European Discovery » Review by RhiMarie
I went on this tour in July/August of 2011, and it was the time of my life. Our tour manager, Joel, and our driver, Mark, really made the trip worthwhile, and even kept us entertained on the loooooooong drives (like from London to Amsterdam, or Lucerne to Paris). Joel had so much information about every place we went to, and was well informed on the locations of everything we needed- ATMs, bathrooms, cheaper restaurants, sights and monoments and museums- we could have asked him almost anything and I feel that he would have known where it is. Mark was great as well- since he knows the roads so well, he even took us on a few shortcuts that really saved us time driving and gave us more for exploring Europe. Even the bus was well equipped for our needs as we went- although a little more room would have been nice!
The pros of this trip were most definitely just how many things we saw and did in the twelve days we had at our dispersal- we visited nine countries, saw almost every monoment and building you see in movies about Europe- the eiffel tower, the arc de triomphe, the louvre, and champs-elysees, the vatican, st. mark's square and cathedral, the colloseum, and so much more that I can't even remember them all! It was amazing. It's hard to imagine just how much we did in less than two weeks, and with driving time included. Another pro of this trip was going alone- and making friends with nearly everyone on our tour, having a great time with all of them, and being able to split off into random groups depending on what we were doing that day. This tour definitely had enough time set into tours and included and optional activities, while also giving us free time to do and spend as we saw fit - for instance, in paris, I was interested in seeing the hotel des invalids, the rodin museum and the catacombs, and I was able to see those by myself where if the tour was set only into the more popular sites, I would have missed those. The included and optional activities gave us all a taste of the cultures of the different countries we went to without being completely overwhelming.
The cons of the trip, for me, are almost entirely out of the hands of Contiki and our tour manager/driver, such as the long periods of driving between locations, the incredibly awful breakfasts especially in Italy (which usually came down to three choices- espresso, corn flakes, or raw bread with jam.), the insane heat (again, especially in Italy, in late summer), and the "contiki cough" that spread through our group like wildfire (home for a week, and I still can't stop coughing).
overall, this trip was the time of my life and I am already planning my next contiki excursion!!
Review written Aug 2011event 0.3