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28
Jul
09

Barcelona

Our only taste of Spain was 2 days in Barcelona. We discovered some of Gaudi’s great architecture, including the fantastic Sangrada Familia. This massive, privately-funded Catholic church was designed by Antoni Gaudi and has been under construction since 1882, and is not expected to be completed until at least 2026. We spent a full day strolling through the city and dined on tapas for lunch. Check out some of the street performers – scary! That night we went to a Flamenco show where we were treated to traditional Spanish dancing as we sipped on local Sangria.

Sangrada Familia

Sangrada Familia

The streets of Barcelona

The streets of Barcelona

Street performers

Street performers

A Barcelona local!

A Barcelona local!

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28
Jul
09

Paris & Beaujolais Wine Region

I first thought I had lost my photos from Paris and the Beaujolais wine region but have just discovered that I haven’t so I’m very relieved.

Paris was our very first city to experience on our Contiki tour and it surely didn’t disappoint. The city is oozing style, fashion and of course love – it is the city of love after all!

On our first night, we were treated with a driving tour of the city to see the sights by night (daylight – sun doesn’t set until 10.30pm) where we saw the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and drove down the famous and very stylish Champs Elysees.

The following day we ventured up the Eiffel Tower by stairs, as there was a 2-3 hour wait to queue up for the lifts. Nothing like a bit of exercise to get the heart pumping! We made it to the 1st and 2nd levels where the views were just breathtaking. Afterwards, Daniel and I decided to walk the distance to Notre Dame Cathedral which took a lot longer than what we expected. Though, the best way to see a city is to walk through it, so we didn’t complain. The Notre Dame Cathedral is magnificent with the gargoyles perched high on the external walls. Later that night we enjoyed traditional French cuisine where we dined at a French restaurant – Daniel had escargot (snails!) for entree. Afterwards, we strolled past the Moulin Rouge and attended a Caberet show which was very entertaining. Of course, the French can can girls entertained us with singing and dancing, and it also included various comedy and other acts while we sipped on French champagne.

The following day we went to the Louve where we viewed heaps of artwork, including the famous Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo.

The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower

On top of the Eiffel Tower

On top of the Eiffel Tower

View from the top

View from the top

Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral

Gargoyles

Gargoyles

Yum - snails!

Yum - snails!

French restaurant

French restaurant

The Moulin Rouge

The Moulin Rouge

The Louve

The Louve

The Mona Lisa

The Mona Lisa

The Venus de Milo

The Venus de Milo

 

After Paris, we travelled south to the Beaujolais wine region where we stayed at the stunning French Chateau. We were told about the particular way wine is made in the region and tried a sample of a red. We ventured off for a walk through the area where we got lost Blair Witch style, but finally found our way uphill to the magnificent views of the vineyards where we enjoyed a picnic lunch of French baguettes and fruit.

Great view of the Beaujolais wine region

Great view of the Beaujolais wine region

The vineyards

The vineyards

17
Jul
09

Edam & Amsterdam

Our Contiki trip finished up in the Netherlands; our first stop was at Edam where we went to a Cheese & Clog factory where we were shown how their famous cheeses are made, and were then shown a demonstration on the making of wooden clogs. Afterwards, we joined the Dutch people and went for a bike ride through the town of Edam.

Daniel trying on some clogs

Daniel trying on some clogs

Dutch windmill

Dutch windmill

Amsterdam was next, and we enjoyed our free time wandering through the red light district and the many cafes and coffee shops, and had our farewell dinner at a floating Chinese restaurant.
Canal in Amsterdam

Canal in Amsterdam

Red light district

Red light district

Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Enjoying Amsterdam

Enjoying Amsterdam

Pre-packaged joints!

Pre-packaged joints!

 

Amsterdam coffee shop

Amsterdam coffee shop

We are now back in London until tomorrow when we fly back to Oz. Looking forward to seeing everyone again… see you soon!

Love Nat & Dan xxx

17
Jul
09

Switzerland

Lucerne was our first place to visit in Switzerland. We went to the Lion’s Monument, which is in memory of the 700 Swiss guards who were killed while in France during the French Revolution.

Lion's Monument

Lion's Monument

We then walked across the Chapel Bridge that burnt down in 1993 – it only took 9 months to rebuild, as it is very valuable monument to the Swiss.

Chapel Bridge

Chapel Bridge

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It was interesting to learn that the Swiss are very paranoid people. Not only do all households have a gun and bomb shelter, but all bridges and roads into the country are equipped with a detonator in case of any invasions.

After Lucerne, we drove to the Swiss Alps where we stayed for 2 nights. We ventured up by cog railway to the snow-covered top of Jungfrau Mountain where we had a truly memorable day.

Swiss Alps

Swiss Alps

On top of Jungfrau Mountain

On top of Jungfrau Mountain

Getting a ride on the dog sled

Getting a ride on the dog sled

View from the top

View from the top

17
Jul
09

Austria: Vienna & Tyrol

Beautiful Austria is for sure my favourite country. Stunning scenery and beautiful houses – felt like we were in The Sound of Music! Vienna was our first Austrian city where we stayed for 2 nights. We went to a Mozart and Strauss concert which was performed by an Austrian symphony orchestra who played many famous songs composed by Mozart and Strauss. The following day we explored the town of Vienna.  Nat went underneath St. Stephen’s Cathedral and ventured through the chilling catacombs which hold thousands of skeletons from medieval times.

Statue of Mozart

Statue of Mozart

That night we were taken out to the Viennese woods for an authentic dinner which included schnitzel and apple strudel.

Our Viennese dinner

Our Viennese dinner

Our second stay in Austria was at Tyrol where we went white water rafting and paragliding. While in Austria, we also went to the Schnaps museum and Swarovski Crystal World.

Austria

Austria

White water rafting

White water rafting

Paragliding

Paragliding

Gorgeous Austrian house

Gorgeous Austrian house

17
Jul
09

Germany

Our first stop in Germany was in Munich. We headed out to a 14th century beerhall where we drank beer out of the huge beer steins and enjoyed dinner and German entertainment.

Big beers!

Big beers!

Nat with some of the Contiki girls

Nat with some of the Contiki girls

Entertainment at the Beerhall

Entertainment at the Beerhall

On our way back into Germany after Austria, we stayed in St. Goar, a small,  well-known wine region in Germany.
St. Goar

St. Goar

09
Jul
09

Contiki tour

We are on the ‘European Escapade’ Contiki tour – for those who are interested you can view our itinerary on the contiki website.

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