European Panorama 2005

Friday, July 29, 2005

Its all done!!

Hello,

Just thought i'd use this spot to introduce myself as well as my blog here. My name is Michelle and I am 25 years old from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. This summer was my first time overseas and i had a blast. I took the 28 day European Panorama tour from June 16 to July 13. My tour manager was Amy Pomeroy and our driver was Spoodge. There were 50 people on our tour: 23 australians, 17 canadians, 7 americans, 2 mexicans and 1 new zealander. It was honestly the best thing i have ever done, and i can't wait to go on another tour next year. If there are any of you out there trying to decide whether to do a tour or not, go for it i promise you, you will not regret it. I'll be the best thing you've ever done. Have fun reading and i hope it helps answer some of your questions about what happens on these tours.

Michelle (Cheers mate eh!!)

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Contiki Day 28

Contiki Day 28Wednesday July 13, 2005 Well not only was this the last day ever of our tour and the day i was flying home, but i also felt like a train had run over me. As if feeling depressed wasn't enough i had to be horribly sick. But anyways i made my way out of bed and to breakfast. I tried my best to eat, but my throat hurt too much and i just didn't have an appatite. Needless to say breakfast was very quiet and down. Even as we waited for the bus not many people were chatting. On the bus we finally had the audio back, so for one final time Amy played our day song. Oddly enough i expected people to either sing to start crying, neither really happened. I think everyone was hung over from the night before. Amy gave her little good bye speach than told us to do our good byes on the bus cause we woudln't have time at the airport. See what was different about this tour is half the group (almost all of the Canadians and Americans...while the Australians stayed) left here in Amsterdam instead of going back to London. Needless to say neither Amy or Spoodge liked this because they're used to having everyone go back to London than having one final night in the pub (but even that didn't turn out in end cause Spoodge left them in France...he didn't go to London, and Amy ended up finding out her next tour was the next day...so she coudln't go out either that night). So as we arrived at the airport everyone got really quiet. Most of the people came off the bus to give their good-byes to us who were leaving, and that's when it all started going downhill. I went around getting my hugs and saying my good-byes. But it wasn't till the bus drove away and everyone waved till i almost started crying. The next 4 hours in the airport were spent with me walking around all the time so as not to cry. Even on the plane i kept almost crying. This was so much harder than i ever expected. I arrived home safe and sound, but it just wasn't the same. I loved seeing everyone, but missed the tour and the people so much. Even as i type this out all the memories flood me and i'm almost in tears, not to mention some show about Napoleon is showing right now.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Contiki Day 27



Contiki Day 27

Monday July 12, 2003

Oh no we've made it to our last day on the trip, i don't know how i'm going to do this. I had the worst feeling when i woke up and knew it was going to be like this for quite some time. Well i made my way to breakfast but couldn't eat much. We than were on a shuttle bus (cause for some strange reason Spoodge had a day off, maybe because he was going straight to another tour...wish i could do the same) into town. First stop was a diamond factory, but because Melanie really wanted to get her luggage we skipped this and made our way to find some luggage. Amy told us to look in the markets, but i didn't really feel comfortable with her buying luggage there. So i went into a shop and asked where i could find a luggage store. After some searching we found it, and Melanie finally had her luggage. We than ventured off to find me a handbag. This was easier than i thought, cause the first store i walked in i fell in love with this light blue one. So Melanie had her luggage and i had my handbag. Next stop ended up being an internet cafe, where we stayed for an hour. After this we attempted to find Anne Franks house, but because of the line up we gave up there and went for some lunch. After lunch i still had to find a box to put Spoodges present in, so i went looking for this. I didn't find what i wanted but settled with something else and got a little bag and tissue paper. We than made our way back to the hotel to sort our things out before our final dinner and cruise. I wrapped Spoodges present and organized my suitcase. It was nice to know we were all packed even before dinner, it was very relaxing. We made our way to dinner, where it wasn't as festive as i thought it would be. Than the cruise and the same thing, it was more people talking than actually partying. Maybe they were saving this for the bar that night. We got back and everyone made their way to the bar. The fact that it was a sauna mixed with smoke deterred me from going in and i went to bed. I'm just too depressed to party...oh i wish it was just starting.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Contiki Day 26


Contiki Day 26

Monday July 11, 2005

Another horrible/sad day. Today was going to be our final day on the bus (well travel day at least). We left the Rhine Valley and headed to Amsterdame. Yet another day without audio (no music, no Amy). Along the way we stopped in a little village called Edam, where we walked to a bike shop. After some instructions and no being silly, we hopped on some bikes and like the locals made our way through the village. It was really nice being on a bike, but i'm sure my butt will not agree later on. After the ride, we got a quick talk from Amy about tips and how much we shout tip her. It was interesting to see the looks on some peoples faces when they were told they'd have to pay both Amy and Spoodge 56 euros EACH. Like many people have even 100 to give away after a month in Europe. Either i had paid them so all was well. Back on the bus to our cheese and clog demo. The place where they made the cheese smelled so bad i thought i was going to die. Luckily it did not last very long and we were taken to clogs. This was quite boring but the guy who did the demo was funny so it evened it out. We were soon on our way to the hotel, and after less than 5 minutes we had arrived. After lugging our luggage up a flight of stairs, i made it to our room only to find Asian guys walking around in the underwear and screaming in the opened-doored rooms. This didn't last long cause soon Amy came upstairs and told them off. Boy i wish i could be like her sometimes. We didn't have much time before we had to meet with Amy for our final evaluations. I didn't feel like filling it out in front of everyone so i left with Melanie and we did it in our room. After this was dinner, than a nice evening in the city of Amsterdam. Alright we arrived in the central part and i was terrified beyond words. I thought i was either going to be attacked or abducted. I was so scared that i didn't move anywhere far from Amy. I'm not sure why i thought she would save me, but at the time i did. We took a walk through the red light district to our very excited live sex show. This turned out to be an experience in a half, but i was glad i'd done it. We than had a little free time, but because i was still so scared i just stayed with Amy. I'm sure she must have thought i was insane, but i was terrified. I certainly was glad to be back at the hotel, i sure felt safe there. I even felt safe enough to walk around the little village by myself that late evening before making my way to bed.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Contiki Day 25


Contiki Day 25

Sunday July 10, 2005

According to most people today was the longest bus riding day by far, but according to me it was just fine. I'm used to long rides without stops so i'm good on the bus. Some of the reasons people those this, was because they had been drinking the night before and because there was no music on the bus (apparently the audio was broken). On the plus side everyone liked the fact that no one was ever woken up by Amy on the microphone giving history lessons. So a rather quiet bus ride there, even in the front Spoodge wasn't as entertaining like he normally is. The only downfall to this no music thing is that the people in the middle of the bus got Amy's instructions twice cause she made them once in the front than again towards the middle, but at least you could not listen once and still get it the second time round. We did our stop in a little town, for a beer stein demo than later a wine tasting optional. I chose to do neither of these and took a little walk around the rivers edge. Here i found some flags of various countries and of course had to take pictures of each one, some were definately easier than others. A little while later i found some others (Kelly (aus) and Karim (nz)) sitting on the grass so i joined them. We waited till we had to meet the group for our cruise, than made our way to the meeting spot. After a little wait for some others we made our way to the boat. At first i started upstairs, but that got boring so i went down to find Shelly and Kelly (can), Yvonne (us) and Megan (aus) they were chatting and having some drinks. I joined them and we had a blast trying to figure out a way to win one of Shelly's shot glasses. Of course we didn't have enough time for time, but it was fun either way. We got off the boat and made our way back on the coach to find out hotel. A little while later we were in our hotel going crazy and screaming every second word (still not sure why we were so hyper), but we had fun. We than went to dinner, but i didn't like it so i left (though Amy was really worried not sure why though) to find some other food. I didn't find anything so i went to my room and took a shower. I was really tired i guess cause i soon fell asleep after this. Just i needed to rest up for our final days in Amsterdam.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Contiki Day 24


Contiki Day 24

Sunday July 9, 2005

I woke up to a nice sleep in and in a very excited mood. I can't wait to be on the mountain exploring. We had some breakfast than off to catch a bus which will take us to the mountain. First we had a stop at the market we tried to find last night (oh it would have been great if Amy had told us we would have gone here this morning instead of telling us to buy food last night). Since i had tons of food i just sat and waited for the rest of everyone else. Though while waiting i got bored and headed to the post office to buy a postcard and a stamp. I ended up with this postcard which was swiss stickers, this will be used for my scrapbooking. We were later on the bus and off to the mountain. After we arrived at the mountain, we had to take a cable car thing to get up to the top. I ended up in a car with Theresa, Kelly and Amy. This was good cause i had some questions for Amy and it's always nice to get to know her better. After awhile we arrived at the top and i was so excited to start exploring. I decided to climb to the peak, which was easier than i would have thought. It was so pretty up there and my excitement made the fog no issue. But it was kinda sad that you really couldn't see anything. Though i thought just being there was awesome. After about an hour, and being attacked by some birds as i ate i went down to explore some more. Melanie felt horrible so she stayed back as i went exploring. The entire time there i walked up every single step i could find and ventured into every single cave along the way. By the time i got back everyone was tired and ready to go back, i on the other had wished i had 3 days to be there. But i had my fun so all was well. Back down the train thing with some awesome views to our not so fun cruise, than back on the bus. I was very confused when Amy just abandonned us after the bus, but i made my way with Melanie back to the hotel to wait for dinner. After dinner i was cohearsed into going to the bar that night, which turned out super fun. As we walked there Rob (the only guy with like 11 girls) stopped at an ATM so that people could take out money. Than for some strange reason he started imitating Amy, it was really funny. He was pointing out the sights while turning in a circle, telling us what time we were going to depart including "don't be late, we won't wait" and the best part getting pissed off and swearing when we were 12 seconds off schedule. It was the funniest thing to happen all tour so far. The bar was awesome, but i left with the first group cause i was scared of being locked out of the hotel (apparently they lock the doors at 1 and you need a key to get in). But on our way back we had a stop at McDonalds for a bite to eat. I had a total of 4 fried than gave the rest to Sep (aus) and the rest of my drink to Travis (can). Back at the hotel i went to bed, so as not to disturb the others.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Contiki Day 23


Contiki Day 23

Friday July 8, 2005

Back to long bus rides today as we make our way from Hopfgarten to Lucerne. But along the way we had a long stop over at the White Water Rafting optional. I was so glad i didn't do this cause it was freezing outside, like see your breath cold. Just what i needed was pneumonia. So yeah the crazy people ventured out into the freezing water while the rest of us lounged in warmer temps. We had some lunch did a little walking and took some pics of the rafters as they went by the bridge. We later found out from the freezing Contiki-ites that the water temp was between 3 and 7 degrees celcius. Yeah right like you could ever pay me enough to enter waters that temperatures even with a wetsuit. Back on the bus as the others tried to warm up. We later arrived in Lucerne where we were brought straight to a knife and watch shop. Here i bought some knives for Gordon, Matthew and Gigi. And i surprised myself by buying a Swiss watch for me. Yes i now have a good watch...that isn't digital...how amazing. Back on the bus for honest two minutes before we arrive in our hotel, don't ask me why we took the coach i'm still trying to figure that out. Either way we were here and soon we went for dinner. After dinner Melanie and I ventured out to find the market Amy so well pointed out to us on our map. Apparently her mapping skills are not quite as honned as her ability to recall any sort of European History knowledge. Needless to say neither us nor two other groups found this market she says exists. Luckily for us we found some people who did find it (funny how they didn't ask Amy) and we later found it ourselves. After a nice walk back in the rain, we were in bed getting ready for our huge day on the mountain.