And then the 2nd bit was they dry you off with towels & bring you back out into the main area. And then into a massage room for a full body massage with essential oils. It leaves you feeling slightly violated & very rubbery. It was amazing & I would do it again in a second!!!! After the baths we headed back to the hotel. A bunch of people went out to a dinner thingy & I did not. I went to a place that sold turkish delight & baclava & I bought some from the guy - Mr. Delicious. :) And then another woman from our group & I went out to try & do some late night shopping. It was unsuccessful, but nice to see Istanbul at night. Another fairly early night for me.

The next morning we packed up & loaded up the bus & then we had a 2 hour delay, so we wandered the Spice Markets. It was very fortuitous because I found a dress & have been feeling sorely lacking in the summery clothes department & was very excited to find a sundress!!! Then back on the road And into Bulgaria. No issues with this border either. It's been excellent! Arrived in Sofia in a gorgeous hotel, had dinner & then some people went out clubbing & some of us just went into the city to see a bit of it & then to bed. Still have a cough. Trying to kick it in the butt before Croatia!!!

Yesterday we were back on the road bright & early. Another driving day! I haven't gotten any flag patches or postcards because we're seeing some of the country, but mostly just there to sleep. That part sucks, but it's very cool to see them! We left Bulgaria & moved into Macedonia. It is SO beautiful in Macedonia. Stopped in Skopje for lunch, and had huge portions & it was a pretty neat city. And then onto Ohrid & our campsite. The campsite was such a sh*t show. That is literally the only way to describe it. So insanely busy & so many people & so little organization, and so dirty. We were very happy it was a one night experience. But Lake Ohrid was pretty cool. This was again a pretty mellow night for me. Dinner & then relaxing with friends. There have been a few people that have gotten a stomache bug on top of the regular cold that has been going around & so I sat with a pukey friend until she felt well enough to head to bed. It's pretty unfortunate, but I think it's good timing during our little hotel stretch for everyone to get it out of their systems. LOL I'm trying to hit the bed early & stay germ free so that I don't get it.

Today we were back on the bus, out of Macedonia & into Albania. It's pretty gorgeous here too! And we are now in Tirana. It's the capital. it's an interesting city as well, very colourful - but again, dirty. And tonight is our last night in hotels.

I thought that I would have so many comments on my last blog.. :( Thank you Brenda for making me feel loved ! hahaha

Hope everyone is well - I am doing great & loving this trip. Though I dont' think I'll be going thru withdrawal like Luke was. ;)


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Contiki 46 Day Camper

Ok!! So I'm in an internet cafe & have few minutes!

We are on about day 20 of our trip & just about to lose 14 of our friends & pick up 14 more. That will be interesting & a little sad, as some of the ones that are leaving are people that I have gotten closest with. But this is the way it goes!!

Been getting up crazy early most days. I like to wake before everyone else to grab a shower & I tend to be such a light sleeper that anything wakes me up. I usually wake up at around 5 am, but usually sleep in until 6 or 6:30. Then get ready, we have brekky, which is usually muesli, coco puffs, corn flakes, fruit & yogurt. :) And then we are either on the road again to the next place or we are heading into town to have free time exploring or to take a tour.

So far:
Paris - spent 3 days. It was so big & so much to see. I definitely want to go back as I did not get to see everything I wanted to see, but only for another few days, maybe a week?? And then I would move onto the South of France because the Parissians are definitely more than a little snotty ;)
Lyon - Beautiful beautiful. We were only here for one night, but I would love to see more of this area
Barcelona - spent a couple days. I loved the feeling, but it was pretty dirty. I would love to spend more time in Spain & see more places. Especially if I knew a little Spanish!!! lol getting around France was a lot easier for me!

On our way to Nice we stopped in a little town for lunch & got to watch the Tour de France go through!!! It was very exciting!

Nice - I loved Nice!! It was gorgeous, the beach was phenomenal! Actually, it was our first pebble beach & it got quite windy. We saw a man got dragged out of the ocean & dealt with by the lifeguards & ambulance drivers. All I can say is - DO NOT DROWN IN NICE! Beautiful place, crappy life saving techniques!
Monaco - Went to Monte Carlo, some people gambled, I wandered around & had gelato. Very posh place! There were fireworks too.
Verona - mmm...spent an hour or two here. Saw Juliet's balcony & felt the romance. Half of the town has it's streets done in marble! INSANE!
Venice - LOVED Venice! And the canals were NOT as dirty as I had been led to believe. It was so much fun to spend a day wandering thru the tiny streets & canals. Our gondola ride was a bit disapointing. I was alone at the front of it & our guy was on his mobile the whole time. No singing! But it may be because it was a Contiki special & I'm finding some of those are just cheap deals & not the best experiences you can get ;)
Pisa - the tower seemed smaller! But it was pretty cool & we all took some cheesy photos!
Florence - Really loved Florence too.  In general I just really loved Italy! The pizza was phenomenal, although I only really enjoyed my pasta once. I kept ordering seafood pastas & the seafood was always overcooked. :(
Rome - So much to see. Need to go back just to see all the touristy things. It was also VERY hot! But very cool. Lots of amazing buildings
Vatican City - smallest country in the world! Saw the Sistine Chapel & St. Peters Bascillica. Incredible stuff.
Capri - Such a beautiful island. We went out to the Blue Grotto, which is a very cool natural light phenom. And then had lunch in the shade
Sorrento - Such a lovely and romantic seaside city in Italy!!! Had a pretty great evening there!
Pompeii - we were rushing thru our tour, but it was still awesome to be there!
Corfu - just finished our 3 days in Corfu, one of many Greek islands. It is beautiful & the people are lovely. Spent quite a bit of time in the water & have been trying to work on my tan.

Everyone on the tour has a cold right now. I think it's late nights, early mornings, too much drinking for some, AC on the coach all day & new water & germs everyday! :) But I'm starting to get over mine now so we're golden ;) We are at an internet cafe on a routine stop on our way to Athens. Looking forward to Athens! So much history there! Greece is amazing, I knew I would love it here!

There are lots of great people on the trip. Definitely people that I will be keeping in touch with, to call on when I visit their countries & vice versa. Loads & loads of Kiwis & Aussies on this trip. Only a few Canadians & Americans. And one South African, and one lady from India.

It is going well. People are going to add me to FB so that they can tag photos.

Love you all!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Okay. So Contiki is an insane pace. Which I did already expect from Lukes experience ' but seriously ' there is no time for this!!!




I have been to Paris, and had a pretty good time, but not enough time. Lyon - and it was beautiful. Then to Barcelona and then the French Riviera, there we hit up Nice and Monaco.


Everything is gorgeous and I have seen so many amazing things!!


The people are interesting and mostly very cool. Altho . again as warned, there are people i cannot stand!




I am currently in Venice and we are only on day 9. SOOOO much more to see,. I do plan to take more time for a comprehensive description.


For now . I am having fun. Meeting people. and it is good!


I have to run!