A Travellerspoint blog

The Dalmation Coast Line

Croatia, Slovenia, Austria

sunny 30 °C

(It's Krystal typing atm if you'd like to know dad :P)

Sunday 23rd September - Dubrovnik

The next morningout tour manager gave us a quick tourof Dubrovnik. The old town within the walls is actually quite small. We were able to pay to walk around the city on the tops of these walls. Took us around an hour to do so and had awesome views of the ocean and cliffs, the city within the walls and also the newer part of the town. They still had old cannons in some sections where they would defend the city from sea attacks. We also got to see some of the damage from the 1992 attacks from Serbia.

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Make love not war!!!

After that the whole group hopped on a private boat and headed out to two different swimming spots. We both got to jump off the front of the boat which was pretty cool.

We had a walk about dinner that night, ended up teeing up with another couple, Nick and Katherine and having a lovely dinner pretty much on the port, watching the ocean with our very own pianist playing in the back ground. We spent up a little that night. And even though we have a great group was good to get away from them all for the night. Was in bed fairly early as Matt was a little sleep deprived from the night before!

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Monday 24th September - Zadar

We were up early today to make our way to Zadar (in Croatia still). Spent alot of time on the bus but we drove alongthe Dalmation coast which had amazing views of the Adriatic Sea.

Stopped off at Croatia's second largest city, Split for lunch and got to see Diocletion's Palace, or what's left of it. We also got to pass through the country Montenegro for a service stop, does that count as having been to a country?

Arrived at Zadar pretty late, had dinner at the hostel and then headed into town for a night tour. Wasn't really much to see but there was a concrete paved parth running along the sea near the port which had funny looking holes in it. The holes made the nicest noise, was almost like music because every timea soft wave went underneath they would make an organ type noise.

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Went to a bar and then headed back to the hostel as it was a Monday night and not alot was happening in town.

Tuesday 25th September - Solvenia

Bussed it up again today until we made it to Ljubljana in Solvenia. We only had an hour and a half in town but from what we saw it looked like a very cute european city with paved streets.

We got a cable car up to a castle on top of the hill and had 360 degree views of the city. Had to run to get some lunch and make it back to the bus on time.

Headed back toour cabbins and had one of our best meals so far, was a stew type sauce with gnocchi in it. Strange but yum! Had a few drinks at the bar and someone told us a little later that it was just about to close. So we both went and stocked up on drinks. After that I headed back to our cabin as everyone was pretty drunk but I had superman syndrome, Matt went a few doors down for some more drinks.

I started reading he Contiki brochure but by then the stocked up drinks I had we kicking in and I fell asleep. I must have passed out as an hour or two later I woke up to Matt nearly bashing our glass door down, he'd been knocking for a good 40 minutes he reckons and was just about to organise to sleep somewhere else. Whops! And I thought I was a light sleeper??

Wednesday 26th September - Austria

Yes on the bus again today until we made it to Vienna in Austria. Had another walk about dinner, Matt and I decided to slip away down an off street and ask for a table for 2! Had a lovely dinner with some wine and then met up with the rest of the group who had choosen to go to the Mozart Concert. I don't know how I did it but I managed to convince Matt to come along.

Thursday 27th September - Austria

Woke up ready to go on our walking tour of the city, however it was bucketing down outside! First bad day of weather so far so I guess we can't complain tho. Instead of doing the walking tour and becoming drowned rats we decided not to risk getting sick and instead go to the museumof nature and science, which was only across the road from where we were.

The museum had two levels main levels, the top being all types of stuffed animals which was really cool to look at, there were hundreds if not thousands. Made our way to the bottom floo and saw a 25 000 year old man made statue (that wasn't a typo). It was pretty amazing considering that greek history dates back only 3000 years. Looks like an obesse lady with no face. Also saw dinosour bones and fossil foot prints of a 270 million year old animal.

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We grabbed some lunch at the cafe, get a load of Matt's weiner!

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After that we jumped back on the bus and got to visit the original Schnaps shop/factory. Got to do some taste testing which included a shot of abscents. Tasted like acid! They also had an alcholic drink that had 23 carrot gold flakes in it. So yeh we currently have gold floating in our bellies.

After that we had a traditional Austrian dinner oprganised for us, about 40 minutes out of town in a wooden building in the forest. Got to try their snitzel (wrong spelling, like the rest of my words!), thought it waspretty much the same as what we have back home, but just a little thinner and crispier. Also may of had a few drinks!

Friday 28th September - Tyrol

We were trying to makeour way fromVienna to a little country town in Tyrol called Hofgarden. But on our way we made a special stop over at an Austrian Concentration camp called ............ This was absolutely amazing, for the wrong reasons tho. ....... was the last concentration camp to be liberated in Austria. It was a working camp rather than an ulimination camp. However of the 200 000 people that passed through only 90 000 survived.The prisioners were made to carry large stones up a huge set of steps known as the 'stairs of death' so that the Germans could use the stone for their statue making. The camp functioned from 1938 to 1945.

When we first got there we watched a 45 minute film about the camp. The living condtions and torture that they went through was unblievable. They found notes written on the walls, and one of them said "if there is a god he will have to beg for my forgiveness'.

They were given 5 spoon fulls of food every 3 days, and if they tried to eat a 6th they were killed. When there was bad weather they were made to lie down to form a human mat so that the guards could walk over them and not dirty their shoes. They also did experiments like giving them needles full of petrol, random things like that.

When they first arrived they were told 'you have just walked through the entry, the exit is over there' and pointed to the cremetorium.

The majority of the prisioners died from exhaustion on the actual steps while carrying the stone. They would continually stumbe and fall causing everyone else around them to tumber down the steps aswell. Matt and I actually went down the steps and back up again and we were buggered ourselves.

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Can safely say that and our World Vision visit have been the two most meaningful experiences so far.

After that we jumped back on the bus, all pretty depressed and headed to Hofgarden for the night.

Once we got there I gave Matt a hair cut. I had to perform in front of an audience coz everyone one couldn't wait for me to stuff it up and matt having to shave his head. But I came through with the goods and everyone was dissapointed.

We had P party that night, Matt dressed up as a Palestinian and I went as a Professor. We picked up some water pistols for matt in town and a lab coat thingie for me that was only 5 euros.

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(It's funny coz I'm actually typing this from our diary in egypt, and posting that picture, I hope no one is looking at the computer otherwise we may not make it back home alive!)

Posted by krystalmat 01:45 Archived in Croatia Comments (0)

Heaven on Earth

Mykonos, Greece

sunny 32 °C
View Map 2 & Map 4 London & Map 3 on krystalmat's travel map.

Tuesday 18th September – Mykonos

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After a big night the night before we were presented with nothing better than bacon, eggs, sausages, and toast! Once we polished that down we had a quick swim in the beach and headed off for a day in Mykonos! We decided to hire a car for the day with two others from the tour which was the best thing we could have done. 20 euros each for a Jeep with an open back and open top to drive around a Greek island going from beach to beach. We visited 3 beaches and the town of Mykonos during our day with the car and made it back to the resort by around 6:30pm. Had some dinner, some more vodka and headed into town for our night excursion which consisted of pub hopping. We visited 3 different pub, clubs and finished up around 3:30am that night.

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Wednesday 19th September – Mykonos

After waking up and again having some great hangover food we jumped into the pool for a while and then had some time to kill before heading off to a beach party. Amy, and Deano, what else do you do when you are trying to kill time on a Contiki tour? Drink Vodka!! We had a little session in our room with a Kiwi chick from our tour then headed into Paradise Beach at 3pm for a beach party. This pretty much consisted of dancing and drinking and swimming for 5 hours on a beach! We unfortunately drank far to much before we got there and only have a 30% memory of the afternoon. Once the party finished we headed back to the resort and had another party at the pool bar. Managed to make it through to 1:00am and then headed off to bed. They say that the only way to do Mykonos right is to leave there more tired than when you arrive and I can safely say Krystal and I certainly did that! A great 3 days and nights were had.

Thursday the 20th September – Prevesa

We woke up this morning feeling worse for wear and our room was an absolute disgrace! We managed to clean up, lose nothing and make it to the bus in time to catch the ferry back to the mainland of Greece. We caught a quicker ferry this time which only took around 3 hours and then hopped onto the bus for an 8 hour trek to Prevesa in Greece. We arrived there at 11pm and headed to our room for bed. They were very kind here and left our dinner in our room for us when we arrived. Only problem was, was that it was cooked 2 hours before hand and it tasted like shit. Watched a bit of telly (Was actually in English) and fell asleep for a much needed rest.

Friday the 21st September – Durres

Today was a very exciting day for everyone on the bus cause we got to go to Albania!! We got up and hopped on to bus around 7 and headed off for another loooooooong day in the bus. If there is anything we regret about this trip is the amount of time you spend in the bus compared to the amount of time you spend seeing things! Anyhow there is my whinge for the day but that is something you should expect when trying to see so much in 5 weeks. Once entering the Albanian border the dfference between the countries was unbelievable! Rubbish and crap everywhere and little dirty people trying to climb onto our bus and steal things whenever they got the chance. We drove for the best part of 9 hours as far as we could through the country and finished up in Durres for our overnight stop. Once there we were pleasantly surprised with the place considering the following:

Albania key statistics:

The average wage for an Albanian is 2000USD a year

There are approximately 78,000 war bunkers scattered throughout the country

The President of Albania was kicked out of his seat in 1991 for corruption and then re-elected in 1999

Rubbish have not yet been invented and they desperately need a clean up Albania day, or year!

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After we had dinner our tour manager through on a Toga party where we all got to dress up in our bed sheets and get drunk. Was a good idea but the only problem was that everytime you paid for a drink in Euro, you received Leke back! 100 Leke equals 1 Euro! You do the maths. We headed off to bed pretty early (Still recovering from Mykonos I think) and got some good sleep. Well we though we did anyhow………read on.

Saturday the 22nd September – Dubrovnik

We woke up after 8 hours of sleep and my wake up call was Krystal coming in and yelling Matt have a look at my face! It looked like she had golf balls inserted in her face! I think the Albanian bugs took a fancy to her and decided to have dinner Krystal style! We hopped into the bus and headed off to the place I was looking forward to the most on this tour…Croatia! During our drive we got to visit another country and we headed into Montenegro for lunch and a super market stop off. Decided to stock up on some drinks again as we saved a heap that way in Mykonos. Saw a 1 litre bottle of vodka for 4.55 euros, about 7.50 australian and decided to give it a whirl! Currently drinking it now while typing this blog (borrowed someone’s lap top as its too hard typing in internet cafes when theres sites to see) and it’s damn good for 7.50! Once we arrived into Dubrovnik we had a quick dinner and then headed into town for a city tour and some drinks. Krystal had a bit of the Contiki cold going and decided to have a good night sleep to be fit and well for the next day. I decided to stay out tonight and managed to have a massive night where I finished up getting in with 3 others around 4:30am. We had a small problem though……the hostel closed at 3am and re-opened at 7am! With this in mind I sent a couple of the boys up on the roof to try and find our room and yell out for Krystal. I thought I had the right room but in ened up being someone elses! I was close though as Krystal heard the boys yelling her name and came down to meet us at the front. Another problem! All doors were deadlocked so there was no getting in through the doors. Pity if a fire breaks out, its everyone for themselves! A tree climb up 1 floor, a broken chair, and a climb through a window and we were inside! A great night had by all!

Posted by krystalmat 11:58 Archived in Greece Comments (1)

Ciao Bellas

Florence - Rome - Pompeii, Italy. Athens - Mykonos, Greece

sunny 30 °C
View Map 8 Mykonos to Dubrovnik & Map 7 Florence to Mykonos & Map 6 Barcelona to Florence on krystalmat's travel map.

Okay, where did we finish off?? So much is happening and we do everything so quickly it all becomes one big blur!!

Tuesday 9th September 2007

This was a driving day, drove from Venice to Florce with a little spot off in Pisa along the way to see the tower. I accidently left the camera on the bus, Matt was not a happy camper. But managed to just take some photos with someones else camera and then transfered them over to our MP3 player so all is good. So yeh we saw the tower, but theres only so long you can stand there and look at it, so we went for a little wander around the back streets. Ended up seeing a really nice mable hand carved chest set. 116 euro later it was ours!

Arrived in Florence late afternoon hand some dinner at the camp site and then headed out into town for a night tour - more like a wander around really. Then our tour manager Rory took us to Florence's only pub. Pretty much all you could get was 3 litre kegs of beer or 2 litre jugs of any cocktail you like. So Matt teamed up with a guy on tour and I teamed up with a girl and we ordered one of each. We were only at the pub for about an hour and half so we did well finishing them! Headed back to the campsite for a few more drinks and then it was beddie byes.

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Wednesday 10th Septmeber

Spent the day in Florence. Is a really nice city, it's called the walking city because it's all wide allies made out of large stones, and no cars are allowed to drive through the streets. Started the morning with a guided tour of the city, went a little over mine and Matt's heads. Our love of art isn't that great, and once you have already seen 20 000 scupltures they all seem the same. Apart from the fake statue of David in the main square, that was pretty cool. Had the option of lining up for about an hour to see the real one, but we figured the fake one was good enough for us. We also got to see the main church of florence, you guys back home probably would have seen it in pictures before, that was pretty cool. Went on a wild goose chase trying to find some leather gloves as florence is famous for leather, we got some in the end! Wasn't really much else to do, so we just chilled out in an internet cafe writing the last blog.

Tonight we went to Space Electronic Disco Tek!!! The place was actually really good, despite the name. This was pretty much the biggest night on tour (apart from last night but I will get to that soon!). Boogied on the dance floor til just after 2 and then got a cab back to the campsite. Have been washing my hands with bottled water when I take my contacts out just in case, but this night I accidently grabbed the water bottle that had the cheap arse wine in it, it was the first bottle in the fridge. I couldn't figure out why my eyes were stinging me until to took a sip! Yes. It was a big night! But I guess that would have killed all the germs too!

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Thursday 11th September

Made our way over to Roma (Rome) today. Arrived early afternoon, got to see the colosseum. Decided not to go in coz it was 10 euro per person and you could see the inside through the outside arches anyway. But yeh the colosseum was pretty amazing as you would expect. It holds, well did hold about 50 000 people.

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Did an optional extra guided tour of the roman forum. Couldn't really understand our tour guide because of her accident but it was nice to just wander around the old ruins from about 2500 years ago. Not alot was left of the old buildings.

We headed over to the Trevi Fountian for a little look and then had a walk about dinner. Matt and I headed off by ourselves for a romantic dinner for two and then headed back to the rest of the group for some desert.

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Friday 11th September.

We were busy little bees today. Had the day to ourselves to explore and there were so many things that we wanted to get done. So it was very much go go go. Got a train in in the morning and decided to do our own thing together with another girl called Monica. Went to the first Catholic church ever built, S. Giovanni in Laterno. That church was absolutely massive. Had huge statues off a buch on saints all through the building. Across the road was another building which had the steps that Jesus had supposively climbed while carrying his cross. Was about 40 steps, but you weren't allowed to walk up them, you had to go up them on your knees. Decided to just kneel on the first step and then we walked up another set of steps on the sides, yeh we cheated a little. The steps had been removed from their orginal location and placed inside this building/church. We found out later tho that half way up the steps is actual blood drop lets.

Next we got the metro to a little scuplture called the mouth of truth. it's big face and you're meant to put your hand in it, and if you lie it cuts off your hand. Orginally it was used for criminals, they would put their hand in and then a guy behind it would cut off their hand. So it was was for criminals/liars, thus the reason for its name. We both came out with our hands intact thankfully, since Matt put his hand in and said I love you!

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Got another metro to the Vatican. Our tour guide met us and took us to this awesome pizza place. Best pizzas we've ever had. So much better than back home. They;re on really thin bases and not as much topping. Anyway lined up for the vatican, we just wanted to see the sistan chapel, but that was at the very end, hat to walk through all the displays for like an hour and half until we got to it. The chapel itself was pretty amazing we just stared at the ceiling for about 20 minutes. you could spend a day in there.

Headed out to St Peters Basilica, we wanted to go inside the church but the line was insanely long and there was still a few things we wanted to get done so we gave it a miss which was abit dissapointing but couldn't really do much else.

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Went to a little church called S. Maria Concezione. Underneath it there's a place called Cappucin Monks. Theres statues made out of hundreds of bones. Bones of previous monks. Was a little freaky and kinda weird since it was part of the church yet it fault like they were devil worshippers!

Headed to the spanish steps, a place were all the italians go at the end of the day for coffee. Was packed but was really good to just sit and relax after our huge day of being tourists.

After our big day out we were white ningers and in bed at 9:30. Yes you read correctly.

Saturday 15th September – Boat

We were up at 5am and on the boat by 6am. Italy has 2 types of roads, type A is the toll way which is the fastest and most direct route. Type B is toll free but is a lot lot longer, so the money you save on not having to pay the tolls is spent on petrol. They end up costing the same but 1 just takes a hell of a lot longer.

Anyway we were trying to make our way to Pompeii, a place that I had been to before on my last Contiki tour to Italy. Was wrapped this way on our tour coz I really wanted matt to see it. I would even rate it in my own top 7 wonders of the world.

For those of you that don’t know Pompeii is an ancient town that has been preserved by a volcanic arumption in 79 AD, covering the town in ash and killing 2000 people. The fact that it was covered in ash protected it until it was rediscovered made it one of the best preserved ruins for its age, it’s pretty amazing.

Anyway for some reason the type A road leading to Pompeii was closed this morning so we had to take the type B route which delayed us heaps. Our guided tour only went for about 40 minutes.

During the eruption people were instantly covered in ash. During the discovery of the site liquid plaster was poured into the cavity left in the bed of ashes by the bodies. As the plaster solidifies it reproduces the body’s shape with a lot of detail, you can even see facial expressions. You can see people screaming with their hands up in the air and others trying to shield their children,

Anyway this was a highlight when I did the tour last, and even though this tour had to be condensed coz of the road diversions I htought he would still show us. Not the case! And to make this worse at the end of the tour the guide was meant to tell us we could say in the gournds if we wanted. Instead he took us out the exit. We tried to get back in but the guards wouldn’t let us. So yeh Matt never got to see it. Definitely going to have to make a trip back here before we leave I think!

After that we headed to the south east side of Italy to catch an over night ferry to Greece.

Matt coming on line now.

With a 18 hour journey ahead of us we looked at one another and said…….what else do you do when you can’t go anywhere??? DRINK!!! After a couple bottles of wine Krystal decided to call it a night (Smart thing to do) and me and a couple others decided to head up to the much spoken about cruise disco. Well there were a total of 8 people there 6 where from the tour and a couple of Greek (Hells Angels equilevant) bikies. Jason and I thought it would be a good idea to go up and have a chat with them. Sounds like a bad idea but actually turned into a 4 hour session with two guys who were very well respected on the ship. We had random people buying us drinks and asking if they could sit with us and join our table to which the bikies waved them off and took their drinks. We were not complaining and ended up with their club address in Athens to have a party with them and their mates the following night. And invition that we turned down! TWO WERE FINE BUT 50 ARE DANGEROUS!

Krystal back online now.

Sunday 16th September – Athens

It was about 1pm by the time our ferry docked in Greece. We were straight on the bus heading for Athens.

Arrived in Athens at about 6:30pm, freshened up and then headed to the Acropolis to see the Parthenon. Slight problem though. Today was an election day in Greece and because of that the Partheon was closed. I was headless as that was one of the main reasons I wanted to do this tour. I know nothing much could be done but was not a happy camper. So yeh we weren’t having much luck for the past two, but Contiki has been great besides that.

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Had a night tour and got to see the first modern Olympic stadium. Hd some dineer at an awesome Greek place, we ate like kings. Headed back to our hotel. Yes, a hotel! Fresh towels and no sleeping bags! Pretty much straight to bed. Recharge night ready for Mykonos.

Monday 17th September – Mykonos

We wree up early again today. Got a 6 hour long ferry over to the islands and finally arrived! I don’t know about you but was expecting palm trees and green, maybe a little tropical? Acutally it was the complete opposite. Was just hills of dry barrum land with huge rocks everywhere. If you pictur Afganisan, that’s what it looked like. It seriously felt like the Taliban were going to come out and attadck us from behind the rocks and hills!

Posted by krystalmat 02:09 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

Drinks, drinks and more drinks!!

Barcelona, Spain. French Rivera, Monaco, France. Venice, Florence, Italy.

sunny 28 °C
View Map 6 Barcelona to Florence & Map 5 London to Barcelona on krystalmat's travel map.

Thursday the 6th

Today was our first glimpse of Spain and it definitely a place that I would like to visit again. Its a pity that you only really get 1 day in the city but thats the way it works on Contiki. Our day began with a drive to the top of Barcelona's highest point for a quick photo shoot over the city. For those who have been here you can imagine our first thoughts. Going from an old city of Paris where things are spread to here where there is a clutter of building all on top of one another was a sight to see. After the usually pics we head down for a bit of a city walking tour and went to the Temple Espiatori De Is Sagrade Famillia. This church was degisned by a famous Spanish man and is still being worked on today. They are predicting that it will be completed in another 50 years! That will be a massive party.

After our city tour the rest of the day was ours so we headed to the food market wandered around and walked to the Christopher Columbus along the Las Rambles. After lunch we headed up to the Olympic grounds of the 92 games and wondered around before relaxing with a Gelati and some views of Barcelona. Once we made our way back into the city we met with the rest of the group and went to a Flamingo Dancing Show (Monique you would have showed them up). It was ok and a little slow but the San Greai (Spanish Red Wine) helped it along and also the audience participation at the end livened it up. I was one of those and I got and tried to dance in front of around 100 people. I wasn't too bad either if i don't say so myself. After the show we headed out for dinner with 7 others and we ordered some Tapas and more San Greai. Headed back to camp around 11 and finished up for the night.

Friday the 7th

Up nice and early this morning for a loooooong drive in the bus to the French Rivera. Arrived there around 7pm, had some dinner and headed to the bar. I managed to stay out till around 4:30 and couldn't find my cabin!

Saturday the 8th

After a slow start to the morning (Krystal had to tip water on me to revive me) I decided to stay put at camp for the day and relax down the beach. Krystal headed into Nice with a few others on the tip and went to a Perfume Factory. Had the afternoon to herself and did the usual contiki lunch.....wine and some nice local food. She climbed and mountain slash hill with two others and ate up there. Pretty nice photos of the views that they had. I managed to find a Pub that had the Australia Vs Japan World Cup game so me and about 10 others headed there for a beer and a sport booster shot. I really really miss my sport! Once everyone got back from Nice we had dinner and then jumped on the bus and headed to Monaco!!! Was a great drive along the coastline which lead into proberly the richest place in the world. They have competitions here as to who has the biggest boat! They look like the size of shipe some of them! We headed to Le Casino Monte-Carlo, the original casino! Out the front there were Ferrai's, Lambigouni's (car spelling is terrible) and others that had a price tag of $400,000 plus. You had to pay to get in the bloody joint! 10 Euros each so we were 20 down and hadn't placed a bet yet. We lost our 20 euro budget in about 2 minutes so we got a little bored sitting in a casino with so betting money left. I watched this guy burn massive amounts on the Roulette table and really wanted to ask him if he would like to just give the money to me! Krystal found the best this of the evening and that was inside the toilet. Each time you flush the thing a device comes out and cleans the seat automatically while the seat rotates in a 360 degree motion. We headed back to camp about midnight and checked in for the evening.

Sunday the 9th

Hi everyone, my turn now (Krystal)

Today was a travelling day, we got up early and made our way to Venice, crossing the Italian boarder. On our way we stopped off at Verona, the place of Romeo and Juilet's balacony (not actually the real deal). Very touristy spot. We were only in and out as there wasn't really much to see. In the court yard however there was graffiti everywhere. But sweet graffiti of little love notes saying so and so loves so and so, stuck on the wall with clumps of chewy. Was waiting for Matt to write something on the wall, but he didn't, how rude! We then jumped back on the bus and made our way to the campsite which is like a 20 minute boat ride from the actual island of venice.

Matt wasn't feeling the greatest, he only drunk two beers at the bar and then headed for well deserved rest! I solidered on for a little and then joined him (I have normally been beating him to bed).

Monday the 8th of September

Today was soley for Venice. We got a biggish speed boat over to the main island late morning.

Venice is apparently well known for its lace making and also hand made glass. So first thing up we went to a glass blowing show which was really cool. A guy stuck a head of glass on the end of a stick into a really hot oven, pulled it out and then started to spin and pick at it with plyers. Took him about 2 minutes to make a jug type thing and a horse. He was pretty skillful. We were then taken through their entire shop, a few levels of glassware just incase we wanted to make some purchases. Prices were not cheap!
Next we went to a lace making demonstation which was ok.

Headed out to the main square, St Marks Square, and soaked in the atmosphere for a little and had a look at the out side of the main church. Decided not to go in coz it would have costed us like 35 australian and the line was massively long. Had a little wonder around at all the canels and a few back streets and then decided that there isnt alot to do in Venice if youre not shopping. Ended up getting a bottle of wine and some takeway lunch and headed back down to the back streets where it was alot quieter. Sat there for most of the afternoon with another girl from the tour (Monica) on a bridge looking over a little canel. Was a very relaxing afternoon. We ended up buying a few more bottles of wine and some beer!

Head back to meet up with the rest of the group for our gondala ride. Jumped on that, and had some wine left over and plastic cups so we all sat on our little boat drinking wine taking in the sights with the water shinning on the water as it was starting to get a little dark. Topped off a good afternoon. After that we had to wait around for the other groups to finish so we went to look for some more wine. The tour leader took me to a place where they fill up your water bottles straight from the barrel. So yes, three litres later out bottles were full! Was soooooo cheap. But yeh, not the classiest!

We were sitting in one of the main squares drinking it while waiting for the others when the police started to head over to us. Was starting to think o oh but they walked straight past us and told the boys off for kicking the footy. So yeh, get that, its okay to drink in public but not play ball in france!

Headed back to the camp site for a few drinks at the bar. Ended up being quite a few! Matt and I both managed to get to bed at the same time, the first for the trip, but dont remember!

Cairo for now! Love yous all.

Posted by krystalmat 05:13 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Contiki Begins!

Paris - Beaujolais, France

semi-overcast 23 °C
View Map 10 Tyrol to Rhine Valley & Map 9 dubrovnik to Tyrol & Map 8 Mykonos to Dubrovnik & Map 7 Florence to Mykonos & Map 6 Barcelona to Florence & Map 5 London to Barcelona on krystalmat's travel map.

Hi everyone! Yes contiki has began! Has been a slight bit longer than we had hoped since our last entry but our tour has been go go go. Not to worry, will just have to make up for it with an extra long entry. These computers don´t allow you to plug in usbs so yous will have to wait to our next entry for some piccies unfornately.

Well we had our pre departure meeting last Thursday night. We were both geared up for a big night, matt having already been on two tours said the first and last nights are always the biggest. After the meeting tho only a handful of people suck around for a few drinks. Was a bit dissapointed coz we thought we must have gotten a drink shy group. I don´t think I´ve ever been so wrong before!

Our group is really good, we are about the average age, and there are 5 couples on the tour including us which is good.

Friday 31th August 2007

Anyway the next morning we were up at like 5am or something, bags up the bus ready to hit the road. Headed to the white cliffs of Dover to catch a ferry over to France. The cliffs were very pretty. It was funny tho coz there were grey ugly looking clouds everywhere but as soon as you looked across the water to France it was blue skies ahead.

We headed into the Paris camp site, we were only like 20-30 minutes out of town so that was good. Got there late after noon and got to sample some snails. They just soak them in garlic so couldn´t really taste anything apart fromm that. As it was starting to get dark we did a night tour of Paris on the bus (stayed on the bus the whole time) had music going and just drove around going from sight to sight going wow, wow, wow all the time. Very impressive. Then headed back to the campsite for some dinner and drinks at the bar. They put on pretty good meals for us.

Saturday 1st September 2007

This morning we headed to Versailles, where the royal family lived for awhile, king louy the 14th. Was trying to buy mine and matt´s tickets to get in and this french lady yelled at me. Welcome to the land of the rude! Anyway this palace was pretty impressive, he obviously had his very own money tree out back. Anyway we´ll post some pics for yous later.

Had the rest of the afternoon free so we decided to go to the Louvre and maybe a few other places. So much to see at the Louve we ended up only doing that. Saw the Mona Lisa, actually got to take photos with the flash on which was surprising. It´s alot bigger than what I thought it would be as everyone says its really small. I was probably as size up from A3, maybe A2? Note sure why that is the most famous painting in the world, because to me alot of other paintings looked alot better. Saw like 60 billion paintins a few scupltures. You can get lost in there for weeks I reckon. Appently if you wanted to spend 1 minute looking at each painting you´d be in there for 9 months straight the tour guide said. I was more impressed with the building, was amazing.

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We then did a night tour of the effiel tower. Get to climb up it as it jst starting to get dark (well I mean get the elevator, we weren´t climbing that! - don´t think you´re allowed too anyway). By the time we got up the top we had night fews of paris. Was such a pretty view because I think they must have a rule that you can´t build any buildings higher than like say 10 storeys? so was nice and spread and went on forever. We were back down on the ground by 11pm in time for the light show. The tower flashes at different speeds, looked really good. Our tour guide cracked open a few bottles of bubbly and we sat back on the grass and watched that for 20 odd minutes.

Headed back to the camp site, had a fair few drinks and went to bed. Matt managed to fall out of the top bunk and get tangled in the cloths line at like 4am while trying to go to the loo. He also managed to get lost and not find the door - mind you the room was that small if you stood in the middle you could have reached and touched all 4 walls. Clever boy.

Sunday 2nd of September

Had the whole day free in Paris to do the sites. Went to Arc De Triomphe which is the famous arc way in France. It´s in the middle of this huge round about, 16 different streets intercept it. It was crazy watching the cars as everyone on the round about must give way to entering traffic. The tour guide said that there is a car accident there on average every 6 minutes. Was speaking to the bus driver later on and he said must car insurance agencies will ensure you for everywhere in france, just not at that round about! So yeh the arc it self was amazing with all its detail. We weren´t quite sure of the history of it but we´ll be back there for sure, wanted to keep moving rather than going to the museum at the top of it as we were on our own timetable!

Headed over to the Effiel tower again, grabbing some lunch on the way to eat on the grass. We wanted to check it out in daylight. Was a really relaxing lunch. And you´re right Amy, you expect it to be like a blue metally colour but it´s actually a strange browny colour.

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Walked down the famous shopping street - cant remember what it was called. But tried to get some frogs legs, finally found a place that had them, was me matt and a kiwi girl amy. We sat down and they were a little pricey so decided to get one serve between the three of us. Well the waitress was not a happy camper at all. She slammed down the menus and started yelling to the manager. The manager came over and kicked us out! So yeh, it´s a shame really coz paris is so pretty yet the people just suck, kinda puts you off. Anyway we will have to sample them next time.

Headed over to Notre Dame after that. We happened to stumble past a memorial for Princess Diana on the way. Is a really big gold flame about the tunnel where she died. And since we were there like 10 years and 1 day to the date of her death it was covered in flowers.

Notre Dame - a huge gothic sorta style church in France. The detail on the church was absolutely amazing. We were running out of time so we didn´t get a chance to go in since there was a huge line and our bus was leaving at 4pm with or without us, and didn´t really want to risk it! Our tour guide said that apprently the crown of thorns that jesus supposively wore is in the church. We going to head in and check it out on one of our weekend trips in the future.

Had a group dinner at a proper french restaurant all dolled up and headed out to a cheaper vesion of the moulin rouge. The show was fantastic. The music, the dancer, the costumes, was REALLY good. The funny thing was they all danced around in really high cut g-strings. Even the lady just singing at the front was wearing one. They then started to dance topless aswell for like no reason, wasn´t as if it was a raunchy dance or anything. Saw some acrobats, that was pretty cool. Then headed back to bed, well I did, matt decided to stay out til 4 again.

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Monday the 3rd of September 2007

Headed on an 8 hour bus trip to a chateau in the beaujolais area. The chateau was amazing, must be getting sick of me typing that but the buildings are so much better compared to back home. Had a beach party in what they call the cave, like and under ground night club for just contiki people. Was a good night.

Tuesday 4th September 2007

This day would have to be our highlight so far (apart for the decha visit). We were given picnic baskets and sent out with a map to a picnic point. Brought a fair few bottles of wine from the winery and headed out. Got lost for like 2 hours, the map was ordinary and decided to make our own spot. Was pretty annoyed that we couldn´t find the other place coz it was meant to have really good views of the vin yards. But ours turned out the be better anyway as we found the proper spot on the way back. Spent the afternoon there, we were the last group back to the chateau as I think everyone else ran dry. But our group of 8 came prepared!

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Headed back for some dinner and a few more drinks and then to bed, actually in bed before 12 but it was a long day of drinking.

Wednesday 5th of September

Had a 12 hour bus ride (exciting) to Spain. We are currently at a caravan park in Barcelona that backs on the beach. Got here at like 7, was still daylight so Matt had a swim, was a tad on the cold side so I might hang out til tomorrow.

So yeh that´s where I´ll leave you. It´s 11pm and it was my turn to update, matt is having a few drinks at the bar for a change. Worked out okay tho as I was feeling pretty ill today.

Hope all is good back home.

Love yous lots.

K & M

Posted by krystalmat 13:45 Archived in France Comments (2)

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