Sunday, June 13, 2010

Europe for Honeymoon with Contiki Tour.

In March 2007, we went to Europe for our honeymoon. We were there for 1 month and visited Western Europe.

Places we went were:
England (London), France (Paris, Fontainebleau, Lyon, Avignon, Nice), Monaco, Italy (Pisa, Florence, Rome, Maranello, Venice), Austria (Vienna), Germany (Munich, St Goar), Liechtenstein, Switzerland (Lucerne, Mt Pilatus), Netherlands (Amsterdam).
*see my other entry for the individual links to the blog entry for each day*


What we did was we booked a 22days land package from Contiki Tour (for ages 18 to 35yrs old) and extended our stay in London for 1 week.  We flew by British Airways from Singapore to London, stayed a few days, toured round Europe with Contiki, then back to London for a few days before flying back to Singapore.

Types of packages
There are a few types of Contiki packages.  There's Camping (where you stay at campsites and have to help out doing camp duties like washing up or cooking, this is the cheapest option), Concept (kinda halfway between Camping & Timeout tours), & Timeout (stay at hotels, this is the most expensive option but still pretty affordable).

There's about 40 people in the tour group and there's also a tour manager who will follow the group throughout the trip.  The bus has a toilet facilities (although they'd prefer if you don't use it since they make rest stops every 2 to 3 hrs of bus journey) and charging outlets for your electronic devices. They emphasis ALOT on punctuality and make everyone set our watch timing to the clock on the bus.  If tour manager says bus will set off at 8am, then it WILL set off at 8am sharp...with or without you.  This is so that everyone will make extra effort not to be late and thus we won't have to waste time waiting for people (like most group tours).
The bus on which i spent 22days
We change our seating arrangements every day so that we can mingle around and talk to different people in the group.  Me and my hubby were the only Singaporean.  The rest were from Australia, Ireland, U.S, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, New Zealand.  A bus ride around Europe may sound like alot, however it turned out pretty fun.  They usually make short breaks at the smaller towns like Fontainbleau, Avignon, Pisa..etc..for 1 or 2 hours for you to explore in between long journeys from major city to city.  The Tour Manager also tells us interesting facts and historical info on the places we were about to visit, and also teaches us how to order food, buy train tickets, how to get from city back to hotel, what to watch out...etc...

A sample bus day would go something like this: (taken from my travel log) for the day where we have to travel from Nice (France) to Florence (Italy).
6:30am - Morning Call
7:15am - Breakfast
8:00am - Bus sets off
9:40am - Crossed over to Italian border
11:30am - Service rest stop
12:15noon - Set off
1:50pm - Reached Pisa (Leaning Tower of Pisa)
3:20pm - Set off from Pisa
4:50pm - Reached Hotel at Florence for a little rest
6pm - Meet at hotel lobby to set off for the city area
6:20pm - Free and Easy
10:15pm - Meet back at bus to go back to hotel
11:40pm - Back at Hotel.

1 of the daily schedules which the contiki tour manager put up for us at hotel lobby.  This one is for Switzerland.
1 thing I hate about the usual group tour packages is that everyone's kinda forced to have to travel together and usually travel agencies will bring us to places where we don't really want to visit (factories, shops..etc).  But for Contiki, the bus brings you from 1 city to the next, teach you how to make your own way back to hotel from the city area, then drops you at the city area for your own free and easy and you can choose whatever time you want to go back to hotel.  This helps takes out the logistics and planning of getting to hotels and travelling, and yet gives you the flexibility of free and easy trips.
My Contiki group photo taken at Florence, Italy.  European Vista 23/3/07 - 15/4/07, Contiki Staffs: Louis and Ricky.
Miss you guys!

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