Any trip through Europe with Contiki is guaranteed to excite even the dullest of travellers—however I don’t recall signing up for attempted murder? No, that is not a typo. I was tricked. Duped, even. Whilst I may survive today to share this tale with you, let me assure you that my escape from a fatal end was narrow indeed!
It was two weeks into the Trail to Rome trip, and naturally our Trip Manager Lauren had befriended all 53 of us on board the coach, and established herself as a well-trusted advisor. A friend even. Blonde hair, blue eyes and a lovely smile—she was charismatic and as I’ve now come to realise, perhaps an evil genius…
Let me explain:
Following two nights in Vienna and one night in Llibjuana, we were now well on our way through Eastern Europe and en route to Krakow, Poland. A city I was eager to explore, hearing only fantastic reports from previous travellers. We were blessed with a full day in Krakow and like all of our other stops, a list of suggested activities to consider if we wanted to make the most of our time (of course we did).
To date, all of Lauren’s suggestions were nothing short of brilliant. Each day, she helped us to architect the perfect day in each spot. Her advice was invaluable. We trusted her. Though today her suggestions for what to do in Krakow would be more calculated.
“Meeeee!” I squealed keenly with my hand raised high, not unlike Hermione Granger in an attempt to win praise in a Hogwarts teacher’s classroom.To this day I’m still uncertain as to how she coaxed me into involving myself in the unique adventure to come from the get-go… perhaps she did some sort of witchcraft or mind control?
Nevertheless, it was the workings of a clever con artist; to execute her next move as if it were ‘my idea’. I look back and realise it was almost the perfect crime. She continued: “OK then, tomorrow during your free afternoon perhaps you should visit “Lost Souls Escape Room”, and with no hesitation I agreed.
Fast forward 24-hours and I’m walking into “Lost Souls Escape Room”, which you’ll find in the heart of Krakow. Perhaps I should have been a touch more cautious when I heard the name (‘Lost Souls’ doesn’t exactly scream playful and fun does it?), but I was confident this would be just like any other ‘Escape Room’ I’d been to.
There was no solving puzzles or deciphering clues ahead of me. Oh no. This Escape Room did not include a group of us cleverly calculating our next move. Instead, this was a 30-minute intensive RUN FOR YOUR LIFE Escape Room.
The goal is to navigate through 10 different rooms, each hosting a horror-movie-like character put there to just to grab you, scare you silly, TASER you, jump out from closets and other horrifying things. The kicker of it all? IT’S PITCH BLACK!!!
You have just one tiny torch to shine light on the path in front of you and find your way, but that becomes increasingly difficult when the walkways and doors are crazy thin and you have to find hidden keys. That would be hard enough in the dark without having to avoid attacks from these crazed lunatics.
THE END. Nahhhhhh, not really! Let me back off the exaggerated story-telling for a moment and tell you how much fun this experience really was.
The Escape Room was so different, so unique, and so memorable. Among some other experiences in the city, it made Krakow the real highlight for me throughout this epic ‘Trail To Rome’ trip.
I should also point out that the ‘evil genius’ AKA Lauren in the tale above is actually a bloody legend! Words can’t express how excellent she is in her role, nor the impact she has on the whole Contiki experience. So in case she reads this one day—it’s all love, my friend, and I don’t believe you tried to assassinate us.
So, the moral of this story is, do yourself a favour and get to Krakow! Add it to your Eastern Europe travel plans. If not for the notorious Lost Souls Escape Room, then for the many other things to see and do that don’t involve running and screaming for (what feels like) your life.