Mar 20

Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center

Right outside of Yellowstone on the Montana side is the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center. This center is a non-profit that rescues grizzly bears and wolves and also provides education to visitors.

We started our day with a tour of the facility and animals, the tour was great and our guide extremely knowledgable. Our first stop was a grizzly habitat that housed Kobuk and Nakina. They are brother and sister, their mother and other brother were killed in Alaska. That was our lucky day, our guide said they were usually pretty docile in the mornings, but today they played.  It was a little scary looking too (see the pictures).  Although these two were playing, the behavior was similar to bears in heat.

After the bears we moved on to the Wolf area.  There were only a few wolves out that morning, but they were beautiful.  We learned about the alpha male and the hierarchy of wolves, very interesting.  It also reminded me of Twilight.

There were also a few birds on property, including a Bald Eagle who had been poisoned.  His brain was screwed up from that and he was always looking in funny directions and was obviously screwed up, it was sad.  But it was also nice to know that there was a safe place for him to go.

After our tour of the animals we were invited to go inside the museum, they just displayed a few things to learn a bit more.  This section is probably more appropriate for someone who is not on a tour, but it was nice to take a walk around.

Outside there is a display of bear safe containers.  When containers want to be certified for bear safety, this is where they come for testing.  Kobuk it seems is very good at getting into containers, so they give him the containers and if he can’t get into them in a prescribed period of time (don’t remember what the time is) then they are certified as bear safe.

After that we all went into the shop.  The shop had a good selection, but my favorite thing was that there was a giant bear chair, and that was just fun.

If you’re in the area of West Yellowstone I think it’s absolutely worth it to stop here, if for no other reason then it is your best chance to see bears and wolves in yellowstone.  But it’s also nice to learn a bit about these animals and why you should not get too close to them in the park.

Oct 10

European Discovery Day 14 & 15

Day 14 (May 21): Paris and back to London

This morning your scheduled tour ends at your accommodation. Then back to London for my last night in Europe.

6:15 came way to quick this morning. At 7:45 we left Maya, Kenny, Vicky, Kreena and Alberto at the hotel as they were not returning to London. I didn’t get to say goodbye to Alberto or Vicky. Bye guys! Then we dropped off Michael, Ryan, Mikki, Kamala, Mark, Simon and Anne at the airport since they were leaving later this morning from Paris. It was sad leaving all these people behind, I don’t know if or when I’ll see them again. After the airport we started back to London, it was a quiet ride. Our first stop would be the Canadian War Memorial at Vimy Ridge where the Canadians and Germans fought in WWI. It was a nicely set up memorial, you could walk through the trenches, it gave you an idea of how aweful it must have been to fight like that. Then we were back on the bus for another hour and a half to Calais and the ferry to Dover. We had lunch on the ferry and then another 2 hour drive to London, we got to the hotel at 3:30.

We didn’t say too many goodbyes as we were all meeting at the Goose at 7:30. Nicola came back to my room with me since she was staying at a friend’s in another part of London. I actually had a double room this time, my roommate was leaving on the European Magic the next morning. After checking in we headed to the Contiki Basement to check email, we ran into Lisa, Kristen, and Yolandi who were having issues with the Royal National since their travel agent had booked their hotel for the wrong night, they eventually found a place to stay. Then Nicola did a little last minute shopping and went for dinner.

At 7:30 we met up at the goose, where it all started, with Mike, Monica, Laurie, Garry, Yolandi, Lisa, Kristen, Catilin, Jenny, Cindy, Christine, Mike, Mel, Dane, Jen, Reuben, Hansie, Chris, Sophie, Jess, Narelle, Brian and Ali. We all got to meet Hans’s girlfriend, Ronnie. Throughout the night people slowly left, and we said our goodbyes, it was sad. Finally Chris, Nicola and I decided to leave, leaving just Hans, Reuben, Ali, Jen and Dane behind. Chris and I got Nicola into a taxi and said our goodbye. Chris and I discussed maybe taking the underground to the airport together the next day.

Day 15 (May 22): London and flying back home

Today I have a little time in the morning to explore London before I head back home.

This morning my roommates 6am wake up call woke me up and I never really got back to sleep. I laid in bed for a while and finally got up, took a shower and headed out to the Contiki Basement to check in for my flight home. I ran into Jenny and Caitlin who were off to the London Eye. They inspired me, I abandoned my plan to take the underground to Heathrow with Chris after checkout, but I did call Chris and invite him to go on the Eye with me, but he declined. So off I went to the London Eye for a ride, with a quick stop in Trafalgar Square to buy a last minute gift. Being back in Trafalgar Square brought back memories of how I had been afraid when I got here two weeks ago. I’m so not intimidated by this city now! I started to hyperventalate just thinking of how much I had progressed as a traveler, and how scared I had been that first day.

I took my 11:00 flight on the London Eye, the view was great, but the ride was so long. Ok, the ride was only 30 minutes but it was so lonely doing it by myself, after 13 days with 47 people, being by myself sucked! After my ride I headed back to the Imperial Hotel to pick up my luggage and then left for the airport at 1:00. I took the wrong branch of the Piccadilly Line of the Underground, fortunately I realized before it was too late. I had lunch at the airport and tried to spend my last few pounds before heading home. It was tough saying goodbye to London as the plane took off, knowing it was the real end of my trip. I tried to watch Ray on the flight home, but found it too slow in the beginning and my ability to concentrate hampered by the lack of sleep over the past two weeks. In the end I watched the Incredibles which cheered me up a bit. The best news of the day was that my flight got in early, hey, if I’m not with my tour, I might as well be home!

Oct 08

European Discovery Day 13

Day 13 (May 20): Paris Sightseeing

On our city tour, see the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Nôtre Dame Cathedral and the Louvre, shop on the Champs Elysées and stroll by the Seine. Tonight, why not experience a Parisian cabaret?

Another late morning, didn’t have to get up till 7:15! It’s a good thing since yesterday I started to get a cold and today I have a cold. At 8:45 the bus left for the Paris Opera House and the optional perfumery demo. I’m not really into perfume and I was congested so I skipped the perfumery. I headed to the Musee Louvre with Nicola, Alberto, Laurie, Garry, Chris, Lisa, and Ali. We quickly got in the Louvre using the back entrance that Hans had showed us the night before and our museum cards we bought. We even managed to find our way around in spite of the fact that they ran out of English maps.

Our first stop was Venus de Milo, pretty girl, too bad she doesn’t have any arms. Then we headed through the grand gallery, from the Da Vinci Code, to the Mona Lisa. There was a line to see her, but you could take pictures, but they didn’t come out well since she had glass or something covering her. After the Louvre we headed to Notre Dame, which was very nice. After that we all stopped for lunch at a little cafe by Notre Dame.

After lunch Alberto, Nicola and I separated from the rest of the group to go to see The Thinker at the Musee Rodin. We tried to take the Metro but I think we ended up in the wrong station and after examining the map for 20 minutes decided to just walk to the Musee Rodin. We passed the Musse d’Orsay along the way, but didn’t go in. While walking Alberto started to drive me nuts. He was walking with his map completely open and every now and then he would tell me where we were, except he would off by 2 blocks. Nothing like doing stuff that screams “tourist” to everyone around. At the Musse Rodin the gardens were beautiful and The Thinker was cool. We took a minute to sit down and rest our tired feet and figure out the Metro. We managed to take the Metro to the Arc de Triomphe without getting lost.

When we got to the Arc de Trimophe it took us a few minutes but we finally found the walkway to the arc. Once in we climbed up a bazillion steps and finally were at the top. At the top we took some pictures and ran into Mike and Mel, we also sat down for a bit to rest our extremely tired feet. The view was really nice, but not as cool as the night view from the Eiffel Tower. On the way down we ran into Michael, Monica, Caitlin and some others. It’s amazing how many people we could run into in a day in such a big city, we had run into Maya and some others in the Louvre and Simon and his group at Notre Dame. After the Arc we took a walk down the Champs Elysées for some shopping and delicious Sorbet that I would find. After a couple shops we ran into Maya, Anne, Roshni and Kreena. After that we all headed back to the hotel on the Metro.

After we got back I decided to take a walk to the internet cafe so I could send my “I’m in Paris” emails. When I got back I called mom, hung out with some tour mates in the lobby, and repacked a bit. So much for getting some rest before Moulin Rouge. Kamala, Mikki and I met up with Becca and Zeeni, but not until we were accosted by Frenchmen. We tried walking, but ended up taking the bus to Moulin Rouge, we found a nice little sidewalk cafe to have dinner at before the show. The waiter was very nice, especially considering Becca was the only one who spoke any French, and she didn’t speak much. After dinner we finally went to see Moulin Rouge, it was a little weird, but a cool show. But I was so tiredd (should have taken a nap) that I was falling asleep at one point. At the end of the show we lost Becca and Zeeni so the 3 of us left together. Outside Kamala went across the street to take pictures while a bunch of Frenchmen decided they liked Mikki and I. I am not liking these Frenchmen! Anyway, we tried running across the street, yelling at them, but it took a few minutes to shake them, when we got to the bar to meet up with the rest of the group who had gone to the earlier show or had skipped the show all together.

By the time we got to the bar several people had already headed back to the hotel. But the rest of us had fun, I even danced. We left around 2:30 and we all decided it would be a good idea to walk back to the hotel. So Chris, Alberto, Simon, Kamala, Mark, Roshni, Kreena, Mikki, Vicky, Kenny, Michael, and some others walked. But our group got split up half way when someone got hungry and I didn’t see the rest of them till morning. But we got to be the loud obnoxious people walking down the street, we didn’t get back to the hotel till 3:10, I thought Hans said it was a 20 minute walk? Maybe if we were sober if would have been 20 minutes.

Oct 06

European Discovery Day 12

Day 12 (May 19): Lucerne to Paris

Through the French countryside to the romance of Paris. Enjoy a first view of the sights of this spectacular city of light.

Today we got a little later of a start since we were going to the top of Mt. Stanserhorn, so I got to sleep till 6:30, wahoo! We took an 8:10am train up to the gondola that would get us to the top of Mt. Stanserhorn. What a phenomenal view! And, because it was still cloudy this morning, it was actually warmer at the top then in town. We got a nice chance to walk around before coming down so the bus could leave at 9:30 for Paris.

Today I decided to be a flowerbox, I sat in the front row of the bus with Chris. Our first stop was after 3 hours for lunch. I found the French to actually be pretty friendly, but I was a little overwhelmed by the trying to pick out food, I ended up with quiche. Actually, the most stressful part of the whole trip would be the first rest stop in each country, trying to order food in a new culture. After lunch it was a 2 and a half hour ride on the bus, the highlight of this part of the drive would be playing Horse. This is as easy game that anyone can play, see a horse and be the first to call it. One point for real horses, two points for pictures of horses. At this next rest stop the woman was rude, so being an annoying American, I kept going back to her.

Back on the bus Hans gave us a history lesson on France, something about Napoleon. At 7:30pm we finally got to Paris, we had 30 minutes to check in before dinner and our evening tour of Paris. The hotel was nice, but the rooms were smaller than a shoebox for sandals. We had a pretty good dinner at the hotel, Chicken, rice and salad.

At 9:00 we headed out to the Eiffel Tower and the city tour. The first stop was the Eiffel Tower, with a drive through the Arc de Triomphe on the way. We had a bit of a line to get into the Eiffel Tower, but we made the best of our time by starting the wave. The view from the Eiffel Tower was amazing, especially with the late dusk sky. I give credit to those who were afraid of hights, but still went up as I know it wasn’t easy for them. Good job gals! Anyway, back to me. I bought myself a giraffe Eiffel Tower and a blinking Eiffel Tower. But the funniest thing was when Mike bought multiple blinking Eiffel Towers and then tried to sell one to one of the peddlers. Mike offered 5 euros, but the guy would only pay 4 and Mike didn’t have change for him. Then Michael tried to buy one from him for 2 euros, telling him they were made in China and the cost was really low. Amazingly the guy stuck around quite a while for all the torture we would inflict on him.

After that we did our drive around Paris, we saw a lot of things… The Paris Opera House, The Louvre, Notre Dame, Musee Rodin, Hotel de Ville, and a bunch of other stuff. We got back to the hotel around midnight and got to bed a little after 1:00am.

Oct 05

European Discovery Day 11

Day 11 (May 18): Florence to Lucerne

A spectacular Alpine drive as we pass Lake Como and head for Switzerland. Lucerne awaits with its cobbled streets, and our orientation tour takes in the beautiful wooden Chapel Bridge. This afternoon, there’s also a chance to visit Mt. Stanserhorn.

I was up again at 6:15 for breakfast, and the bus left at 7:30. This morning I got to sit with Lisa, from Australia. We had our first stop at 11am for lunch, I’ve found that after 3 hours on the bus I start going crazy, thankfully we usually stop by the time we hit 3 hours. After lunch we were back on the bus, we passed Lake Como, which was very beautiful, apparently also expensive. We got into Lucerne around 1:30 – 2:00. We skipped the ride to the top of Mt. Stanserhorn because it was too cloudy to see anything. Hans took us up to the Dying Lion Monument which was carved in honor of the Swiss Guards killed in 1792.

After that Hans took us over the famous Chapel Bridge to a watch and Swiss army knife store. I bought a Swiss army watch and a really cool Swiss army knife for myself and some other souvenirs for family and friends. After I went off with Chris and Alberto looking for a store for Alberto to buy a pen and a cafe to warm up in. We found a store and Alberto bought a very nice Mont Blanc pen for his Dad. Then we searched and searched for a cafe, we ended up in a McDonalds. At either 4:00 or 5:00most of us met up for a boat cruise through Lake Lucerne, which had cheap drinks. The views were very nice, it’s a very nice city but unfortunately it was so cloudy you couldn’t see much.

After checking into the hotel, finally a decent hotel, we had dinner at the hotel. The party then moved to the hotel bar where people tried to burn off their last Swiss Francs, if they could afford to buy a drink. The bartender was crazy and sold Simon a drink for 20 Swiss Francs that had 17 shots in it. I did try some, and it was pretty good, but due to an aversion to Peach Schnapps I didn’t have too much. But Lisa had a good time with the bartender…

Oct 01

European Discovery Day 10

Day 10 (May 17): Rome to Florence

We drive to Florence where our local expert guide takes us on a walking tour of the Duomo, Giotto’s Belltower, Piazza della Signoria and the Basilica of Santa Croce. Enjoy a demonstration of Florentine leathercraft. Tonight join the locals at a restaurant or club.

Today I was up at 6:15, again. We were off to Florence at 7:30am. We arrived in Florence around 12 or 1 in the afternoon and Hans took us to a leather demonstration. I decided everything I was interested in was more than I was willing to spend so I was quickly off to explore. Anne, Nicola, and I took a slow shopping walk up to the academia to see the David. Lucky for us it was cultural week in Italy so we didn’t have to pay to get in, I like free stuff! While on line we ran into Mike who was also going to see the David. The David was quite impressive, the detail was amazing (I never saw a statue with veins before), no artwork I would see after could compare to this one.

After that we walked back to the meeting place while doing some shopping and stopping at a church, I believe the Cathedral – Baptistery. At 4:00 we met up with the group in Piazza Santa Croce to get the bus to the hotel. While walking to the bus it started to rain.

After we checked into the hotel we had until 6:30 to be ready for dinner, giving everyone ample time to make themselves pretty. At the optional dinner, which was quite nice and a lot of fun, I sat with Roshni, Kreena, Nicola, Kamala, Mikki, Yolandi, Lisa, Kristen, Anne, Kenny and Vicky. I wasn’t overly impressed with the anti-pasta, but the pasta, lasagna and steak were all very good. We had a wonderful opera singer for entertainment, and some dancing music, I even did the Chicken Dance. Yes, I had some wine with my dinner too. I also dragged Simon onto the dance floor to dance and got to dance with Alberto.

At 10:30 we were rounded up to leave, as tonight was the nice for Space. I decided not to go, opting to have drinks at the bar with a bunch of other people who didn’t want to go to space. Unfortunately, the bar in the hotel was closed, so ended up just hanging out in the room with Nicola talking till 12:15.

Sep 30

European Discovery Day 9

Day 9 (May 16): Rome Sightseeing

Today why not discover the ancient ruins of Rome with a local guide and in your free time leisurely discover the secrets of the Vatican City and the Sistine Chapel.

This morning was an early morning so we could get into the Vatican early, and out of the Vatican early. I was up at 5:45, breakfast was at 6:30 and the bus left at 7, ughhh! We took the overland train again, OMG it was crowded!!!! It was so crowded that you didn’t have to worry about falling over since your body couldn’t move. And it wasn’t just the section by the door, it was the aisle too! People here at home would whine and cry if they had to take a train like this. Then it was back on the Metro, which seemed empty compared to the last train. When we got off we had to practically run, well it felt like it after spending the last 7 days on a bus, to the Vatican to get on line. The first people to get on line got our spot and then everyone trickled in after, not much we could do about trickling in since we had to walk single file past the line. Well, the tour guide who had the group behind us had a fit that we were cutting the line, I hear she threatened to call the police. Apparently Mondays are busy, they were expecting 15,000 people.

After waiting an hour we finally got in and had a guided tour. The tour was ok, I didn’t love it. First, the ear pieces were painful after about 5 minutes. The tour guide was a little too detailed about the art, I was also tired and had trouble concentrating on what she was saying. She did give us some good info, but the tour was probably best for people who are into art work, which I’m not. When we finished the tour I made a quick stop at a store to buy some souvenirs. I didn’t get a chance to go to the top of the Vatican or mail postcards, such is life.

I headed out with Nicola, Anne, and Alberto for some sightseeing, we finally got on the bus, where we ran into Monica and Michael. We got off at the Wedding Cake and walked up to the Pantheon for lunch. I ate lunch across from the Pantheon, how cool is that?! After that Anne went off by herself to sight see and the rest of us went to an internet cafe to update friends and family about our travels. Then we took a slow walk, while shopping, to the Spanish Steps for our 4pm meeting time. We didn’t see much today, but it really was a nice day, not too much running around and I felt like I got a little more of a feel for Rome then if we had run around. Although it would have been nice to see more I have no regrets.

After meeting we took the Metro to the overland train and the bus took us back to the hotel by 5:00. I took a quick nap and shower as all the walking and heat left me exhausted. As much of a dump as the hotel was, the dinner was pretty decent. I took a walk out back with Michael (from Canada) where we saw the nicer part of the hotel, the outside. We ran into Steven, Anne and Maya out there too. Then it was back inside to the hotel bar, which had the worst bartender I have have ever met. Lets put it this way, I had to settle for my 4th choice of drink, a Sprite. But we had a good time hanging out. It was an early night, got to bed at 10:30.

Sep 29

European Discovery Day 8

Day 8 (May 15): Venice to Rome

Southwards as we climb through the Appennine Mountains passing medieval hillside villages and travel to the Eternal City, Rome. Tonight a walking tour of this ancient city will include the Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona and the Pantheon.

Today I was up at 6:15 for a 7:00 breakfast, and hit the road for Rome at 7:30. At our lunch stop the line had gotten very long and some “Antiki’s” tried to cut the line, well actually they succeeded, but they didn’t cut me. Hans underestimates these Antiki people! We got to our hotel around 2:30 and had an hour to get ready before leaving for Rome. Our hotel looked really nice from the outside, but in fact was a dump! The only good thing was that we had a triple room, so I had an extra bed to put my stuff on.

At 3:30 we took the bus to the overland train to the Valle Aurillias stop, and transferred to the metro. We took the Metro to Termini and transferred trains to get to Colosseo. In general the metro was pretty crowded, covered in graffiti and kinda dirty. Oh, and some kids ear touched my hand, it was so gross! I miss the NYC Subway!

When we got off the Metro, and out of the station we got a view of the Coliseum, how cool! Hans gave us a few minutes to take pictures, I took them and then bought myself a cheesy coliseum replica. Hans walked us up Via Del Fori Imperial where we passed the Foro Romano and some other ruins. Then up to Piazza Venezia and to the Pantheon. Inside was quite cool, too bad Donatello’s tomb was covered for cleaning. Then we headed over to Piazza Navona for dinner, on our own. I had some yummy lasagna with Anne, Nicola, and Alberto, then had Gelati for desert. After dinner Hans took us past Piazza Colona, the Russell Crowe monument, through some mall over to the Trevi Fountain. I thought the Trevi Fountain was cool, I made my wishes and yelled at some guy who tried to sell me a flower. He did this by trying to stick it in my hand, I screamed at him. He went away. Then we headed past the Spanish Steps on our way to the tram. On our way we went by Police Anniversary thing, where they were giving away free stuff. We stopped to enjoy some Italian mayhem, I got a hat. The tram was packed, as in, packed like sardines, but we had a lot of laughs about it. Finally we got off the tram and had to take a much less crowded bus which dropped us off at the hotel. We got back around 10:30, finally called mom tonight, then crawled to bed at 11:30. Rome is very cool, but I was tired, and tomorrow would be an early morning.

Sep 24

European Discovery Day 7

Day 7 (May 14): Austrian Tyrol to Venice

Spectacular scenery as we head south to Venice. Enjoy a complimentary motor boat trip to see St Mark’s Square, the Doges’ Palace, the Bridge of Sighs and treat yourself to a gondola ride.

Got up at 6:00am, and the bus left at 7:30 for Venice. The first sight this morning was Reuben’s home in Hofpgartten. We started with a 3 hour drive till our first stop in Italy. Despite the dire warnings from Hans on how chaotic it would be, it wasn’t too bad. I even managed to get lunch and go to the bathroom. After lunch we had another 3 hour drive, during which a bug took up residence on my windowsill. Since I was afraid of this bug I asked Alberto to save me, all he did was taunt the bug, which didn’t move. And I thought he was a man! So I closed the curtain until Mike, Maya, and Anne saved me, Thanks Guys!!!! This horrifying incident was on top of my Pringles container opening and half the Pringles falling out into the bag it was in. I tried to get as many back into the container, but had to eat half because I couldn’t fit them in. While eating them, one got caught in my throat so I grabbed my bottle of water. To my surprise I had accidentally bought carbonated water, which is VILE, even worse when choking on Pringles. Oh, and did I mention that in the middle of the night I got up to go to the bathroom and bashed my leg on the bed, leaving a huge bruise. No, today wasn’t going well.

It had been raining all morning, but when we arrived in Venice around 2:00pm it had cleared up. Our first stop was glass blowing, again a brief interesting demonstration. The glass was too expensive for me though, so off we went exploring. Anne, Garry, Laurie, Nicola, Maya and I headed to the water bus for a ride to San Rialto, and met Mike on the boat. The bus was very crowded and we seemed to end up in the way whenever people were getting on and off. When we got off in San Rialto we got our first gelaties, they were yummy. We wandered around for a while in the general direction of San Marco Square stopping in shops. In Venice it doesn’t help to use a map, you just wander around and get lost. There are signs all over the place that will point you in the right direction, and I know they worked because we ended up in San Marco. When we got there we went to find a bathroom, here I had the pleasure of paying 50 euro cents to use a skuzzy co-ed bathroom, but at least there were toilet seats. Italy doesn’t have the best bathrooms…

So while waiting for Hans to meet us for our Gondolas rides it started to rain, and when it rains, it pours! Most bailed on the gondola ride, but 10 of us braved it in the rain. My boat had Me, Mike, Maya, Laurie and Garry. The other boat had Kristen, Yolandi, Lisa, Caitlin and Jenny. The gondola gave a different view of Venice, you got to see just how much Venice had sunk down and how rundown it had become from the salt water. It’s actually pretty sad because you could tell how nice it must have been in its day, but was looking kinda sad now. Oh, and no the Gondolier didn’t sing to us, but he wasn’t on his phone the whole time like I had heard some other people complain about.

After the Gondola ride Hans got Maya and I spots at the optional dinner. We hadn’t planned on going, but with the rain screwing things up we decided that was the best thing to do. The dinner really wasn’t much to write home about. The food was ok, the vegetarians didn’t like it at all. The entertainment was ok too, not terribly impressed by the guy not knowing the words to Thats Amore. Anyway, when we first arrived at the restaurant I noticed that the charm on my necklace was missing, I looked around the floor by me, but didn’t find it. The problem was that the last time I remembered having it was before the Gondola ride, obviously it was gone forever. But as luck would have it, at the end of dinner Steven found my charm on the floor, it’s a small miracle since I had only told one person, not Steven, that I had lost it.

After dinner Maya and I decided to take a little walk around before it was time to go back to the hotel. About 2 canals later I realized I had left my purse in the restaurant, what is up with me today??? Will nothing go right? So I ran back, and everyone was still there, as was my purse. Then I had to run back to meet Maya, you wouldn’t believe how far apart these canals were! I ran into other people from the tour who said Maya had left without me, but she had asked them to wait for me. Kamala and Mikki got the biggest, gaudiest, bags. Mikki’s was a Louie Vuitton, don’t remember who supposedly made Kamala’s, but they paid 20 euros. These bags were almost the size of my suitcase, they were hysterical!

After that we headed back to the hotel, I think we got there around 9:30. I had to drag my suitcase up a flight of stairs, that was nice. I tried to call home from here, but had trouble with the Contiki e-kit card. I ended up having to get pissy with Customer Service and they put my call through, of course when no one answered at my Mother’s office I realized it was Saturday and she wasn’t at work. duhhhh!

Sep 23

European Discovery Day 6

Day 6 (May 13): Munich to Austrian Tyrol

A scenic drive through the Bavarian Alps takes us into the heart of the Austrian Tyrol. En route, perhaps a chance to try White Water Rafting. Later relax in this picture postcard paradise.

This morning we were lucky enough to get an extra hour of sleep so I didn’t have to get up till 7am, yea! Today’s first stop will be Dachau Concentration Camp, since their was not enough interest in White Water Rafting. Actually, most people decided they would rather go to Dachau over rafting. The Concentration Camp was a very good experience, interesting to see. Apparently, in Germany students must go to a Concentration Camp by the age of 12, I think one of those school trips were there, as their was a group of kids, two of which thought it was a jungle gym. I would have killed them if they were my children.

Around 2:00 we got to Innsbruck, a quiet little city surrounded by gorgeous mountains, and home to the 1964 and 1976 Olympics. We first saw the Golden Roof, then headed to Swarovski where I bought some gifts for Mom, Heidi and Kelly. I grabbed lunch at a little bakery across the way with Cindy, Christine, Caitlyn and Jenny, it was a nice lunch and cheap too. At this point I decided that I wanted to move to Austria.

At 4:15 we were off to meet the bus and drive to the hotel we were staying at in Itter. Itter is a quaint little town where the neighbor milks his cows and walks them up the street to a grassy field, I was NOT in NY anymore! In Itter there is a castle and great views of the mountains, since we were part way up the mountain. Our room had a balcony, but it was hard to get the doors here to stay closed, the latches worked funny. We had a chance to take a walk or hang out for a while before dinner. Then after dinner we had more time to hang out and walk again. I took a walk down to the castle, but didn’t get further then the sign warning of a dog. On our way back we saw Laurie and Garry walking down to the castle, they came back a little while later, but now they were engaged. Garry proposed to Laurie by the castle, it was very sweet and a great setting. They are just the two nicest people, and a perfect couple, everyone was very happy for them. After that everyone hung around outside drinking until Hans sent everyone in so we didn’t keep the neighbors up. But he was nice enough to let Michael and I stay outside for a while since we were having a nice quiet chat. After a while we went in with the rest of the group. Mike carried me to the dance floor at some point, I danced with him till I got an opportunity to run away. Sorry Mike, I hadn’t had enough to drink. I also finally got to talk to Lynette and Steven, they’re very cool! Just before midnight Nicola and I headed up to bed, the bar must have closed at midnight because a few minutes later we heard people going to their rooms and trying to close their doors, remember they didn’t close right. The next morning I found out some never did get their doors shut.