European Highlights READ THIS
13 Sep 2007 Nay819 said
So in August of 2007 i took my first trip abroad to Europe. The European Highlights was hitting 8 countries and many major cities I wanted to visit. However, I am going to warn you now so you won't discover this on day one liek I did, THE NAME SAYS IT ALL! "highlights" The bases of the trip is to be in a place long enough to see what you need to and move to the next. For those who....how do I phrase this....live a certian "rich" lifestyle, go for the hotel trip, otherwise save your $$ for the crap that your going to buy and go ont he concept tour. You stay in cabins a majority of the time, which can be small, but big enough for your stuff. You get a sleepign bag from contiki when you get to london, so you dont need to bring one, you get a bed everynight with a pillow, and trust me, that is plenty. If you are not keen on campgrounds and simple cabins, then go for the hotels, but you are in your rooms just for sleeping, otherwise your doing something every second of the day until you go to bed. So I didnt find the accommedatiosn that bad, then again I was raised camping. Movign on, you do stay in some hotels and a hostel in Germany - but let me tell you, the hostels are NICE!! The best bed i have EVER slept on. If anyone can sneak a pillow, comforter, and matress back to the USA, please send it to me!!! Bring an alarm clock, mostly the day starts at 8am, but some days it is earlier. There are bars at every campground, a club at the chateu, and you cna always opt to stay in town and pay for a taxi or train back to the hotels or campground. They will give you maps of the cities you are going to, but i suggest taking a guide book to europe. Contiki does mark important things like the Effiel Tower etc, but if you want to know more about the places and sites, then take a book. Some guys on my trip bought maps of the countries to highlight the route we took to each city, good idea, wish i had thought of it beforehand. If you are going with a travel buddy, DO NOT SPEND ALL YOUR TIME WITH YOU FRIEND. There are 50 other people on your trip, MAKE FREINDS!!! I now know people from 11 other countries, 12 if you include USA. Go on all the extra trips you want to, not what your friend wants to. You are there once, and believe me i regret not doing stuff because my travel buddy told me not too. I will say these one bits of advice, go on at least the first and last dinners just to meet people and be with your group one last time. All the dinners are not that great, but try everything even the pork nuckle at the german beerhall. But the Tuscan dinner in Florence, i opted not to go cause UR IN ITALY, you will find Italian food in any cafe for a lot cheaper, plus i head the food is crap. The food isnt the best at any meal they provide, but its the same policy for college, free food = good food. The roman guide sucked, but had good info, just talked A LOT about stuff i cant recall now. The one bit that helped was tickts for the collessium, dont wait in the line, go to this other place behind it down the road, smae price, but get to cut the lines. The bathrooms, for females there are no lids or seats on 95% of the tolits, so practice squating. Purell is your friend. And you dont have to tip the cleaning people if you dont want to. At food places, the tip is most likely included, check the menu. Bring extra chapstick, because i lost my Burts Bees in France and had to suffer with some french crap i bought for 6 euro!! Anyways, back to the extra trips. Get the picture because you may not wnat it at the time, but when you see it the last day, you will wish you had purchased one. Same goes for the shirts. I helped design our groups shirts and htey came out awsome, and it cool that there are only 50ish every made, and makes mroe unity and a special times for when you wear it later. do the gondola ride, i am partial to it because it was my 21st birthday when i was in Venice and on a goldola. Do not, i repeat, DO NOT go to the bathroom on the bus. Go at every reststop, lunch stop, and just plain stop in general beacsue what goes in the bus stays with you, and it will smell at times if you have a full tank. Dont party all night because you will want to sleep. and you can nap on the bus, but you miss all of the gorgious country side,a nd you piss of the tour manager because they would like to be entertained too. ok and now for a few things that are not in the brochure....THEY ARE GOING TO TAKE YOU TO A CONCENTRATION CAMP. You go to Dakow, the 1st camp, and it is so moving to actually be at one. its unbelieveable because you knwo the history and everythign that happened, but then you get there and you just dont wnat to say a word. Dont freak out and not go, because it is a one off thing. Also, in Amsterdam you have the option to go to a sex show. Its 30 euro and it is just what it says; a sex show. its not pron, its not emotional sex, it is these peopels jobs. I didnt go, but what i heard is that it was just 2 people havign sex, straight faced. it goes quick and is out there. I spent the night wanderign the red light district checkign out the sex shops and had a blast. So go if you want, ecperience it, but you can do other things too. Dont forget anne frank, berkenstocks, beer steins, cookoo clocks, pisa, the mona lisa, big ben, and everythign else you can cram into a 2 weeks european vacation. London, france, monaco, italy, vadican city, austria, germany, and the netherlands (USA doesnt have the optiong of going to belgium cause you fly out of amsterdam, buts its just a drive through like austria on the way back to london). Oh and before i let you go, bring a travel journal, save everything, and try everything. most of all have fun!!
Feel free to contact me and ask me any questions, i do not mind!! email at: firstname.lastname@example.org and i am on facebook as well (Renee Lee)
Enjoy your trip
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