European Discovery (Winter) » Review by ChristaC
It's hard to capture into words the experiences I had on this trip. It was one of the greatest times of my life and I'll be forever appreciative to our TM Zsofi, our TD Marcin, and my entire tour group for it.
No matter where you came from, Europe was always going to be a different experience. Yes, reading reviews is helpful in choosing the right tour for you, and if you want to label this tour something, it's a taste-tester of all the major sites that mainstream tourists would want to visit (plus other hidden morsels along the way). But one of the best things you can do with these tours is to approach it with little to no preconceptions. Let it sweep you away, teach you things that you never would have thought possible, experience magic in each moment. For example, the food in Germany (Rhineland) wasn't what you might consider the greatest. But you know what? You're in Germany. You're sitting on a land of hundreds of years of significant history. Who cares if the food sucks in your estimation? It's just a matter of different tastes and they've obviously been eating it for longer than we've been alive. You then learn that that food's not to your taste and you don't pick it next time you go out to a restaurant. The next day you're visiting Hofbräuhaus in Munich and it can take you at a minimum of half an hour to find a table among the hundreds that eat there every night, with servers (men and women alike) carrying 8 x 1 litre steins in both hands weaving in and out between everyone, and proceeding to eat a pork knuckle the size of your head after you do find a table (slight exaggeration). A completely different experience.
It's pretty self-explanatory that a tour of 12 days and fitting 8-9 countries in isn't going to be a leisurely stroll in the park. The excitement came from cramming as much action into the days as you could, running in those last minutes to make sure you didn't miss the bus, reading a map for the first time and trying to pronounce the unpronounceable, the smiles of the locals at your funny accents, the puking on the bus after New Year's Eve in Germany (still makes me nauseous thinking about it), the wonder on a little Roman girl's face when she found out I was from Australia (priceless), deliberately getting lost on the canals in Venice. There's all these little moments at the places you visit that adds extra meaning to everything you experience. The optionals are exactly that, optional, so you don't have to feel obliged to do everything. Again, 8-9 countries in 12 days doesn't leave you with a lot of spare time but take on board the things that you do with the group and you're still getting a lot from each place. You can't expect it to be smiles and roses the whole time; you're on board a bus with numerous other people, some with rusty social skills. Take the good and the bad and turn it into one of the best things you ever chose to do.
Review written Jun 2014event 0.3