When we found out that Canadian travel and fashion blogger Karina V had never been to most of Western Europe, two things happened - first, we almost fainted in disbelief, and then we got REALLY excited for her.
In 2016 we sent her on a mission that started in London, ended in Rome and explored France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Italy in between.
Here are all of the highlights from Karina’s Road to Rome:
What was your favourite city and why?
I had no expectations leading up to arriving, so it really blew me away. It was like no other city I have visited before. The beautiful streets, the architecture, the history! I would love to go back!
What was your Road to Rome group like?
By this, I mean that everyone was there for the same reasons, open to experiences, open to meeting new people, and ready to make unforgettable memories! It never felt awkward and everyone became friends very quickly.
Here’s a great example of our group dynamic: on our second day in Paris, one of our Contiki members lost her wallet with her passport and all of her money. We had only known each other for two days, yet everyone was so generous and raised around 200 euro for her to continue her trip.
From that moment on, I think we all became more like family than like friends. No one got left behind in our group. It was not cliquey at all, and six months later we’re still communicating like we left each other yesterday.
What was the best day of the trip?
I think it was our second day in Austrian Tyrol, when we woke up to go mountain biking (which was probably my favourite activity of the tour).
That was followed by Paragliding through the Austrian Alps, and afterwards a lot of the group ventured to a nearby glacier pool. Instead, I opted for a relaxing walk through the small town of Hopftgarten, where we were staying. Later we enjoyed a typical Austrian meal as a group and a few too many schnapps!
All in all a great day!
What surprised you most about this trip?
I was mesmerized by Europe’s charm and history.
It’s just an indescribable feeling to experience first-hand the places that you read about in school books, see in movies, and hear stories about your whole life. It really blew me away!
I was surprised by how much I fell in love with the unique charm of every city.
If you had to describe your trip in 3 words, what would they be?
Beautiful. Action-packed. Unforgettable.
What’s your favourite photo from this trip?
That’s a tough one… we took so many pictures! I think it might have to be a photo from Venice, a city which is beyond photogenic.
If you could do it all over again and could only pack 5 things from your wardrobe, what would they be?
Sneakers that are fashionable as well as functional, sunglasses, shorts, tshirt, little black dress!
What advice do you have for anyone looking to take this trip in 2017?
Do it! Don’t even think twice.
Be open-minded about the experience and the people you’re going to meet. Be present, take in every moment and every bite of delicious food.
You’ll be making memories every second of the way.