From London to Paris!!!
Now that I've explained why Contiki, let's talk about the amazing 10 day venture. So that you don't have to do too much reading ... and I don't have to do too much writing... I've decided to split the blog into two parts!
The tour started off in London and ended in Paris, making stops along the way to: Amsterdam, Rhine Valley, St. Goar, Munich, Venice, Innsbruck and Lucerne. As mentioned this was a Discovery tour, which means that the tour is designed to go at a quick pace. It's important to remember that while you're given some time to explore each location, there isn't much time to do so. On a Discovery tour, you'll get a "taste" of each location. Generally, we spent 1-2 days in each city and of course that is not nearly enough time to explore. The tours are a great primer for what to see and do, so that when you go back (and trust me you'll want to go back) you're comfortable with navigating each destination. The pace of the tour is just something to keep in mind when choosing the Contiki tour that's right for you.
So let's start at the beginning. The tour started off in London and we were giving an opportunity to meet our tour guide and driver, along with the other travellers, in the Contiki Basement. The Basement is a cool lounge, with great staff and information about each tour. The following day we arrived back at the Contiki Basement, where we meet up with our group and departed for a ferry ride across the English Channel into France. I had spent some time in London two years prior, so when I arrived there wasn't much of London that I wanted to see that I hadn't already seen. Although, I did spend some time shopping and meeting up with friends while I was there. The real excitement for me was seeing all of the other locations. Which takes me to our first stop: Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Amsterdam is an interesting city... to say the least! Infamously known for it's Red Light District, legalization of Marijuana, and love of bikes-- Amsterdam is definitely one of the more liberal cities I've ever visited! As a group we toured the Red Light District and talked about Amsterdam's unique legal system. I really enjoyed how clean and beautiful the city was, with it's numerous canals and bike paths, if you're not careful when walking you'll either get hit by a bike or fall into a canal!
Rhine Valley, St. Goar, Munich
The next few stops took us over to Germany where we visited the Rhine Valley in St. Goar and Munich. As to be expected, Germany brought the beer and the pretzels. Our first stop was in the beautiful vineyard town of St. Goar in the Rhine Valley. With it's rolling hills, the drive through Rhine Valley was very picturesque. Every other hilltop was home to a beautiful castle. Rhine Valley is also known for its' wines and wine vineyards. So it's definitely worth making a stop to try the ice wine!
Anyone who knows me, knows that I absolutely cannot ride a bicycle, so I decided not to participate in the Me Time Optional Bike Tour of Munich. Instead, I took a walk and explored the streets of Munich, along the way I may have stopped for a drink, or two! Munich was a beautiful city to explore because of all of it's old world architecture. And I wouldn't be a good German if I didn't have a beer. When in Munich check out Hofbraughaus. Hofbraughaus is a 16th Century beer hall and restaurant with a cool, authentic vibe that makes you feel apart of German culture.