A Travellerspoint blog

Day 12


sunny 26 °C

Today us girls decide to leave earlier than the tour and enjoy the sites. We take the metro, which is only a couple of blocks from the hotel, and take it straight to the Champs-Elysee Clemenceau station. This is about the midway point of the glorious road. We head towards the Arc de Triomphe and then double back towards the Louvre. Along the route, most of the stores are still closed as it is before 1000am so we didn't get a chance to walk into the Louis Vuitton flagship store. Bummer. However we did stop at Laderer, the infamous macaron store, Ladurer_macarons.jpgand purchased some samples for our stop at the Jardin Tuilleries. I just can't imagine Calgary having chairs placed around the little pond at Eau Claire for the citizens to sit and enjoy the moment. We continue along till we reach the Louvre and take photos of I.M.Pei's pyramid. The last time I was here, the pyramid was yet to exist. We walk along the Seine, oh yes that smell of urine was there for us to enjoy, till we reach the crossing for the Ile de la cite and Notre Dame.7A7E1B382219AC681714CF79B79A3B6A.jpggrand_palais_paris.jpg This grand old church is 850 years old this year, wow! In front of the church is a huge tent filled with bakers preparing breads, etc in a competition a la skills Alberta. Tasty morsels - I just don't know how you could be gluten intolerant and live in this country! We walk thru the latin quarter and stop for lunch. Sitting facing the traffic as all good Parisiene's are wont to do. We then finish our touring by taking the metro up to Sacre Coeur. Another beautiful vista of the city of lights from this vantage point. It is so sunny and glorious, I just can't believe our weather luck. We take the metro home for a quick change to prepare for our last night dinner cabaret at the Nouvelle Eve Club in Montmarte. This place is less expensive than the Moulin Rouge or the Lido at only 145Euros. However with Contiki's volume pricing we were able to get the dinner for 123Euros. 3 course meal and wine is also included before the show begins. The dancers are young and fit and the music is in true cabaret style...did I mention it was topless? The students went out to O'Sullivan's to formally close their tour of Europe, while the 3 of us went home to pack for our early morning departure back to the airport.
This has been a great tour and I would highly recommend Contiki as company of choice for the 18-35 year old travellers. Thanks to Becca our tour manager and Miki our driver for their energy and creativity! You certainly need it when you see as much as we did. Just remember #noregrets.

Posted by alitabrown 13:55 Archived in France Comments (0)

Day 8

All day in Venice

overcast 27 °C

The day in Venice. Home of the Doges Palace, Gondolas and masques! We have to take a local driver to the vaporetti drop off and the cost to enter Venice island is 390 euro because the bus is deemed to be "non environmental". Yikes. The boat ride in to Piazza San Marco is spectacular as the Weather Gods are on our sides again. We take a walking tour with a knowledge guide Cynthia, take a gondola ride and we have free time. You know what that means...walking and shopping and eating and sampling the beverages such as an Aperol Spritz and non-slushy Bellinis. This is such a magnificent city. The architecture is amazing contrasted upon all the water. Speaking of, we were lucky enough to visit the Piazza in the day and then experience it when it rained. If this was any indication of how much rain fills in the city from the surrounding lagoon, oh my . 76C8E1292219AC68178E0CE695295523.jpggondolier_traffic_Venice.jpgcanalshot_Venice.jpgfancy_rides_Venice.jpgTVT_girls_..etti_Venice.jpgVaporetti_stop_Venice.jpg more_rain_venice_night.jpggirls_in_the_rain_venice.jpgvenice_rain_night.jpgmaryann_venice.jpg

Posted by alitabrown 12:11 Archived in Italy Tagged venice Comments (0)

Day 7

Innsbruck to Venice

sunny 28 °C

Well this has been a day of surprises. We wake up to gloomy and rain and then once the bus starts rolling beautiful sunshine begins. We see vines (one of my favorite sites) along the way. italian_vines_near_Veneto.jpgEnroute to Venice we are pleasantly surprised by a stop on Lake Garda in the town of Sirmione. Castle_at_Serminione.jpg Glorious sunshine, cutesy town, woodstone fired pizza and the best bottle of Valpollicella Ripasso ever. Back on the bus and another stop in Verona- home of Romeo and Julliette. The kids in the bus followed Mary-Ann's suggestion to write a letter of love & hope wishes and places them into the wall.Sam_with_note_at_Verona.jpg767B13D62219AC6817F5327881273F76.jpg Cute! Home finally to our place outside Venice island to watch the 2014 Eurovision final. Very crazy indeed. The artist who won was from Austria - check him out Conchita Wurst. Here are my quick notes on this artist: Dress on a rack. Celine Dion wanna be. But hey what do I know!?

Posted by alitabrown 12:02 Archived in Italy Tagged venice to innsbruck Comments (0)

Day 4

Amsterdam to Sankt Goar


On our way out of town, we stop at a cheeserie and wooden shoe making facility. Not in the same building. Ha. The proprietor of the shoe factory came in early just for us and provided us with a shoe making demo. I didn't realize just how fashionable the clogs could get. painted_clogs.jpggarden_clogs.jpgsam_clogs.jpgstyles_of_clogs.jpgThen back to Amsterdam for 1.5 free hours to walk around before the 6 hour bus ride into the Rhine area of st. Goar. We walk down to the Rijksmuseum rijks_museum.jpgand stand in front of the touristic "I Amsterdam" sign to take our pictures. maryann_in_amsterdam.jpgjona_in_amsterdam.jpgWe walk north back up to the red light district where we meet our bus, but not before enjoying some of the local sights and tasting a pannekoek in the Netherlands! city_workers_amsterdam.jpgcafe_in_amsterdam.jpg
Tonight we have an optional wine tasting after dinner. Needless to say I will be attending.
Sankt Goar is located at the bend in the Rhine at Lorelei. Quiet little burgh and tonight it's very low key. We all pack into the hotel's 10x20 lobby for drinks and wifi use. Did I mention the locals also all use the place as well. Did I also mention they still let people smoke cigarettes inside? Now that was an interesting site. Sankt Goar is also famous for it cuckoo clocks (world's largest) cuckoo_clock_sankt_goart.jpgand producing beer steins, like the ones used at Oktoberfest.
It's an early up to head into Munich tomorrow, but some of us will be up early to see the sunrise over the Rhine.0700_viewi.._sankt_goar.jpg

Posted by alitabrown 06:23 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Day 3

London to Amsterdam

semi-overcast 19 °C

Partly cloudy
Leaving London we got a chance to truly appreciate how wonderful the weather has been for us as today is was gloomy and overcast.. Saw the white cliffs of Dover up close but couldn't see them as our ferry shoved off for Calais.DSC06729.jpg. Full English breakfast served on the ferries made the trip. I just can't believe how much I am enjoying those darn beans.
Arrive in Amsterdam late due to the crazy amount of traffic i Belgium. I think our driver Miki was cursing them in Hungarian Lol
We are staying in Monnickendam - which is a quick 15 min by coach or a 50 euro cab ride from central town. It's a cute little Dutch suburb and the hotel is quaint and filled with tour groups on a budget. MaryAnn introduced me to a Bols competitor - Pisang Ambon and their fine banana liqueur. We had a chance to take an optional canal tour and that was great fun to see the city from the canal. canal_amsterdam.jpgcanal_view_amsterdam.jpgDSC06753.jpgSome of us returned to the hotel bar for a drink and some stayed in town to further enjoy the red light district. lakeland_amsterdam.jpg
As I was mentioning earlier, the hotel is quaint and it even provided us with a midnight fire alarm. We were waiting out front to greet the revellers upon their return. Here's the place when i visited here back in the 70'swe_stayed_there_in__76_.jpg

Posted by alitabrown 05:58 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

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