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optional excursions

7 May 2007 Linda said

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i will be going on the european inspiration tour this summer from june 21st to july 11th. i was wondering what people who previously went on this trip would advise about the optional excursions that contiki offers? which ones are worth participating in and which ones should i skip to spend more time exploring the city? your input would be greatly appreciated Big Grin thanks!

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such excursions as:
visiting the french perfume house
gondola ride in venice
glass blowing and lace making demonstrations
checkpoint charlie museum
anne frank's house
van goh museum

ps. how does laundry work out when you're on tour?
  • 7 May 2007 Curtis71 said

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    Try giving us a list of all the excursions… they are probably shared between many tours. Most people are not going to go and look up the tour to see if the excursion were the same was on their other trips.

  • 7 May 2007 michAel-89 said

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    geesh, rude much?

  • 7 May 2007 Curtis71 said

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    quote:
    Originally posted by michAel-89:
    geesh, rude much?


    Webforums are not like the concierge desk at a hotel where you can basically walk up and expect them to cater to you. Most people here are happy to answer your question even though they do it for free on their own time. Learning how to conduct yourself online makes everyone’s experience go more smoothly. Therefore I believe it is the role of experienced users to guide the obvious newbs in how to conduct themselves so that everyone can have the experience they want without aggravating other users or answering the same questions over and over again. That is why I offered guidance to the original poster as to how to better ask her question. Hopefully she will take something away here and it will benefit her positively on every other webforum she ever visits.

    While I am not exactly an old hand on this forum, I am / have been a moderator on others, so I feel that I am responding appropriately here.

  • 8 May 2007 whyme said

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    Do not miss Anne Frank house. I don’t know whether it is better to do it on the optional tour… I did it on my own. The line was long, but very worth it. Seeing her house and where she and her family hid from the nazi’s is a moving experience.

  • 8 May 2007 Curtis71 said

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    I have done the Gondola ride and it’s very cool and “Romantic.” I know some people wouldn’t really enjoy it, but if you want to experience part of Venice as it is so romatically depicted in movies and magazines, and stuff, the gondola ride is a good bet.

    I have also seen the glass blowing demonstration, which was also very interesting. Now I happen to be interested in learning about how things in general are made and how they work. It’s amazing to see a molten blob of glass turn into a cat in 2 minutes. Shocking. But if you are more interested in the beauty of the Venetian glass as opposed to how it is made, then perhaps you should skip this part.

  • 8 May 2007 Curtis71 said

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    quote:
    Originally posted by whyme:
    Do not miss Anne Frank house. I don’t know whether it is better to do it on the optional tour… I did it on my own. The line was long, but very worth it. Seeing her house and where she and her family hid from the nazi’s is a moving experience.


    Only problem is that the online ticket purchases are for a ONE HOUR window >.<

    Ones like the Louvre or Van Gogh museum are better because they are good for a span of MONTHS.

    Instant online tickets can be gotten for Anne Frank (1 hr interval) and the Van Gogh museum (several month window). The Louvre’s tickets are also online, but Americans/Canadians must wait 10 days to receive them in the mail. Not sure what the waits are for other regions.

  • 9 May 2007 cdm115 said

    cdm115

    visiting the french perfume house – this isn’t really an optional, just something your TM will take you to

    gondola ride in venice – it’s venice, how do you not do a gondola ride, though they aren’t terribly romantic when you’re on contiki since there are like 6 people on it at a time.

    glass blowing and lace making demonstrations – again, something your TM will take you to. These things usually last 15 minutes are a little interesting, but the stuff to buy is expensive.

    checkpoint charlie museum – not one of the offical optionals. i thought the museum had cool stuff but wasn’t well laid out.

    anne frank’s house – not an optional, but would put it at the top of your list of places to visit.

    van goh museum – again I don’t think this is an optional and i don’t know much about it.

  • 9 May 2007 guitrchik3 said

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    I think everything is a little confused. There are 3 sorts of activities…
    1. optionals, they cost extra. this includes gondola ride, optional dinners, moulin rouge etc. you need to pay extra for all of these and i found them quite worth it.
    2. demonstrations, these are FREE. This includes perfumery, glass making, leather shops and such. these are companies that contiki has a deal with. you go and watch a short demo and then you can purchase the product (sometimes at a discount)i went to most of these just for fun. but if you’d rather do something else, you can skip it. for example, we got into venice at around 11am, the demo was at 2pm, and the coach picked us up at 8pm. so either you could go back to the meeting point and see the demo or you could just go about your day.
    3. museums…things like anne frank’s house and van gogh museum have nothing to do with contiki. you have to find your way there and purchase your own ticket. sometimes the coach would drop us off at a major exhibit (like the louvre) and they would say okay meet here in 3 hours and either you went in or you didn’t.

    i was a little confused by everything at first but once you get into it, it makes sense. let me know if you have any questions!

  • 9 May 2007 guitrchik3 said

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    oh AND don’t buy things in advance…usually you can get a discount for having a large group. our TM found out who wanted to go to the louvre in advance, bought all of our tickets at once, and saved us both time waiting in line and money. also in europe some museums are closed on random days (like tuesdays and holidays weird) so you wouldnt want to buy a ticket and have the place be closed!

  • 10 May 2007 Linda said

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    i’m a bit confused. when contiki lists the “highlights” of the tour:

    All these highlights along with city sightseeing are included in your tour price!

    Pisa: See the Leaning Tower
    Amsterdam: Bicycle tour of the Dutch countryside; See the city by night; Visit a cheese farm & clog maker’s house; Visit a fishing and cheese village
    Vatican City: See St. Peter’s Basilica
    Venice: Murano glass-blowing & Burano lace-making demonstrations; Private motorboat to the historic islands; See Piazza San Marco, Bridge of Sighs, the Doges’ palace & St. Mark’s Square
    Munich: See the Glockenspiel & Marienplatz; Visit a beerhall
    Rome: See Piazza Venezia, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Colosseum & Roman Forum
    Paris: Evening Tour of Illuminations; See the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, the Champs Élysées; Visit a French Perfumery
    Berlin: See the remains of the Berlin Wall, the Tier Garden, the Russian War Memorial, the Brandenberg Gate & the Reichstag Parliament
    Prague: See Hradcany Castle, the Cathedral of St. Vitus, Charles Bridge and Wenceslas Square
    Lucerne: Scenic drive through the Alps; See the Wooden Chapel Bridge; View the Lion Monument
    Florence: Florentine leather craft demonstration; See the Duomo, Basilica Santa Croce, Giotto’s Bell Tower, The Baptistry & Piazza della Signoria; Walking tour with a local guide
    Burgundy: See the Chablis & Burgundy vineyards

    the admission to these places are not actually included? we have to buy them ourselves?

  • 12 May 2007 cdm115 said

    cdm115
    quote:
    Originally posted by Linda:
    i’m a bit confused. when contiki lists the “highlights” of the tour:

    All these highlights along with city sightseeing are included in your tour price!

    Pisa: See the Leaning Tower
    Amsterdam: Bicycle tour of the Dutch countryside; See the city by night; Visit a cheese farm & clog maker’s house; Visit a fishing and cheese village
    Vatican City: See St. Peter’s Basilica
    Venice: Murano glass-blowing & Burano lace-making demonstrations; Private motorboat to the historic islands; See Piazza San Marco, Bridge of Sighs, the Doges’ palace & St. Mark’s Square
    Munich: See the Glockenspiel & Marienplatz; Visit a beerhall
    Rome: See Piazza Venezia, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Colosseum & Roman Forum
    Paris: Evening Tour of Illuminations; See the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, the Champs Élysées; Visit a French Perfumery
    Berlin: See the remains of the Berlin Wall, the Tier Garden, the Russian War Memorial, the Brandenberg Gate & the Reichstag Parliament
    Prague: See Hradcany Castle, the Cathedral of St. Vitus, Charles Bridge and Wenceslas Square
    Lucerne: Scenic drive through the Alps; See the Wooden Chapel Bridge; View the Lion Monument
    Florence: Florentine leather craft demonstration; See the Duomo, Basilica Santa Croce, Giotto’s Bell Tower, The Baptistry & Piazza della Signoria; Walking tour with a local guide
    Burgundy: See the Chablis & Burgundy vineyards

    the admission to these places are not actually included? we have to buy them ourselves?



    contiki has different levels of seeing things. “See” often means a stop at. You stop at the Leaning Tower of Pisa take some pictures, buy cheesy souvenirs, get back on the bus. and then their is seeing things like on the illuminations tour of Paris – you drive by and see the eiffel tower (you may stop and have the option to pay for tickets to go to the top). often times you’ll see things on a bus tour of the city and then have the option to see it on your own time.

    Basically, if it costs extra money, you probably have to pay for it.

    You should check out some travelogues to get a feel for how the tours work, see what types of things people are doing and seeing.

  • 12 May 2007 Roopa said

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    i will be honest..on my tour last year-simply italy, the gondola ride was not at all that i wanted it to be. First of all, the gondolier was hitting on me in front of my husband and there are like 6 other people on it, the water is dirty..has agae on it and it kinda smells funny..i personally thought vegas was better!

  • 12 May 2007 sue123 said

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    Personally, I would skip the lace making demo, as well as the leather demo. Those things are just not worth it. The gondola ride is cool if you get a bunch of people in your boat that you like.

    I think there are 6 people to a gondola. We bought some wine and sang songs because our gondolier doesn’t sing. Definitly a fun itme.

    Speaking of optionals, I know this isn’t listed as an optional, but does anybody know how much it costs to enter Monte Carlo in Nice?

  • 24 May 2008 michellen said

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    I did European Inspration last October and I didn’t do many of the optional excursions. My friend and I choose to do what we wanted to do at out pace. Also, we made some great friends and prefered to have a nice dinner with them than with 40 people…. but everyone is different! This is what I did:
    Skipped ‘Cheese & Clogs’ and went straight to Anne Frank’s House to beat the lines.
    Skipped the Berlin walking tour and wandered around Berlin all day (you can get these rick-shaw type things and the driver will take you around and tell you what everything is- saw everything we wanted to see.
    * Skipped the lunch cruise in Prague and went back up to St Vitus Cathedral for a better look around.
    * Missed the lace thing and went to Doges Palace in Venice (BEAUTIFUL) then to St Marks Basillica. Plus the Gondola ride.
    In Munich we just walked around also.
    We got to Rome early enough for everyone to go into the Colosseum which saved time the next day. Then we walked down to the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon. We skipped the walking tour the next day and went straight to Vatican City. (Don’t worry if you don’t see the Spanish Steps!!!).
    * We also gave the leather thing a miss in Florence and went straight to David.
    Lucerne was beautiful, after seeing the Wooden Chapel Bridge and the Lion Monument we just ‘coffee shop hopped!’.
    Paris… no one went to the perfumery. Everyone went up the Eiffel Tower then went to the Louvre. Then we walked down to Notre Dame. That night we went to the Moulin Rouge which we weren’t going to but we’re glad we did.
    My friend and I didn’t do any of the dinners. The opinions from others on the tour differed.
    I think the optional excursions give you something to do if you don’t know what to do, but if you know where you wanna go and what you wanna see don’t let an optional excursion stop you!!!

  • 24 May 2008 michellen said

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    Laundry???? If it’s a two night stop wash your stuff on night one so they can dry. Turn up the heat in your room while your gone during the day- it’ll dry faster.
    I took a pegless clothline which was great but some of the hotels had coat hangers which was even better. Others we just had to hang clothes off light fixtures, chairs and curtain rods… Don’t laugh but I also brought a travel iron which I used a lot!!!
    Hope that helps!!!

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