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LA to the Bay April 18-28 2012?

5 Aug 2011 lou_85 asked


My friend and I are booking this trip and were wondering if anyone else has booked or is thinking of booking? I know it's a while away but I like to be prepared in advance!!

  • Read the responses 111 responses so far
  • 23 Aug 2011 Michael said


    They’re cable cars!
    And don’t forget, if you ever go to subway over there and ask for capsicum they’ll look at you funny and wonder what the hell you just asked for, they’re bell peppers..Learnt that one pretty quick lol.
    Ohh wow! It’s like 20 here, are you doing anything after the tour, or flying straight back home?

  • 17 Nov 2011 lou_85 said


    So now I’m doing it alone – my friend can’t come anymore… Has anyone else out there booked this tour yet? :)

  • 7 Dec 2011 Stuart_RG said


    I’m about to book the tour some time later today or the weekend; really looking forward to heading to america next year. I haven’t noticed any others posting about the tour yet though :(

  • 7 Dec 2011 lou_85 said


    Mikey – so sorry I didn’t reply – I didn’t realise it went onto 2 pages and I just thought you’d never responded!. Good thing I don’t like capsicum/bell peppers then! And I’m heading to NY for a week and Niagara Falls then off to some bits of Europe!.

    Stuart RG – hip hip hooray for a reply! I thought I was going to be the only one going! I’m so excited to have company – I know, I scroll every day to see if there are any others out there!. Have you been to the US before?

  • 7 Dec 2011 Stuart_RG said


    Hi Lou,

    I’m sure there’ll be others coming along soon; the thread on the central european tour I went on a couple of years ago got busier about a couple of months before the tour started.

    I’ve been to the US before a few years ago; where I did LA, san diego, vegas, new orleans, lafayette (cajun louisiana) and washington dc. It was a while ago though and I’ve have been looking forward to going back to see other parts and catching up with a few friends currently living there. Have you been to america before? Do you know anyone living there?

  • 7 Dec 2011 lou_85 said


    Hi Stuart,

    I know! – I just got a bit worried when my friend couldn’t come and I’m the kind of person who needs to book in advance and have everything set. Is that the only other Contiki tour you’ve done?

    I haven’t been to America before, no, I’m really looking forward to it, I’ll be in LA for 4 days prior to the tour and am going to do all the touristy things like Disneyland and Universal Studios. And no I don’t know anyone living there however a good friend of mine’s brother and his wife live there but I’ve never met them, I think they live somewhere north of San Fran.

    Are you staying longer or going over earlier to see your friends?

  • 8 Dec 2011 Stuart_RG said


    Hi Lou,

    You should have a lot of fun at Disneyland – I was there on my first day in America and I think I’ve still got a mickey mouse doll lying around somewhere. This time though I’m only going to be in LA to head to other parts of the country.

    I’ve only been on the one Contiki so far in Europe – about 8-9 days between eastern Germany, Czech Republic and Austria, and thought the experience was really good. My brother was living in Paris at the time so I had a few days there and a few days backpacking on my own around Salzburg and Munich after the tour.

    I’ll be on the east coast for three weeks before heading to LA for the start of the Contiki tour and then have a couple of extra days in San Francisco after the tour before coming home. I’m planning to meet up with a couple of Aussie friends in San Francisco and a couple of American friends in Virginia along the way.

    Have you been on any other Contiki tours before?

  • 8 Dec 2011 lou_85 said


    I really want to go on the spinning tea cups – I don’t think I’m too old?!. I’ve been to Germany and Austria before but not Czech, I’m going to head there next year though, my friend’s husband comes from there and he’s been giving me a few tips!.

    I’m just doing one night in San Fran after the tour then over to NY for a week, hopefully a friend might be able to meet me there!.

    I did another Contiki about 5 years ago, I think 2006 in Europe, the European Vista. It was great, 4 of my best friends have come out of that trip!.

  • 9 Dec 2011 Stuart_RG said


    Hi Lou
    Prague was wonderful – it snowed while I was there and I remember all the rooftops and the Charles Bridge being dusted with white powder.

    My favourite rides from Disneyland were probably Space Mountain and Splash Mountain, and if you get the chance to go to California Adventure Park, the big Wooden Rollercoaster and the rafting down the rapids were my picks there. I’m not sure that anyone is ever too old for the tea cups, though it depends on how hard you turn the centre wheel.

    I’m also spending a couple day in San Francisco after the tour, then heading back to LA to head home. I’m also doing a week in New York and about 12 days on the road between Boston and south-east Virginia before the tour.

    I’ve bumped into one of the girls from the last tour a couple of times on Friday after work drinks in Sydney a while ago but other than that I haven’t spoken to anyone else from the tour (though it was only a brief tour).

  • 9 Dec 2011 lou_85 said


    I’m really looking forward to it (hopefully time flies), did you use Euro’s or the Koruna? I’ve heard they accept both?. I’m doing sort of a 3 night package which will take me on a city tour and to cesky krumlov.

    Did you go to Disneyland alone or with people? I’m a tad worried about being alone? As in on rides etc. I know I’ll still enjoy it but not to the same extent as I would with people. I think the ticket I’m getting includes the adventure park as well, I’m not sure, I’ve got most things pre booked and I have things organised everywhere…!.

    I thought about going to Boston but in the end chose Niagara Falls, it just worked out better for flights & accommodation etc, I’d love to visit the Southern states too – New Orleans, Louisiana etc, too many places to see!.

    Yeah, I have most of the people from my tour on facebook but I only speak to the 4 close ones now. They live in another state from me, I did live near them for 4 years but moved home to save for my travelling next year.

  • 10 Dec 2011 Stuart_RG said


    Hi Lou,

    I used koruna in Czech Republic; most stores there won’t accept euros, except those really close to the German/Austrian border. Don’t load up on the currency though, as it isn’t useful elsewhere, and the storekeepers aren’t particularly happy if you give them a 1000 or more koruna note. They don’t like big notes for some reason, but the ATM’s there still spit them out.

    I didn’t get a chance to visit Cesky Krumlov, though from what I remember reading at the time it’s well worth the visit. The Contiki trip did however take us through Kutna Hora, which was a small town that had a chapel decorated with human bones.

    I did Disneyland in a group – the main advantage was that some had been before, so they knew what was worth lining up for and what to miss. We were there for three days so we weren’t particularly rushed. Not sure from personal experience in travelling solo through Disneyland but I would imagine it would still be pretty fun. For one day, you would probably want to spend it at the main park, though California Adventure Park was handy due to the much shorter queues for rides (about 2-4 mins max for the big wooden roller coaster vs about 45 mins for Splash Mountain).

    I’m disappointed I didn’t have a couple of extra days to go to Niagara Falls, though it’ll be at the top of my list the next time I head to America/Canada.

    Where else were you planning to head in Europe?

  • 11 Dec 2011 lou_85 said


    Thanks Stuart – I thought I might need have to get the koruna, just another currency I’m going to need! I’ll really only need it for food, tips and some souvenirs, I’m only there for 3 days so hopefully I won’t need too much – will try to get some small notes before I go (I work next door to a travel agent that has a travelex/cash passport place).

    I hope it will be worth it – it looks like a big day from the centre of Prague – I think the trip is 8-10 hours. I don’t think I’ll be too upset missing out on Kutna Hora then – there are some strange sights to see, but I suppose you get that everywhere.

    I’ve got 2 days – well 1 and a half for Disneyland, I think that’ll be enough as I’m not really that good with rides and I’ll want to see everything so I’ll prob just end up walking and looking at everything (well what I can!), I’ll get a park map and plan it on the plane over maybe, I fly into LA really early so once I get to the hotel I’ll be dropping my bags off straight away and heading to Disney.

    I’m looking forward to the falls – that was one of my must see’s along with the grand canyon and I wanted to see mount rushmore but that will have to wait til next time.

    After the US I’m off on another contiki from Rome down to Greece, then Salzburg for a week (I am a HUGE Sound of Music fan) and then Prague and on to the UK. I really wanted to go to Spain as well but I’ll see how it all goes!.

    How long will you be in the US for all up?

  • 13 Dec 2011 Stuart_RG said


    Hi Lou,

    One to two days at Disneyland should be ideal if you know what you’re looking for. I think they still do fireworks and parades nightly at the park, so it’s definitely sticking around until late at least one of the nights if you’re staying close by – though maybe not the first night if you’re still feeling tired from the flight.

    Were you planning to stay inside/near the park in Anaheim, or elsewhere in LA? I stayed at one of the hotels just outside the park near the Denny’s and McDonald’s.

    I’m also really looking forward to the Grand Canyon. A mate of mine went to Mount Rushmore earlier this year which he said was well worth going to see. Unfortunately it’s not close to anywhere else that I’ll be going on my trip; probably best saved for a mid-west road trip.

    I’ll be in the US for a bit over a month, staring in late March and finishing just after the tour at the end of April.

    Salzburg was amazing – I was lucky in that it snowed the night before and had a perfect blue sky the next day at the top of the fort. I didn’t see any nuns, but I walked up another hill and accidently bumped into a monastery and spoke to a couple of friendly monks who were out in the gardens.

    I didn’t get as far south as the Mediterranean, but it’s definitely on the cards next time. I might wait for a time other than winter to go though.

  • 13 Dec 2011 lou_85 said


    Hi Stuart,

    I’ve been looking at the Disney website and trying to work out what I really want to see so I can maximise my time there, there’s too much to choose from!. I’m staying just opposite the park, there’s a whole bunch of hotels together and I think my travel agent did mention Denny’s but I can’t remember the name of it, I just know it’s about a 5 minute walk to the entrance of Disneyland. I’m staying there for 2 nights then checking in to the Kyoto for the 2 nights pre tour and doing Universal Studios and a star’s homes tour etc – looking forward to seeing the Hollywood sign too!.

    I think the Grand Canyon will just be awesome – I’ve had a look at the optionals and I’m going to do the hot air balloon ride but not the helicopter flight, but now I’ve said that I’m not too sure if both those options are at the canyon? I think they are.

    I’ve wanted to go to Salzburg forever – I’ve been to Vienna and driven through parts of Austria but Salzburg will just be brilliant, I will be trying to find some nuns – surely I can in 6 days! If not I’ll just roam around acting and singing out parts of the movie, I’m sure plenty of tourists already do that anyways so I won’t look too weird!.

    I’m really looking forward to the Greek Islands – I just hope it won’t be too hot, I think it’ll be ok, I’m there just before summer – if it is hot I’ll just stay in the water :)

  • 18 Dec 2011 Stuart_RG said


    Hi Lou,

    I’ve had a quick look and it looks like the hot air balloon is only over Phoenix and surrounding desert while the helicopter ride is over the Grand Canyon. I think the view early in the morning on the hot air balloon ride would be stunning; it mentioned something about a champagne breakfast as well. I’m weighing up the possibility of doing a helicopter flight over New York City instead of the one over the Canyon. I think there is also an optional helicopter flight over Las Vegas as well, though I’ve been to the top of the Stratosphere Tower before and I imagine that view from the helicopter would probably be similar.

    I’m probably going to book into the Kyoto as well, judging by the start time the next morning, though I don’t arrive in Los Angeles from the east coast until late on the night before the tour. I would predict that most would stay either at the Kyoto or very close by.

    I remember eating at the Denny’s across the street from Disneyland on my first night in America. It’s nothing particularly fancy, but it’s worth going to at least once on a trip to the America for the cultural experience. It’s also worthwhile doing the walk down Hollywood Boulevard, especially by the square in front of the Chinese Theatre.

    I wish I had longer to stay in Salzburg; I was only there for one day and one night. There is a cathedral in Salzburg though, so there should be some nuns in and around the city. Were you planning to head anywhere else in Austria other than Vienna & Salzburg?

  • 29 Dec 2011 lou_85 said


    Hi Stuart,

    I must of gotten confused between the two – The view will still be great wherever the balloon is. I don’t know if I can jusify the money for a 15-20 minute flight, I think I might just wait and see how I feel when we actually have to decide – and pay.

    I wanted to stay at the Kyoto so I didn’t have to worry about getting up as early and walking or getting a taxi there – I know from my last tour that if you weren’t there on time they’d go without you, not that that happened to me thank god!.

    Yeah, I’m looking at doing a star homes tour that includes the blvd and the stars on the ground – they’re all along that strip near the chinese theatre aren’t they?.

    At the moment I’m not planning on going anywhere other than Salzburg! I’ve been to Vienna before and while I know Austria is beautiful this is going to be the relaxing part of my holiday – If I don’t want to do something or go somewhere I don’t have to! I’ve only got a half day tour booked and that’s it for the 6 days.

    Less than 4 months to go now! I can’t wait :)

  • 3 Jan 2012 Stuart_RG said


    Hi Lou

    I was a bit lucky on the previous tour of Europe that we met up late in the afternoon and were staying in the same city that night. A handful of people turned up during the briefing but it really didn’t make much of a difference on that occasion. I’ve booked a place in downtown LA that’s a couple of Metro stations away and a bit cheaper than the Kyoto. I’m hoping that the balloon ride goes but it would probably be very early in the morning.

    There are stars all along Hollywood Boulevard, the square in front of the Chinese Theatre is where the celebrity hand and foot prints are in the concrete slabs. There is also a walkway that offers a clear view of the Hollywood sign, I think from memory it’s near the Kodak Theatre.

    I’ve been running though the plan on the east coast this week while my work is having its annual close period with respect to the car and some of the driving legs. I’m hoping the drive through Manhattan isn’t as bad as it’s made out to be – one of my friends said that New Yorkers are very quick on the horns.

    Salzburg is a beautiful place, hopefully you get a clear day in that time to walk up to the top of the fort or go on a day trip out to the alps. Was there anything else that you were keen to visit while in Austria?

    My three month to go mark ticked over just before new years, I’m also getting pretty excited.

  • 3 Jan 2012 lou_85 said


    Hi Stuart,

    The other contiki I did was the same as this – meeting the night before and a really early start. I should be over my jetlag by then so hopefully I’ll be on the US time. I did look at other hotels but in the end the Kyoto was just easier! and one less thing I had to worry about. I’m doing the balloon ride – it better not be cloudy!.

    Thanks! I wonder if you can look up where certain stars are? I might google it so I don’t spend all day walking up and down, I think I might just book a tour that takes me there and shows me everything. Still trying to work it all out!. I’d love it if there was a movie premiere when I was there… I’ll be trying to spot some stars.

    I didn’t realise you were going to be driving? I thought your US friends were showing you around – how scary! I wouldn’t do it – but if they’re on their horns then I would be too!. When do you leave AUS?.

    It’ll be coming to summer so fingers crossed for great weather the whole time! I’m planning on spending the first 2 days doing nothing at all then I’ve got one half day tour and then I’ll just go walk about in the city, I want to take in all of the views and the city and the cafes etc and they’ll also have a Sound of Music exhibition on when I’m there so I’ll be seeing that too. The rest of my trip is pretty go go go so this part won’t be so much.

    I’ve got a countdown on my calendar at home – haven’t done the work one yet… waiting til it’s in the double digits and not triple, it’ll make it go faster! :)

  • 4 Jan 2012 Stuart_RG said


    Hi Lou

    I had a quick look and there are a couple of star guides on the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce website and Wikipedia which show the block/address where each star is located. There are also a dense bunch in front of the Chinese Theatre.

    I remember someone pointing out a random B-list TV celebrity that I hadn’t heard of in a shop in the historic part of LA; she was on a TV drama show that aired when I got back to my hotel room that night, though I’ve since forgotten her name. Apart from events on Hollywood Boulevard, you might also spot a celeb around the boutique shops of Rodeo Drive.

    I’m doing a road trip from Philadelphia through Pennsylvania Amish Country and Gettysburg to Washington DC for a few days, then through Charlottesville and Jamestown in southern Virginia and back up through the eastern shore of Virginia towards Chincoteague over a couple of days, then up to Atlantic City and Toms River in New Jersey for 2-3 days before finishing with the car upon arriving in New York, though I might rent one to drive to Plymouth and Cape Cod while I’m in Boston. Most of my trip will be pretty full on as well, except for the day I drop the car off in New York and the day that I fly into Los Angeles before the tour starts.

    I’m meeting up with a couple of US people while in the DC metro area (plus a couple of Aussies in San Francisco after the tour) and I’m staying in backpacker accommodation in both Washington and New York, so I’m hoping to meet people while I’m there.

    Although I wasn’t specifically looking, I don’t actually remember seeing anything connected to the Sound of Music while in Salzburg. One of the guides I spoke to said that the Salzburg people don’t associate with the musical in the same way that they associate with Mozart. In the town itself, there is heaps more touristy stuff connected to Mozart, though I think that the Sound of Music scenes were not solely from the town itself, but the local area too.

    I leave Australia and arrive in the US in late March, so I’ll have been there for almost 3 weeks before the tour, but I’m still pretty excited about doing the tour as well.

  • 4 Jan 2012 lou_85 said


    Hi Stuart,

    I’m just about to go and have a look at those websites now, there’s only one I really want to see so I don’t mind where it is (as I’m typing this I’ve just found it! google map printed too!).

    She must have been a good actress then! ha ha. I’ll be keeping my eye out – will only really have one day to ‘star spot’ though, then maybe I’ll see someone in NY too.

    I’d love to be able to road trip – I looked at doing the grand northern and southern trips so I could get a good look at the country but it was a bit too long for my plans. I’ll have to come back to have a look at the southern states sometime. I wanted to go to Boston from NY but I thought it was a bit much for a day trip. I’d love to see Amish country too – it seems so interesting for a ‘modern’ society to still be living that way.

    From what I’ve seen/read on the internet most Austrians haven’t seen the movie but I’ve got a print out/list of movie locations so I’ll be checking the ones in the city out and then my tour will take me to the areas outside the city. I remember all of the Mozart memoribilia etc from Vienna – on my tour we saw a concert but I don’t think I’ll do that again while I’m there.

    So technically you can say its 2 months til you go!.

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