Still sick, but still loving every moment
02.08.2010 - 07.08.2010 23 °C
First of all, I have to say congrats to my cousin Lindz and her hubby, Tom on the arrival of their handsome baby boy, James!! I'm so excited for you guys and I can't WAIT to meet him.
Also, today I am missing two weddings, so I want to say congrats to my cousin Todd and his new bride Jen and also to my buddy Carolyn and her new hubby, Steve. Hope you all had a wonderful day....wish I was there!
All right, this is it! I'm back in London, still coughing up a storm and ready to head home! I'm here tonight and tomorrow night, then I fly home Monday.....YEAH! I've had an amazing time, but I'm ready to come home and sleep in my own bed. I hear that Belle has been keeping it warm for me and I can't wait to cuddle my puppies....missing them tons!
I last left off in Austria.....wow, lots of catching up to do. I'll try my best to remember everything, as I don't have my travel journal with me. So, we left Austria and headed to Germany. On the way, we stopped at the Swarovski Crystal museum and store. It was pretty neat, although I could have done a lot more damage in the store! I was extremely good compared to others.
Next we headed to the Drachau concentration camp. This was really emotional. We had only about an hour to explore and I really wish we'd had longer. I got the impression that others felt it was almost too emotional, but having studing Germany and the wars, I thought this was the perfect "field trip" to tie together all I'd learned. I could not believe the living conditions and felt almost moved to tears by some of the images.
We continued on to Munich where we would only be spending one night. For dinner we went to a German beerhall. At the hall they only serve beer by the litre! I don't like beer, so instead I had Spezi (a mix of Sprite and Pepsi) by the litre! LOL A man came around and took pictures, there was a live band and girls wearing traditional clothing performing dances and playing songs using bells. It was really cool and reminded me of Oktoberfest.
Unfortunately, most of us felt that our time in Munich was mostly a waste because our couple of hours spent in town were spent window shopping as it was a Sunday and everything was closed! Therefore, my discussion of Munich is now finished.
On to Switzerland with a stop in Liechtenstien, the 4th smallest county in the world. The population is something like 30 000, but the number of registered businesses is over 100 000 due to the bank accounts (like Swiss accounts). Here we had chicken schnitzel on a bun for lunch and got our passports stamped. Due to the EU (European Union) regulations, we did not have to get our passports stamped in any country after France. All countries in the Union have a free passage policy. Since Liechtenstien and Switzerland do not fall under this category, you can get a souvenier stamp on you passport for 2 euro.
We continue on our way to Switzerland. The weather was cloudy and rainy again, so we couldn't really appreciate the views as much as I'm sure we could have. We stopped to do some shopping (swiss army knives, watches, chocolate etc.) then headed to the Contiki Stopover. This time we stayed in a chalet, rather than cabins, at the base of Jungfrau mountian. It was really beautiful. We ate dinner, then went to bed!
The next day we had the option of going up a cog railway to the top of the mountain. Unfortunately, it was raining, and snowing at the top, so almost everyone chose not to spend a lot of money and time to get to the top and not be able to see anything. A few people who had never seen snow before chose to go anyway - this was obviously not the case for me! Instead, a group of us decided to walk into town and do a bit of shopping. Then, we took a gondola up the mountain. At the top we took a train across to a town called Mullen. We explored the town, ate lunch took pictures then walked to another gondola. This gondola took us back down. At the based we took a bus to another cool sightseeing spot. We went to a waterfall that was inside a cave! I believe it was the runoff from a glazier, but I'm not sure. It was very cool. We had a take a lift inside the cave, called a "tunnel lift". That night back at the chalet was Swisco night (Swiss Disco). Everyone was dressed in Swiss red and white - it kind of felt like Canada Day! It was a big party night and a really great time!
We were off to Germany again the next day! Today we stopped in Heidelberg for a couple of hours. As we drove through this part of Germany I was struck by the landscape. It kind of looked like what I image Scotland to look like with mountain and castles all around. Heidelberg was very cute - bought shoes and a dress.
We continued on to the Rhine Valley and St. Goar. Here we had dinner, saw the world's biggest cockoo clock and went to a beer stein maker. They designed a very special Contiki stein - bought one, even though I don't drink beer. Once we got to the small town and hotel (more like a B&B) that we were staying at, we walked a short distance to a wine cellar where we enjoyed a candlelite tasting. OH, MY, GOSH was this wine EVER good. I bought a rose, a white and a bottle of icewine. The man refered to the Niagra region icewine and said that this was a much more economical option than the Niagra version. Early to bed tonight!
Our last stop was Amsterdam! Along the way we made some stops. First we went to a cheese and clog maker - bought more - then we went for a bike ride around town. This was VERY cool. I will not say much more about our time in Amsterdam, because as they say - "What happens in Amsterdam, stays in Amsterdam"....or something like that. I will say that it was a great place to end the tour.
Thanks so much for reading everyone. I've had the greatest time of my life! I can't wait to get home and see people and show off pictures etc.
Love and hugs,