Ok so im trying to remember where I left off last time......Greece that’s right. So the night of our last entry we headed out for our Greek evening which started with a shot Ouzo which wasn't too bad then we had a good feed while watching some Greek dancing which was pretty cool especially when they lit the floor on fire and the guy danced around in circles with a table in his mouth!! The next day we woke early to get on the ferry back to Italy – Venice to be more precise. We got on at like 7am and didn't get off until 10:30am the following day. On arrival instead of heading straight into Venice we headed out to Verona to see Juliet’s balcony and yes I’m aware she is fictional but Shakespeare story is said to be somewhat based on two feuding families living in Verona so we went and saw a balcony. The best part about going to Verona was the stop at Sirmione along the way. It’s this gorgeous little town on the end of some peninsula but it was so pretty and had none of the hustle and bustle of many of the other cities we had visited. I added passion fruit and watermelon to my gelato intake.
So on the 12th of June we headed into Venice to check out the city. First up we went to a lace demonstration which was a bit boring then we went to a glass demonstration (Venice is known for its famous glass) where we saw a guy make a glass horse out of a blob which was amazing. Then we went shopping Venetian masks, glass jewelry, clothes and coffee. Venice is a really laid back city and so beautiful I really liked it here. Then in the arvo we headed out on our gondola rides on which I got engaged. Then we headed out for our Venetian dinner which was beautiful – 3 different types of pasta mmm and we got free champas for all the tables cos of the engagement. Today was the first day on contiki that it didn't rain at all – yay!! On request of Re a photo of my beautiful ring has been included.
On the 13th we drove to Vienna, we arrived quite late so just headed into the fan zone to watch the euro cup, Italy vs. Romania ( 1 all) and then saw the start of France vs. Holland, you should have seen all the Dutch fans dressed in their orange kit it was pretty cool.
On the 14th we started the day with a walking tour of the city where we saw the palace that the hops burghs lived and where they still train the Spanish dancing horses – although we didn't get to see any of them. We headed to an Aussie pub for lunch and watched the AFL in the background then headed to a schnaps museum for some tasting – absinth is disgusting! After that we headed to the hops burghs summer palace – yes that’s right they had 2 palaces, this one was a bit further out of the city so there was a huge garden which also had a maze and a labyrinth. After getting back into the city Katie and I went to see Sex and the City finally!! Then back to the hotel for a sleep.
On the 15th we made the trek to Munich. We made two stops along the way one at Mathausen a concentration camp used during WW2 which was quite depressing – the Nazis were very evil people. Then after that we stopped at a cute little town on a lake called Mondsee where scenes of The Sound of Music were filmed. Then we arrived in Munich and our only aim was to get to the Hofbrauhaus for a 1L beer – I managed to find some sushi on the way which made my day! they we enjoyed the German life with beer after beer and watching the drunk Germans in their lederhosen dance around in front of us which was great. The next day we drove back into Austria to hopfgarten, stopping to do some white water rafting along the way which was awesome, it was only a class 3 river so it would have been a bit more exciting if it was a class 4 – more rapids, but it was fringing freezing, the water was like 6 degrees burr. Then we headed into hopfgarten which is just this tiny town with nothing to do so we had a cheese and wine party in our room getting to bed drunk at about 1am. On the 17th we drove to Switzerland stopping in Liechtenstein (Kate I got u a post card). Liechtenstein is this tiny little country on the boarder between Austria and Switzerland, its a principality like Monaco meaning that its run by a prince who is a descendant of the guy who bought the land back in the day. It was a tiny little city though but a very pretty one. From here we continued on to Mount Pilatus in Lucerne, Switzerland. We stayed in a hotel on the mountain itself, and I saw real snow yay! There wasn’t actually much to do on the mountain though so I was glad to head into Lucerne the next day and actually see some of the city. We had a Swiss fondue lunch which tasted like a cheese & vegemite sanga mmm. Then we went and bought Swiss watches, im in love with mine!! Then we headed on a lake cruise which was great the scenery was so beautiful, crystal clear water and snow capped mountains in the background it was so serene. Then we took the cog railway back up the mountain seeing all the cows with the huge bells around their neck along the way. When we got to the top we saw this paragliding guy who was preparing to jump off the mountain and glide thru the hills. It took him ages to set off waiting for the clouds to fade out of the way, but it was cool watching him take off, we thought he was going to smack into the ground at one stage but luckily he didn’t.
On the 19th we drove back in to Germany to stop in St. Goar, as soon as we arrived we jumped on a boat and did a cruise down the river then headed back to the hotel and out to a cellar for a wine tasting. Where we bought some ishwine mmm. Then headed back to the bar for drinks, it was a late night. Followed by an early start with a beer stein demonstration and a wander through the Birkenstock factory then a drive into Amsterdam. We stopped at a cheese and clog factory where we saw a guy make a clog out of a hunk of wood which was cool and then tasted lots of cheese mmmm, and bought some. Then we headed to our hotel got organized then headed into the city. First up we (Katie, Daniel, Brent and myself) stopped at the Grasshopper a coffee shop – a cafe is where you buy coffee and a coffee shop is where u by weed, so when in Amsterdam....we got stoned! Just in time to head to the live sex show which was interesting to say the least – we had to walk through the red light district past all the girls in the windows which was also interesting. After the sex show we headed back to the grasshopper for some more joints then a maccas hit. Then Daniel and I stayed up until 3am doing washing. The next morning we were up a little too late and just missed the bus (I could see it driving off) to go to the bike ride in Edam. So we headed into the city and sent some more shit home then went and got pancakes for lunch. After that Katie, Daniel, tassie, Brent and I decided to get some orange shirts in a farewell to Holland, but we found it was cheaper to get some t-shirts made our self. We got them to say 'suck it up in Amsterdam contiki 2008' – suck it up was Laura our tour guides favorite saying. We had some time to kill while our t-shirts were being made so we headed into the adjacent coffee shop for some white widow. We met the contiki group in time to head out to our dinner in a little fishing village along the coast and then headed out for our canal cruise, our boat broke down so we got our money back but it was still an open bar – yeah baby!! We headed back to the hotel and finished off our splifs before leaving Amsterdam behind the next day and heading back to London through Belgium.
We got into London late – about 6pm and Daniel, Katie, Brooke, nick, tassie, Brent and I headed out for a steak mmm. Then we went back to the London pub for our farewell drinks with the contiki crew. Contiki was over – it was a great experience, a bit rushed but it’s really just an introduction to Europe, we already know where we want to head back to.