Friday, 6 July 2012

Leaving for Contiki tour

Straight after Rox and I got back from Disney Paris, we had a night at home and left for London to meet up with our Contiki Tour team.

We said cheers to the guys at home and made our way to the hotel for our kick start meeting to sign on, check documents and meet 'n greet. We joined our 50 strong group of over excited 18-35yr olds and made friends straight away, 4 of which are South African too! That makes 6 of us in total, 2 each from Durban, Joburg and Cape Town!

After a social evening in the pub, meeting the diverse mix of everyone from New Yorkers to farmland Aussie, the mood was set for an awesome next 12 days!

We were up early and on the road at 7:30am to Dover, where we would cross the channel by ferry, waving goodbye to the White Cliffs and saying hello to the sunny beaches of Calais, France.

Our Dutch bus driver switched over to driving on the right side of the road, and we made the 4-5 hour drive to The Netherlands, driving through another beautiful place, Belgium. Eventually we arrived after the European traffic held us up, dropped our bags, grabbed supper in the hotel and went straight to the canals for our evening cruise under a warm Dutch sunset.

The open top canal bus hosted a free bar which was immediately surrounded by the group like bees around a hive! We cruised down the canals of Amsterdam admiring the old churches and buildings mixed in with the thoroughly modern, futuristic-looking architecture. The amount of people that use the canals as transport, a place to eat supper, a venue for an event, a place to float a restaurant, etc is amazing - something us foreigners used to mark ourselves as tourists!

The relaxing canal cruise, predictably, quickly turned into a canal party! The music started up, and the sun went down...

After the cruise was over, our rather wobbly 50 disembarked and we all hit the town. With a quick tour through the infamous Red Light District, we made our way to the Dutch nightlife of pub/clubs and made some great new memories with our new mates.

We woke early to an unsurprisingly quiet breakfast table before packing onto the bus again, an heading into town to see the beautiful side of Amsterdam in the daylight, and beautiful it really is!

We got dropped off at Anne Frank's House. This is the actually house where she and her family hid from the Nazis for years during World War 2, and where she wrote her famous diary.

Rox and I then teamed up with a few of our Aussie and Canadian friends and went to the Rijksmuseum - an incredible Dutch art museum. This was also an eye opener to see the unbelievable paintings and sculptures by famous artists such as Rembrandt and Van Gogh. We finished it off by taking a few photos by the huge "I AMSTERDAM" letters outside the museum before we hopped on a tram back tithe middle of town. We walked the alleys and shops in the historic little city and met up with the rest of the team for some food and boarded the bus to start our journey to St. Goar, Germany!

We are now stuck in yet another massive traffic jam, hence why I decided to utilise the hinderance instead of sleeping!

I'm really looking forward to Germany and the next few days there. I'll keep the updates coming as we get time but it's a busy tour!

Cheers, everyone!

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