Thursday, August 4, 2016

Grand European Madness

To avoid further hassling from the parentals, I have managed to scrape some time together for a much needed update. Last time I blogged I'm pretty sure was in Kuala Lumpur...

For those who don't know, for the last two weeks I have been on a frantic bus tour of Europe with a bunch of other travellers aged 18-30ish. I have been to four countries, or 8 cities in just 13 days, and I have another fortnight of this ahead of me. (And I'm only including the places we stayed overnight in this count.)

A few words to sum up so far: 

BEAUTIFUL - everything I've seen so far is so gorgeous and ancient with so much history and I can't get over standing in front of a famous monument in the flesh that I have seen countless pictures of.

ALCOHOL - because apparently every night is a party and it's a go hard or go home mentality. 'Tis good fun. I do not frequent the clubs/bars nightly however, because I'm not insane. 

MUGGY - it's the kind of sticky hot where sweat drips everywhere and sunburnt skin is the norm. 

EARLY - mornings are hard. Every second day is a travel day which always means early departure from our accommodation.

As promised I have attached my itinerary (which I hope people can access??)

So far I have grazed Paris, Swiss Alps, Avignon, Barcelona, Nice, Monaco, Pisa, Florence and now Rome. My favourite place has been Swiss Alps, not only for the breathtaking views, but the cooler climate, welcoming locals and absolute serenity of the place. Also a couple in our group got engaged at Jungfraujoch which was absolutely adorable.

It's fitting that I post at this time because our group is actually two separate tours combined - a two week and a 4 week trip. That means that 13 of our 42 will finish up the tour, and we will welcome 14 new, fresh-faced, well-rested Topdeckers for the remainder of the trip. Part of me is hoping for more 18-20 year olds (as the median age is about 24), but I've noticed I have an easier time with the older travellers in our group because there is less drama and they are friendlier. To be honest though, what did I expect - a bunch of strangers from all around the world, there is bound to be a bit of friction..

That said, I have a great group of people and have had a lot of fun so far. I can't be bothered to stagger my photos throughout the text so instead I will just dump them here.





  Notre Dame, Paris ^


Cabaret in Paris ^








Jungfraujoch, Swiss Alps - highest point in Europe




Parc Guëll, Barcelona 


Pretty sure we accidentally didn't pay to get in here...






Monte-Carlo, where even babies are attractive...


Pantheon, Rome - over 2000 years old



Colosseum in Rome

And a lazy bullet point list of notable moments:

  • Pickpocketers disguised as tourist family skirt Trevi Fountain
  • 150 flavours at gelato store in Rome (I got grapefruit, soya hazelnut, and soya coconut)
  • Crêpes under the Eiffel Tower at 12am
  • Realising I didn't pack a towel, assuming free towels would be readily available 
  • Getting served a green salad entree followed by a larger green salad "main" at Paris hostel
  • Apparently cows get high off the chemicals they spray on the mountains in Swiss Alps
  • Sprinklers going off at Avignon picnic by the river
  • Poor beggar in Barcelona with basketball sized stomach tumour
  • Bomb threat at Monte Carlo...? Was just a false alarm though!
  • Bread being the only thing I can eat at the breakfast buffets (ugh)
  • Perfecting the art of sleeping on the coach
  • Living off cheap cans of lentils to save dem euros
  • That first "six hour" travel day that turned into thirteen
  • Getting served cheeseless pizza in Florence- dumbfounded. Did not think that existed.

That's all for now, and I apologise if this is the only update I can give until I get back. I'm seriously getting so lethargic though - the heat is mad, and we already did a 3 hour walking tour of Rome yesterday, so a lazy day at the camp ground seems pretty damn inviting right now.


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