S: European Horizon 08-29-2010 -- 09-11-2010
BC: This was a trip of a lifetime. We saw 9 different countries in only 14 days. We made new friends that live all around the world, experience different cultures and tasted wonderful food. The memories we made were priceless and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to experience this trip with my sister and the 49 other people in my tour group. It was definitely a life changing experience. | European Horizon
FC: European Horizon August 29 - September 11, 2010
1: At 3:00 pm Sunday August 29 we boarded our first plane which took us from Nashville to New York City. We had a layover in NYC so we grabbed dinner and prepared for our 7 hour flight to Dublin, Ireland. The flights were long but we were able to sleep and watch movies to pass the time. | Day 1
2: Lauren and I were so excited when we landed in Ireland. Our taxi driver told us everything there is to know about Ireland...in his own words haha | We checked into the Maldron Hotel, changed, and hit the streets to get our first taste of Dublin. The weather was a little chilly but that didn't stop us from walking everywhere. | Day 2
3: We grabbed some lunch at a place called Aurona. Then we walked to Grafton Street, the popular shopping street in Dublin. There was lots of fur, tutu's and fringe. After hours of shopping and looking around we went to dinner at The Grand Central Bar. It was trivia night so the place was packed....we should have brushed up on our random Irish facts before we came.
4: Lauren and I took a bus tour to the Malahide Marina and Village. The seals come down to the harbor and some of the other tourist fed them raw fish. Then we took a tour of the Malahide Castle. The Talbot family lived there from 1185 to 1973, when the last Talbot died. The house is furnished with beautiful period furniture and an extensive collection of Irish portrait paintings. | Day 3
5: Doors of Dublin
6: After our castle tour, we jumped on another bus that took us all around Dublin. We saw several beautiful cathedrals, famous people from Dublin, and incredible architecture. | Day 3 | John Henry Foley famous sculptor | St Patrick's Cathedral | The Rod to God | Parnell Monument | Jim Larkin | Spire of Dublin
7: The book of Kells is located on Trinity College's campus. It was written over 1,000 years ago. It contains lavishly decorated pictures that tell the story of the four gospels. It was amazing to see how other people spread the Word. | One of our last stops was at the Guinness Storehouse. The building is designed in the shape of a giant pint of Guinness. We got to see how they make Guinness and then at the top floor we enjoyed a glass. The room was surrounded by windows. We could see all of Dublin.
8: Day 4
9: We arrived in London on August 31st. We checked into our hotel and with the Contiki group. We walked around London and ate some lunch at Denise's. Lauren and I decided to try frog legs, which were awful. At 7pm we met our Contiki group for the first time. After our meeting, Lauren and I realized we were leaving at 6am the next morning for Amsterdam. We thought we were spending the entire next day in London. So, we decided to run around the city and see as much as we could before it got dark. We got to see Big Ben, the London Eye, and Buckingham Palace. | Our blow dryer didn't like foreign outlets...
10: We drove for about two hours and arrived at the Dover Ferry Port. | We took a ferry across the Atlantic Ocean and arrived in France. | Day 5
11: After our ferry ride, we got back on our bus and headed towards Amsterdam. On the way we stopped in Belgium for some delicious chocolate.
12: We dropped our bags off at our Hostel and took a Gondola ride through the Canals of Amsterdam. It was a perfect way to start our trip. | Amsterdam | Day 5
13: After our Gondola ride we walked to the red light district where we saw a very interesting show. | Once the show was over a bunch of us went out to experience Amsterdam's night life.
14: Day 6
15: The next morning we spent a few hours walking around the city. Lauren and I took a tour of Anne Frank's House. Her house was turned into a museum in 1960. The museum was powerful and breathtaking. It took us through her diary and what she was feeling while she and her family hid from Nazi persecution. The museum was a beautiful tribute to Anne Frank and the struggle she endured during World War II.
16: On the road again.... our next stop was St. Goar Germany. The ride there was beautiful. There were castles and vineyards on the mountain sides. | Day 6
18: That night we went to a local vineyard and enjoyed some white wine. One of the owners of the vineyard told us the history of St. Goar and the local vineyards surrounding the city. | Day 6
19: Hotel Montag was the nicest hotel we stayed at during our trip. St. Goar was a quaint little town located in the central Rhine Valley.
20: Today we went to the beer stein store. They were beautifully crafted. We also saw the largest hanging cuckoo clock in the world. | Day 7
21: We left St. Goar and headed towards Munich Germany. On the road we passed a sign for Stuttgart Germany which is where Grandpa's family is from. I was very amused by the different road signs in Europe, especially the speed limit signs. :)
22: We had a hard time getting a ticket for the S-Bahn since everything was written in German... | We walked all around the park where the 1972 summer Olympics took place. | Day 7 | BMW Museum
23: Once in Munich, Lauren and I took the S-Bahn (train) to the BMW Museum and the park where the Olympics took place. We also saw the Marienplatz which is Munich's main square. Within the square is the famous Glockenspiel. The top half of the Glockenspiel tells the story of the marriage of the local Duke Wilhelm V to Renata of Lorraine. The second story depicts the 16th century when a particularly bad period of the plague hit town and everyone went into hiding. The first people to dare go back onto the streets were barrel makers who performed a big dance to show that it was okay to come out again. It was an interesting show.
24: That night we went to dinner at a local beer hall. The waitresses performed a bell song and some other traditional dances. It was great to experience their culture. We also learned the song the Germans sing while drinking beer. We had a blast. After dinner we took the Tube to the local bars and clubs. We danced all night and met lots of locals:) | Day 7
26: After Germany we got back on the road and headed towards Austria. | We stopped at the Zugspitzblick to enjoy the amazing scenery. | Day 8
28: Our first stop in Austria was to go whitewater rafting down the Inn River. The water was freezing so they gave us wet suits and water boots. My raft guide, Alex was hilarious and charming! :) The rapids were awesome. We were having so much fun until I fell out of the raft and thought i was going to die. The water was so cold and I couldn't remember any of the safety tips. Alex finally threw me the rope and pulled me back into the raft. It was a scary experience but after i thawed out I looked around and realized I was surrounded by the most beautify scenery. I was in awe of the amazing creations God made in this small city. I could have stayed there forever. | Day 8
30: Day 8
31: The city was adorable. Some of our group took a bike tour of the city, Lauren decided to walk around the city with some new friends. I on the other hand decided to experience the city in a different way..... | After whitewater rafting and lunch, our bus took us to the Haus Schoneck located in Hopfgarten, Austria. This is where we were staying that night. It was a special Contiki campsite.
32: PARAGLIDING!!!!! | This was the most amazing experience. I took the trolley up to the top of the mountain, my guide strapped the parachute to the both of us and we ran off the side of the mountain. It was incredible.!!! | Day 8
34: Venice When we arrived at our campsite in Italy, we took a ferry to the Island of Venice. The buildings were beautiful. Lauren and I walked around the city and did some shopping. Then we met of up with our group for come champagne and a Gondala ride. I felt like we were in a movie. | Day 9
36: After our Gondala ride, we walked to a fabulous Italian Restaurant. We wanted to taste as much as we could, so the 5 of us ordered a meal and split it with the table. It was delicious. | Day 9 | Ohh Henry....
37: After dinner we walked around Venice. We shopped, ate Gelato, and had a blast. The city was incredible. Then we took the Ferry back to our campsite and partied with the other Contiki groups.
38: The next day we drove to Luzern, Switzerland. In this city we went to several shops that sold swiss army knives, swiss chocolate and Swiss army watches. | Day 10
39: The Lion of Lucerne, is a sculpture in Lucerne, Switzerland, designed by Bertel Thorvaldsen. It commemorates the Swiss Guards who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution, when revolutionaries stormed the Tuileries Palace in Paris, France. The monument was beautiful and powerful.
40: Day 10
41: After Luzern, we drove to our campsite in Jungfrau, Switzerland. We were surrounded by mountains. It was peaceful and relaxing. A few other Contiki groups were in town as well so we all hung out. I met so many people from places all around the world. It was a blast.
42: Day 11
43: Today, Lauren and I woke up and walked to The Trummelbach Falls. It consists of 10 waterfalls that drains the mighty glaciers of Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau. They were incredible.
44: Our wonderful, comletely full bus.... | Today we left Switzerland and headed towards our final country, France. The scenery was incredible as we drove through the mountains. | We spent a lot of time in these seats... | Day 12
45: Our bus rides were always interesting. We played games, talked about where we lived, compared it to where others lived, listened to music from all around the world, and slept a lot. It was so interesting getting to know the people in our group. We had people from AUstraila, South Africa, US, Canada, and New Zealand.
46: We finally arrived in Paris late that afternoon. Everyone was excited. We stopped at a cute French restaurant called Le Solferino where we had escargot and champagne. Then we went back to our camp site and went to bed early. We wanted to be well rested because we were spending the entire next day walking the streets of Paris!
47: Eiffel | Tower | Day 12
48: Paris was incredible. We took a group picture at the Eiffel town and then went our separate ways touring the city. Lauren did some serious shopping down the Avenue des Champs Elysees. Then we walked around and saw the Arc de Triomphe, the Paris Opera House, Saint Chapelle, and so much more. | Day 13
49: We stopped and ate lunch at a wonderful little French bistro. We had delicious paninis and crepes.
50: After lunch we walked some more. We saw the Musee d'Orsay and the Musee du Louvre where the famous Mona Lisa is. | We shopped... A LOT! | Day 13
51: Then we saw the Notre Dame Cathedral. It was a beautiful example of Gothic architecture.
52: That night our group met up and had a farewell dinner at A La Bonne Franquette. It was Justina's birthday so we surprised her with some champagne. | Day 13
53: After dinner some people went to the Moulin Rouge for a show. | Lauren and I decided we wanted to see the Eiffel Tower at night. It was beautiful. | We rode the elevator to second level.We saw Paris all lit up. It was incredible. | After the Eiffel Tower, Lauren and I had a difficult time finding our way home. All the taxi cabs were taken so | we tried the Metro. After waiting an hour we realized it stopped running for the night. We finally found a taxi driver, who spoke English. He took us back to our campsite. It was not exactly the way we wanted to end our trip...but it was worth it to see Paris at night.
54: The next morning we said goodbye to our new friends and headed to the Paris Airport. It was a bittersweet goodbye. | We flew from Pairs, France to Atlanta Georgia. It was a 9 hour flight. We both slept most of the time because we were so exhausted. Then we flew from Atlanta back home to Nashville. We were ready to be home. | Day 14