I lied, here’s one more for the road. I love this photo too much not to share.
Above: My entire Contiki group! <3
Well, I’ve been home for a day now! The blog is now officially over, I hope you enjoyed the backseat of my adventure. I now return to finding a job and moving out and walking my dog and all those sorts of good things.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I have learned an endless list of invaluable things on my trip. I’ve made two dozen new acquaintances, a couple of really good friends, and hundreds of memories. Not to mention hundreds of photos! I have also discovered the amazing experience of travel and I honestly cannot wait to make my next journey to some other part of the world. Here’s my ‘awards’ to some of the best and worst things on trip! Thanks again to everyone who followed, read, or even just looked at the photos I took!
• Favorite City: Venice
• Favorite Country: Italy
• Favorite Night Drinking: Xmas eve in Lucerne
• Best Meal: Sedna in Barcelona
• Best Accommodation: Vienna
• Best Hotel Breakfast: Vienna
• Best Group Excursion: Moulin Rouge
• Best Museum: The Louvre or Natural History Museum
• Best Monument: Parthenon
• Coolest Ruins: Acropolis
• Favorite ‘Contiki’ Song: Parlez vous français? - Art vs. Science
• Favorite Contiki People: Jord, Rob, Hugo
• Favorite Church/Basilica: Notre Dame
• Best View: Top of the Theatre of Dionysus at the Acropolis
• Favorite Walking Tour: Matt’s dodgey tour through Rome
• Coldest City: Tie between Geneva and Vienna
• Warmest City: Barcelona
• Favorite New Beer: Hofbräuhaus Original
• Favorite Coffeeshop: Abraxas
• Best Hostel: Alessandro Downtown
• Best Train Trip: Any train trip that I slept on
• Worst Bus Trip: Between Berlin and Amsterdam
• Grossest Meal: Some crap chicken I picked up in London
• Worst Hotel: Venice only because they wanted to charge like 8Euros for 15 minutes of internet
• Worst Group Excursion: Monaco
• Worst Beer: No bad beer, just sick of wine!
• Worst Hotel/Hostel Breakfast: Athens Backpackers
• Funniest Moment: “SPIT IN MY MOUTH!”
• Sketchiest Moment: Either wandering Prague at night alone or the first night I allowed Jordan to lead me through Paris in the dark before I really knew him
Contiki photos I’ve jacked from my friends. I miss you, Contiki! I saw a Contiki bus parked in Barcelona and my heart ached.
I haven’t really taken any photos here in Amsterdam, sorry! Maybe I’ll take some when I’m back here next week. I’ve actually gotten pretty slack on the photo thing since Berlin and the whole strep throat business.
Which is improving. However I’m so drained at this point of the tour. Despite this: Aw Amsterdam, you’re lovely. I really look forward to my second visit. ;D Just about everyone is going out tonight, but seeing as it’s the last night the males of this group have one goal tonight and, considering the slim pickings of single women, I am omitting myself from the selections. I also spent all day in a coffee shop so I am wiped out and sleep is about to welcome me into its embrace. And I’m gonna eat a bag of stroopwafels.
Back to London tomorrow and Borgore gig, it sounds like.
Well, I am.
To recap Berlin: not the best. Granted I was in the throghes of my sickness the last two days and couldn’t be fucked to do much more than sleep, which is exactly what I did with my time in Berlin. I did see the wall remnants which was pretty cool. And I tried to go out for our evening ‘eye spy’ pub crawl where we had to follow clues to escape from East Berlin to West Berlin which was cool and educational. Only after all the running around and only slightly starting to have my health improve, I had to call the night in early. Just couldn’t do it.
Haven’t been sleeping well at all, combo the tonsilitus with rooms that are a million degrees. I felt sick on the bus all day (10 hours,uughh) but I’m feeling a little better now. I’m currently in Amsterdam, as the title of this entry denotes. We’re going to see a sex show in about 15 minutes.
Tomorrow I’ll probably go to the Anne Frank House and otherwise just chill out and enjoy the fact I’m in Amsterdam. Keep it real, homies.
So stoked to see you in 5 days, Aaron!
I had a much different experience in Prague today.
Slept in quite a while since I could for once and had my breakfast at a leisurely time. Spent the morning figuring out some hostels to begin booking for my brother and I’s final leg of this trip in a week’s time. Then I went out for the group excursion which was a river cruise lunch down the river through Prague that an awesome bohemian local toured for us and told us about the mythic origin of Czech and about the revolution and stuff.
After that I strolled over to a pharmacy to get some lozengers for my throat because it was hurting real bad this morning. To the point where swallowing was difficult. And I picked up some cough syrup too. So I got back to the hotel room and did some more hostel booking, took my throat lozengers yet nothing happened. So I took another. Still not much effect. So for kicks I took my headlamp into the bathroom and shone it down my throat. What do I see? Lots and lots of white spots. FUUCCK I know what that means: strep throat.
So after Skyping with my mom and trying to figure out what to do, I intend to pick up some antibiotics in our next city of Berlin since I have NO idea where to go during the day here and I can’t get ahold of my tour guide, Matt. We also had thatpub crawl planned for tonight so I just thought I’d see him there, tell him I needed to go to a doctor in Berlin and be off on my way drinking despite my throat looking like a dalmation.
But no, Matt insists I need to go to a doctor tonight, so he says he’ll walk me to the hospital since its probably the only doctor open at night after he gets the group to the pubcrawl start. Then he would just hustle back to the pub. WRONG. We get to the hospital, I’m told it’s an hour wait. Which I’m cool with, though the nurse then tells me that I’d have to go down to this other clinic anyway to get the prescription filled. It’s quite a ways away, but Matt was so great and gladly helped run me down to this other clinic. So we get there after a bit of a walk through backstreets I’ve never seen and what have you. Doctor’s in, after some pointing and bad english I got a prescription for some penicillin. But, then we had to meander around to the 24 hour pharmacy until finally Matt could run away and catch the rest of the group. From there I navigated the dark streets of Prague back to the hotel, grabbed some Macdonalds and that’s that. I can’t even finish the McNuggets though, my throat hurts so fucking much.
But that was my day. Goodnight.
Well, I figure I might as well make an up-to-date update for once instead of posting everything days after I’ve done it haha! So I am currently sitting in my hotel room in Prague right now, we’re right downtown in an Ibis hotel and I’m rocking out to some new shit on Hypemachine at the moment.
We arrive in Czech pretty early today so we got a nice walk-around tour with Matt just to get us orientated with the city. What’s Prague like? Bohemian. Even at a glance, there’s no better way to describe it as all words will just lead you back there. Gypsy city for suuure! BUT! It’s very exciting behing here, in the same way Germany is exciting, since this is the land of my also-forefathers on my mom’s side! Our family line comes back to Czechs and gypsys so it’s neat to be here for myself!
The buildings are all sort of weird and eclectic here yet they fit together at the same time. We looked at a palace and some cathedrals (can’t get enough of them gothic pointy-bits, eh!) and nothing too big. Thought I’d post my photos from today though. We have a free day tomorrow, meaning we can do whatever we want, there’s not much tour planned. Except for a river lunch thing on the river. And tomorrow night is an epic pub crawl that ends in Karlovy Lazne, which is apparently the biggest night club in central europe. it has 5 floors, 5 different djs. YUP but I’m not going to be drinking very hard anymore. Not until Aaron, my brosef, gets here anyway. I’m too old for this shit!
I could really go for some chicken wings and beer right now,argh. Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. I’m gonna do some hostel hunting for my final leg of this Euro-trip and then get some sleepies. Still fighting this cold, goddamnit.
On a lighter note to the last entry that I wrote as soon as I came back onto the coach after going through Mauthausen, I really loved Munich. Partially for the fact of stepping into Germany for the first time, the land of my family’s forefathers, but also because I was beyond excited for the beer hall. And boy did it deliver!! We didn’t see much of Munich itself as a city as I went right to…Hofbräuhaus! A several-storied beer hall right in the center of the city.
IT WAS AMAZING. It was everything I hoped it would be. I walked into the hall with great arched ceilings only to feast my eyes on a long hall of tables packed with people, all toting steins of beer while a tuba ensemble played Bavarian folk music in the middle of the great hall dressed in their Laderhosen. Bliss. Especially since I hadn’t had a beer since Scotland pretty much! It’s been wine, wine, wine since Paris so goddamn was I ready to drink some beer. GERMAN BEER TOO! After hunting down a table (holy smokes was it packed in there, friday night) I ordered a litre stien of their local dark brew which was greeaaattttttt and a pretzel of moderate size. Pretzels and beer, it was amazing. Then I got an even bigger pretzel that was about the size of my face, no jokes. We moved up to the upper hall once we realized there was such a thing and watched some cool dancing and there was plenty of Bavarian music happening. I managed to down a litre and a half of beer before I headed back to the hotel. I could have stayed later but it’s way safer to go back on the coach. Especially when drinking, I’m getting tired of stumbling around foreign cities looking for a cab while being smashed. One time too many.
BUT I would go back to Munich in a heartbeat. Like, for Oktoberfest? I can only imagine, aaah!! Favorite place so far? For the drinks: Munich wins. Oh, and here’s the ‘cheers’ song we all learned and sang in abundance:
Ein Prosit, ein Prosit
Ein Prosit, ein Prosit
OANS ZWOA DREI! G’SUFFA!
I’m parked outside Mauthausen right now. We just went through the concentration camp after watching a video profiling a few survivors as well as the brutal work that the prisoners not only carried out here, but the inhumane treatment they all endured. After seeing the buildings in video and photo footage older than I am, only to walk through the same places afterwards was…humbling to say the least. I felt how uninsulated the barracks were. And how cramped they are. Their communal showers and the imposing barbed wire crowning the walls. I walked through the gas chamber and through the refridgerator where the Nazis stacked the corpses waiting in line for the incinerating oven.
Before even walking through the camp itself, in the information center there is a memorial with survivor stories lining different blocks. I was disturbed by how many are from Czechoslovakia. And Germany. And everywhere else, but it made me feel privileged and lucky and so many other things to know the ancestors of my family were not still in Europe when this happened and that they had settled in Canada before they could have risked being subjected to the treatment. It was a very real realization as I read all of these plaques just how lucky my family is. It could have been my great grandfathers just as easily as it was the grandfathers and grandmothers of others.