From London to Paris in 10 Days!! Part TWO
Part Two in the 'Life After Articling' series will take us across the rolling hills in Innsbruck, Venice, Lucerne and Paris.
Anyone who knows me is well aware of my love for mountains. If you've ever wanted to see and experience God's work, stare at a mountain and just imagine how it came to be. I admit that it sounds corny, but if you just imagine for a second how expansive mountains are, you cannot help but be in awe of their beauty. A few years ago, I finally got to see the beautiful mountains on the West Coast of Canada in Vancouver, British Columbia. All I could do in that moment was stand and stare. I had a similar experience journeying though Innsbruck, Venice and Lucerne.
The hills are alive in Innsbruck, Austria. Our stop in Austria was a quick! But, gave me just enough time to enjoy the beauty and scenery that was all around. Austria is well known for the file, "The Sound of Music"; and much like the film, Innsbruck was a beautiful picture. Because we only spent an afternoon in the ski-town, all I really had time for was lunch, shopping (of course), and being in awe of the Alps!
Our next destination brought us to Venice. Venice, Italy was the one destination that I was most excited about seeing. For some time now, I had dreamed of going to Itally and was actually hoping to spend a considerable amount of time in Italy this past summer. That of course didn't happen, but I did have an opportunity to see and explore all that Venice had to offer. Venice is built on more than 100 small islands in the Adriatic Sea. The beautiful, bustling city is filled with bridges, canals and stunning architecture. It's very hard to get lost in this city as the entire city is contained on these Islands. All you have to do is follow the signs and it'll lead you back to St. Mark's Square and you'll be fine. Once our tour guide told us this, I was off! There's are a number of restaurants, cafe's, shops and gelato to be had while visiting this island. I spent some time eating and shopping (obviously!) and chilling on a gondola riding though the canals. This was easily my favourite and most peaceful stop on the tour.
After two days in Italy, we then made our way over to Lucerne, Switzerland to spend sometime with the Swiss Alps. Similar to Innsbruck, Lucerne is a beautiful picture. Upon our arrival, we took a cable car up Mount Stanserhorn and spent some time checking out the views while enjoying a Swiss beverage. I'm not much of a drinker, but I'm most definitely afraid of heights, so I a needed a drink to clam my nerves. The view atop Mount Stanserhorn was breathtaking (it's the cover photo for this blog), I've never been more in awe of a landscape in my life. It's crazy to think that these places exist when I've been so used to growing up and living in a concrete jungle. High-rises are great, but there's something magical about the beauty of a mountain. Later that evening, we took a boat tour on Lake Lucerne and watched the sunset. Because we arrived in Lucerne later in the day, we were unable to take full advantage of the all that the city had to offer. I was a little disappointed, but I did get to taste Swiss chocolates, so I guess that makes up for it! Switzerland is definitely a place I would love to return to someday!
It's important to remember when booking your Contiki tour that certain circumstances can arise. Traffic, boarder delays, etc. are all things that may come up that are beyond your tour guide or driver's control. It's important to keep these things in mind when choosing Contiki, delays arise, so chill... you're on vacation!
After getting my mountain fix, our final destination brought us to the beautiful city of Paris. Maybe it's become I'm a helpless romantic, but I definitely got the 'City of Love' vibe from Paris. Even as a solo traveler, there was something very romantic about my Parisian experience. We arrived in the evening, so it was the perfect time to take a tour of the city by night. We saw all of the beautiful and most notable sites, and made it in time to see the Eiffel Tower glitter at the top of the hour. The following day we had the entire day to ourselves to explore Paris. I spent some time shopping (naturally) along the Champs D'elysee, after which I ended up at the Musee de Louvre. I enjoy art a great deal, so it was a nice way to fill up the afternoon after shopping. I chilled with Mona Lisa and some of the other stunning paintings at the Louvre. Dare I say it, but she's not the most stunning painting in the room... but she is the most famous, so it only felt right that I went to see it! The Louvre is MASSIVE; I was only able to complete about one section of the museum in an afternoon. If you are spending more time in Paris, I would recommend devoting an entire day to hanging out at the Louvre. This way you could maximize your time and see all that the museum has to offer.
After my time at the Louvre, I did the most Parisian thing I could think of I had lunch in the park. Earlier in the morning, I had stopped by Laduree (a world famous French bakery that is known for their delicious, melt in your mouth macaroon) to pick up some of these well-talked about macaroons. So, with my baguette, wine, and macaroons, I rounded out my afternoon by sitting in the park while writing and people watching. Even though I was alone in that moment, there was something very sobering an peaceful about sitting in a park in Paris just kicking it. After years of never wanted to travel and explore the world, I became an overnight tourist taking one of the most remarkable, memorable journeys of my life. I made friends and had experiences that only those in the travel community can share.
After Paris the tour group parted ways and I headed back to London for a final day of ... SHOPPING and hanging out with friends!
I hope you've enjoyed just a little taste of my European adventure, more importantly, thank you for journeying with me! But, we're not quite done! In the last and final instalment of this series, I will share with you some much needed tips for the solo traveler! Stay tuned!