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Contiki European Panorama Wrap Up

Tour Manager: Ryan Harding
Tour Driver: Peter Brown

The trip was really fun. I think I was lucky and got a good tour manager and tour driver, and overall it a good group of people. Ryan was an excellent tour manager, as he provided "Ryno in your pocket" which is a written down version of what he says when he points out things on the map for every city, so that one does not have to take notes.  Furthermore, if you google "Ryno in your pocket" - you will find other blogs about him and there is not one bad word about him.

He's been doing Contiki tours for 5 years now. It was the best way to see the most amount of sights in the shortest amount of time.  I liked that I didn't have to do research and the tour manager told us what we needed to know on the map with a bit of background about each place. It was hassle free. I liked that everything was planned for you, and you could just take things day by day which is a huge switch in philosophy for me.  I'm used to thinking, how pages of reading do I have do for tomorrow, how many pages a week do I have to write for my essay? It was nice not to stress about anything and not have to think for a month.

Optional Excursions: Highly recommended that you do 90% of them, because when you don't do them - you are left to entertain yourself because most of the group particpates in them. The hotels are often outside the city center, so it's a bit harder to make your own fun.

What I didn't like: that they bring you to places where you are supposed to shop i.e. watch center and perfume. If you aren't there to shop, it is very boring for you. When I shop, I like to do it a slow fashion and not in a frenzied Boxing Day madness. This is not specific to this Contiki tour. My Mom and Dad went on a tour of China with a different company and they also do that. I guess that's the drawback of tours.

Tips:
- bring a iPod touch. Everbody that one could access often free wireless from the hotels that we were staying at, and it was not as bulky as a laptop. The ferry back from Corfu was very boring because there was not much to do, and I would have loved to have an iPod touch or a laptop. From Vienna on, paying for internet was expensive 1 Euro  for 10 minutes.
- bring wet wipes. I was eating baklava in Corfu and there was honey, everywhere.
- bring Tide to Go Pen.

Note that this a Superior trip which meant we got to stay in hotels. While some hotels were an hour away from the town (Rome) or were pretty dodgy (Florence), I would hate to see what a Budget trip would look like. Also, I stayed in a Single room and payed $1000+ more. However, it was worth my sanity. I know that at the end of the long day, I just don't want to talk to anybody.  However, there are other things to consider:

- some people complained that their roommates woke up too early, or stayed out too late which awoke them in the middle of the night
- what if your roommate wants to hook up with somebody? (Happened on my trip)
- it's annoying to share bathroom time

By the middle of the trip, I'm pretty sure people were jealous that I had a single room. 

EDIT: The "Contiki cough" is very real due to the fact the air gets recirculated on the coach. By the end of Greece, Ryan remarked "The cough joins us for the second half the tour." We just could not shake it off. I lost my voice in Corfu from too much singing in the bars. The latter half of the trip, most of the coach was coughing that Ryan deemed it the Day Song on the last day in Amsterdam.  I'm *still* suffering from it, I went to the doctor and all she did was recommend an over the counter medicine even though the cough has been happening for 2 weeks. My ribs hurt from coughing too much. I took preventative measures such as by taking Coldfx with no avail.


 

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
opalline
Jun. 3rd, 2009 10:58 pm (UTC)
Very helpful! What was the tour itinerary?

Wet wipes and Tide to Go are definitely on my To Bring list.
starbucksweetie
Jun. 3rd, 2009 11:06 pm (UTC)
I'm currently editing my back entries. The italicized portions are what is from Contiki's website and I add in reference information. I'm tagging them all contiki european panorama, so you can pull all the relevant entries.
the_red_queen
Jun. 4th, 2009 12:35 am (UTC)
That wet wipes tip is so golden! I keep a small package of Wet Ones in my luggage at all times. This one girl was once like, "What are you, a soccer mom?" but she changed her tune after the first Chinese bathroom that lacked toilet paper.
starbucksweetie
Jun. 4th, 2009 12:45 am (UTC)
Haha!
rhiannnnnnon
Jun. 5th, 2009 04:33 am (UTC)
i love the tag "unsolicited advice" haha. i'm so glad you had fun...that you were able to travel, relax, and go to bars! i feel like you are never relaxed or GOING TO BARS! hahaha. you deserve it.
starbucksweetie
Jun. 5th, 2009 11:20 am (UTC)
That's very true that I never felt truly relaxed or going to bars. What I liked about Contiki is that while there was drinking, there was no pressure to and my group loved dancing - which is what I like to do at bars.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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