Friday, August 14, 2009

The end of Contiki...

So it's over...and it's bloody strange! But here's the last of the trip:

It rained & poured the whole time in Vienna & put it mellowed out for the evening so the tents were pretty dry to pack up in the morning. YAY! Would have been nice to see a little more of Austria & Vienna itself, but after the hot sun & dry days I just wasn't up for making everything I owned wet & stinky.

Wednesday the 5th we were packed up & back on the coach on our way to Prague. We stopped in this little place in Czech called Cesky Krumlov. It was SO ADORABLE! Like a little storybook town. Everyone was friendly & there was a river looping around it that they had built man-made rapids into, so people were canoeing, kayaking & river rafting around the town. It didn't look too exciting, but it did look like a fun way to spend a hot day! ;) Then back on the coach and into Prague.  It was still looking like rain so a bunch of us paid and extra 5 euro a night to stay in cabins. That was a nice change. I really didn't mind tenting at all -but when you are wet, your tent is wet, your clothes & towel are get a little...wet. :) So cabin it was. It was a pretty nice campsite with a beautiful lake & grounds across the road. Spent a lot of time just shooting the sh*t with people outside of the cabins on our 'deck' that night. The next day was PRAGUE! And it was pretty damn nice. It's funny the architecture is so different than Paris/Rome etc. But it's really cool too. We did a boat cruise & the guide was great. Wandered a lot, checked out all the local vendors & wished I had more money because there was some really unique jewellery. We all met up again at around 6pm in Wencles Square & went to a place called the Beer Factory. They have taps on your table & a running scoreboard tally of how much you have had to drink. I had 1 beer - but the guys on the tour of course were in intense competition :) The ride home was an interesting one too. The bus just stopped half way to the campsite with no warning & told us we had to wait for another one. And the whole time we were there the transportation didn't improve much. made it interesting & unforgettable though! The next day was another day in Prague. Took it easy in the morning & sewed some patches onto my bag, then headed in for some lunch & a nap in the was ACE. Loved Prague, can't wait to tell Matthew & his family! That Friday evening we went to this 5 story nightclub that had different music on each level. It was ridiculously hot and ridiculously fun. We got there at about 10:30 & I didn't leave until 4:30am. Can you believe I made it that long?? And I wasn't tired! I just danced my butt off! So we went back to the campsite in a cab, had showers, packed up & got ready. Had brekky when everyone got up..and I didn't sleep until a lot later that next day on the coach.

Saturday the 8th we were back on the road. To Munich - went into town. Had a little wander. Checked out Haufbrauhaus...a famous & old beerhall. Went to the square, got some ice cream & fruit & wandered a bit more. Then met up with everyone for our night out at a Beerhall. It was great. We had pork-knuckle for dinner, a litre of beer, did Prost a million times, there was singing & dancing, we sang & danced. It was a pretty great night. And after that - bed :) hahah

Sunday we were up and on the road again into Switzerland. Stopped in a couple of places. Stopped in Leichtenstein before Switzerland, it was pretty nice. There was a big beach volleyball tourny on in the middle of town that was pretty random. Then we went into Lucerne and spent some time on the famous wooden bridge, went to a Swiss Army knife & Swiss watch place, checked out a cuckoo clock is so gorgeous in Switzerland & SO CLEAN! There is so much pride of place & country it's crazy! Then we went to Jung Frau. Our campsite was beautiful. And the country does definitely remind me of home. More tidy, but mountains, rock face cliffs, waterfalls off the mountains...lovely. And then it POURED. Completely soaked the crap out of us both nights, but our day there was pretty clear at least. I went into town, so quaint. And then we went to this waterfall that was absolutely phenomenal! It was in the mountain & so so cool. Also - bought some chocolate ;) haha Went that evening to the pub at the campsite -it is called The Bombshelter. had another pretty great evening of dancing. Went to bed fairly early though.

The next morning we were up & off again, back into Germany to Heidelburg. Another lovely place. It was a pretty late day, wandered town for a bit & then went back to camp & had an awards night. A silly one, things like 'most annoying drunk', 'most helpful' etc. I went to bed pretty early that night too.

Left the next morning for the Netherlands. On the way we stopped in St. Goar & checked out a wicked cool beer stein place & a Birkenstock shop...that I bought some birks in. :) They were cheap! :) Got into Amsterdam, set up camp & headed into the city. First stop, coffee shop aka place you smoke & eat weed & hash. So I shared a joint with a girl on tour. Wasn't like BC bud though. I haven't smoked in 3 years...but it didn't hit me at all. So we all met up, wandered the red light district a bit & went to a live sex show. That was interesting. I had have a brownie there & another half afterwards. And the full body stone is a lot different than just smoking it! But it made me warm & heavy & as soon as we got back to camp I went to bed & slept like a rock. That was pretty excellent. LOL And now I've tried it. The next day was another day in Amsterdam. Went out to Edam and did a bike tour that was so awesome. Had a cheese making demo & clog making demo. And then saw a windmill and their dykes. It was so nice there - then back into Amsterdam. Grabbed lunch, went into a bunch of touristy shops, did the Anne Frank museum, then we all met up to head back to camp. Got changed & ready & back into town for dinner & a night out. It was a pretty great night. There were some tears as a few people left us early. But it was still good times.

And then yesterday - we came from Amsterdam, through Belgium, and back to London. Arrived at around 7:30pm, unpacked, I headed to my hostel. Got organized, headed back into the centre & had a beer with everyone & said goodbyes. It was a lonely night being alone for the first time in a month and a half! LOL It feels more weird than sad. I knew it was coming, and there are going to be people I will see again & keep in touch with...but it's a very strange feeling for sure. 46 days with 45 people 24/7 is a pretty intense thing. Some of them do feel like family.

So today, up, off to meet some family ;) hahaha and now pretty mellow. I can feel my Contiki Cough wanting to come back, so I'm going to take it easy & drink loads of water & get lots of sleep. :) Monday I am off to South Clifton again to meet up with the Lewis's.


Monday, August 3, 2009

Heading westward

So after I left the internet terminal in Tirana I was headed back to meet the coach for our final night in a hotel. And a young kid - about 9 or 10 accosted me and was grabbing at my water & my purse trying to get me to give them to him. I kept walking, but he was blocking my path yelling and grabbing for quite a ways. That was an experience and a half!!! Caught the coach & went back to the hotel. And had dinner, then some pool time. The rooms at the hotel were insanely spacious, but it was definitely an older hotel & a bit rundown. But I slept like a fecking baby!!


The next day we were back on the road  and headed for Croatia!!! So excited about that! We went through Montenagro & stopped at this crazy cheap supermarket. It was pretty excellent to get so much for so little. Montenagro was a beautiful little country, but we just drove thru it, that one place was our onlz stop. And then into Dubrovnik. This campsite was pretty excellent. Spacious, really clean & nice ammenities & free WIFI. Plus a beach not too far away. That first night we got in at 7ish and had some dinner and checked out the area, I spent a little time online using a fellow Contiki member's computer, but had no luck trying to upload photos. GRRR.


Wednesday the 29th we were up early and into Old Town to wander around & see what there was to see. It was hot as hades so I did a few touristy things, checked out the market, got some moolah, and some ice cream. Then there was a cruise - but I didn't go. I went and hung out on the rocks. In Old Town there is a wall surrounding it & loads of big rocks that you can lay on and sun yourself and swim in the gorgeous water. So I did that with a couple of girls from our group for a couple of hours. Then we got some lunch & headed back to camp. It was still hot, so we went ´down to the beach & did some more swimming & sunning there. Once it started getting chilly we packed up & headed back. Helped with dinner prep, took a shower, had some dinner, did a little sewing for a friend. There are a lot of people who cannot sew - I've repaired a few things for friends on this trip. lol


Thursday was another free day...and I spent it on the beach. Up & breakfast & then I did a little laundry & was on the beach by 10:30ish. It was ace. I applied & reapplied sunscreen - but by the time I back off the beach to eat a little something at 4:30 -- I was a little rosy on my back. I had switched up the swimsuit too, so I had a little more exposed skin, so I burnt my bum! yikes!! But it was still a most excellent day! That night after dinner we did a little massage train, but I ended up giving out more since I wasn't able to get one b/c of my burn.


Friday we left Dubrovnik. Back onto the bus. Le Sigh. Went through Bosnia/Herzegovina, another beautiful country! Back into Croatia, had lunch in Split, which was not enough time because it was really cool there. Had kind of a Miami feel too it...then back onto the coach & into Zadar. It was an interesting coach day. Late people & a fair amount of drama. When a person is late there is a punishment. It's called Booth of Truth. The late individual has to go to the front of the coach & get asked whatever 3 questions anyone can think up & they have to answer it. It's funny, but can be really embarrassing & sometimes a bit mean. It's definitely a juvenille thing. But it was a bit of a yuck one that day, so at camp we set up a little girly circle & just hung out until we went to bed pretty early. Oh - also, in town it was really tight & our coach driver scratched up a couple of that took a bit of time off of our Split adventure. It was unfortunate, he's a bloody amazing driver!


Saturday we got up and on the coach and crossed another border into Hungary! Went to Budapest. Got into camp pretty late & after dinner we hung out for a bit chatting, then went to bed around 12ish.


Sunday was a day in Budapest. It was such a nice city. SO HOT! But we wandered around a few shops, got a great lunch with some great service, wandered thru the city-amazing architecture. Went to the House of Terror & got an education...then some ice cream. Out to the water & wandered the Danube down to this Holocaust memorial. It was a spot that the Nazi's dumped Jewish bodies into the water & there is now a line of about 60 pairs of shoes marking the area. Very powerful stuff. Took some photos & took a moment. Then went for a little nap in a park in the shade. After that we met up with the group & went for a river cruise with a buffet dinner. It was a nice way to spend the dinner hours. And after that a bunch of us went out to Margaret Island to a salsa club & partied until 1:30am. It was a pretty excellent day!!!


Yesterday was back on the coach and we crossed over to Austria! After we unpacked our stuff it was really early so I had a cat nap in the tent for a couple of hours. It rained & I was loving the sound. Then we all got ready and headed into a theme/amusement park. I was not looking forward to it - but it was a great nite! Had some amazing schnitzel, danced our butts off like goons to the music coming from the rides - and rode one ride. Oh - ice cream too. LOL But it was just a ton of fun. When we got back to camp it started to pour, so I just went to bed. it rained all night & it's still raining today. Packing up all the went tents is going to be SO ROUGH! LOL But really ´- 30plus days in and this is the first time we have had any significant rain - that's pretty damn good!!!


So I think that about catches everyone up!!!


Next stop: Prague!