17 Oct 2009 Megan0870 said
I did the Winter Wanderer this time last year, so I thought I'd let you know how it went.
Had an awesome time. I found the pace of the tour worked quite, even if some places it would of been nice to stay a little longer. Experiencing Europe was the reason for booking the tour.
The driving to and from places was, I found, the worst thing about Contiki. The amount of hours spent in a bus daily was sometimes a little mind numbing. But if you go on a longer tour like this one, the extensive bus driving only happens every 2 or 3 days.
I've got to say the food at some of the hotels was god damn awful. France & Venice were the worst.
Everyone on our tour got on pretty well. There was only one person on the tour that really was a pain. Be prepared, it's like going back to high school. Everyone who is there to drink there way through Europe and have a blast is at the back of the bus, and the people who are there to experience Europe & see the sites are at the front.
Our Tour Manager & Driver were at sometimes pains in the arses. But I imagine that controling a group of 40-50 people that are barely out of adolescence and running amuck, is quite a hard job to do.
Don't be fooled Contiki is prodominately a party people tour. However the Winter Wanderer stays for 2-3 days in each place, which means you have a chance to see places you wouldn't see on a shorter tour. I would suggest going and getting an authentic experience from the place that your in. We went to a small restaurant in the backstreets of Venice with the most amazing food I've ever tasted in my life. In Prague & Vienna we went on horse and cart rides through the cities & in Paris we walked all day from place to place seeing things along the way, then on the way back to the hotel we got lost for 3 hours. Things like this make your trip memorable for years to come.
If you want to do the party thing and also the scenic thing on Contiki it is possible, all you have to do is pace yourself with drinking, do it every second day or whatever, otherwise you burn out really quickly. By about 10 days in, everyone starts getting sick, coughing, fevers etc, etc. This is also a part of the Contiki experience.
No one on our tour had anything stolen, although we were all pretty careful. The tour manager does let you know what scams go on in some cities. The only bad things that happened was, that one of the girls had their drink spiked in Barcelona, and one girl left her passport behind in a hotel, so she had to go back and get it. Make sure you ALWAYS have your passport when you leave your hotel to go to another city, because they will not go back to the hotel & get it for you. They just drop you off at the nearest place and let you find your way back to the hotel & then onto the next city. Your on your own basically.
Oh yeah, and don't make phone calls to home at the hotels. They are not free. A girl did on our tour after a bit of drinking. 130 Euros later, she regretted it in the morning.
I think that is basically it. This tour is awesome because you have so much free time. I wouldn't go on a shorter tour because of all the bus driving. You wouldn't see anything. Well you would, while you were driving past it....
If you have any questions at all, please just post it here and I'll get back to you.
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22 Oct 2009 Explorer1153730 said
Thanks for your review. I am planning to go on the winter wanderer in March 2010 by myself. Did you find that there were many others who were on their own?
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24 Oct 2009 olivia2903 said
Was just wondering what optionals you think are a must do and those that should be skipped?
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25 Oct 2009 Megan0870 said
Explorer – I would say that it was 80% people on their own. There were about 4 couples & 3 sets of friends that had come on the tour together. Like I said it didn’t matter if you were a couple or alone everyone got on well together and formed there own groups of friends.
Olivia – Optionals I skipped were Moulin Rouge (it was the first or second night on Contiki) There was about 5 people who didn’t go to this. It was 130 euros. I just thought that was too much on the first days. Plus you had to leave Paris about 4:30 in the afternoon, and I wanted to spend the whole day there have dinner & chill out. Which is exactly what I did.
Also missed, Venice (that was crap) if the tour manager tells you that if you don’t do to this you might not find anything to eat, don’t believe them. There is some awesome food in Venice, just keep to the back streets.
Also didn’t do, Lucerne Lunch, Florence walk about tour, Barcelona Lunch, everything else I did.
The best optionals were the tuscan evening (un-believable food) Space Electronica Disco – Awesome, The Rome Tours, Gondola ride, Mozart Concert, Prague tour.
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