Adventure-A-Day April – Excerpt Twenty Five

*The Adventure Continues*

July 2nd 2012
DAY TWENTY FIVE!!

Today we were to take the world’s highest cog rail up Jungfrau Mountain to see some brilliant views of the Swiss Alps that engulfed the small town of Lauterbrunnun.  The cog rail was pretty cool and it’s carriages were bright yellow.  It was to take about an hour to get to the top and we would have several stops so people could take photos.  There were a few sore heads on the train from drinking the night before.  I was only tired from having a very shit sleep and was certain I, along with others, had been bitten by bed bugs.  They were nasty little creatures that enjoy biting you, just to you are reminded of their presence by scratching all the time.

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On the way up the mountain, the weather was overcast but it make more a more eerie feeling when photographing the ginormous cliff faces and alps.  As we got higher and higher in altitude, the weather turned sour.  A massive blizzard was cooking up a storm on the top of Jungfrau and it wasn’t about to stop jusst because we came to visit.  I might add in here that it costs approx. $135 CHF to travel up the mountain, which is equivalent to approx $150 AUD today. Unfortunately, because of this blizzard, all outdoor activities were cancelled and some viewing platforms were closed.  Looking out the windows was like looking at a blank sheet of paper, blank and boring.  The fog and clouds were so thick that no matter how hard you tried, it wasn’t at all possible to see through them.

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There was one section of the complex that allowed you to venture outside and see snow.  I know a few people on our tour had never seen snow before so this was an awesome experience or them, but for me?  It was cold, wet and blowing a gail, so I didn’t stay out there long.  I stayed long enough to look like I was shovelling snow and  make a tiny snowball and take a selfie. I didn’t fancy being soaked to the bone and making my cold worse.

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Unlucky water droplet on the lens! :(
Unlucky water droplet on the lens! 😦

The only thing that was remotely good about the experince was the ice palace which had heaps of ice sculptures carved out and placed in what seemed like a huge igloo.  Swissman (aka Jayden) and I went exploring and shuffled our way through the tunnels.  Obviously it was cold, but the ice sculptures were pretty amazing and had so much detail.

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All in all, our experience on Jungfrau was not a great one and it definitely wasn’t worth the $135 CHF I paid, basically to just visit a gift shop.  If someone could guarantee me that the weather would be clear and sunny, I may consider another visit, but other than that, it’s just a tick off the list of things to do; been there, done that.

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Coming back into town, I had remembered I needed to relook at the Haggis tour.  There were still vacancies so I decided to book even thought I hadn’t yet heard back from my parents.  I had a feeling they would much rather me travel with another tour group than travel on my own.  Done and paid, I made my way back to camp to do some washing.  It was a rare thing for you to have good washing facilites so you had to take advantage of them when available.  While waiting for my clothes, I ventured into the Bomb Shelter and the bar tender poured me a drink.  A few others came in and we chilled while the bar tender was handing out tiny bottles of Red Bull Liqueur.  I still have mine, unbroken and sealed.  I don’t like the taste of Red Bull so I decided to keep it was a momento.

By that time it was ready to head up for dinner and for me to clear away dishes again.  The other dishies were just as helpful as the night before but I didn’t complain.  It wasn’t going to do anyone any good.

That night was a red and white party in the bomb shelter.  I wasn’t really interested in partying it up as I still had a bit of a head cold and the freezing weather hadn’t helped my system. I crashed early that night, knowing that we had an interesting day tomorrow.

Germany was back and that meant more beer. 😉

C. x

*To Be Continued*

P.s. Here are some photos of the town as we walked back to camp from the cog rail.

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Adventure-A-Day April – Excerpt Twenty Four

*The Adventure Continues*

July 1st 2012
DAY TWENTY FOUR!!

Today was a travel day and to be honest, it was probably one of the two most miserable days on tour weather wise.

We hoped on the bus in Hopfgarten, headed for the Swiss Alps. We were to take a lunch stop in Vaduz, Liechtenstein and a mid afternoon stop in Lucerne to do some watch shopping.

After crossing the border into Liechtenstein, we stopped at a cafe for lunch and had a chance to get our passport stamped in the 6th smallest country in the world. I got out some Swiss Francs out and and bought lunch which was a schniztel sandwich and chocolate milkshake. It was much nicer than the usual pringles and soft drink for lunch.

A small model of the castle in Liechienstein

The heaven’s opened up on our way to Lucerne and it didn’t stop for anyone. Arriving in the bucketing rain, we walked across the Wooden Chapel Bridge but didn’t really get to take the view in as 1, it was bucketing with rain and 2, we just wanted to get somewhere warm. I was pretty disappointed that I couldn’t get any photos of the bridge and surrounding buildings. Here is what Lucerne looks like on a sunny day, beautiful isn’t it?

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These photos are  what Lucerne looked like on the day we arrived.

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Harry’s Watch Store was our next stop and I was beyond excited about this experience. I had said from the start of my trip that I was going to buy a Swiss made watch in Switzerland! YAY!

It was warm and dry when we got into Harry’s which was a relief to everyone. I was excited about the watches but most people were pretty happy just being out of the rain. We got our own special welcome then was left to explore for what probably was an between half an hour to a hour. I was not leaving before I had bought a watch so I had to scramble back downstairs and start hunting out the perfect piece. I tried on a few ‘more expensive’ brands but nothing seemed to be taking my fancy until I found Swatch; bright, bold and fun.

I browsed the selection, noticing a few watches that I definitely took my fancy. One was standing out like a sore thumb (in a good way!!). It ticked all the right boxes: Bright and eye-catchy, silver/metal (not plastic or rubber), dimenties (shiny shiny) and it was a shade of pink (ok, it was more purple, but I could live with that ). The one box it gained a cross in was that the face was quite large. I have really small wrists and generally larger faced watches don’t suit. I looked but declined before I tried it on; however none of the others I liked really ‘stood out’ when tried them on. A few other girls had seem me looking at it and said, just try it on Candice! So I got the assistant and we ventured off to the display cabinet and got it out. She took it off the stand and handed it to me and I felt this flood of nervousness come upon me. I really liked this one but what if it didn’t look good? I’d have to start all over again. Luckily for me, and for everyone else in the shop I was holding up (tehe!), it was a perfect fit. The face surprisingly didn’t look overly massive and it was just perfect., TICK, TICK, TICK! (Bad pun?) It wasn’t too badly pricing either so everything was falling into place. (It is something I wear every day now that reminds me of my greatest holiday to date.)

Swatch watches are super awesome!
Swatch watches are super awesome!

Venturing back the coach and it was still raining so we got wet, again. It was time we made our way to Lauterbrunnan, Swiss Alps. The scenery during the trip was incredible even though it was raining the entire way there.

On the way to Lauterbrunnan, Cindy, our tour manager, said that if anyone wanted to book addition trips after this Contiki, to see her after we arrived. I still hadn’t decided on what I was going to do in Scotland for 11 days so I thought I might see if there were any trips around the time I was there. Someone also mentioned to me a company called ‘Haggis Adventures‘. They are a sister company of Busabout (another travel company who do tours around Europe). Haggis did tours just around the UK. I thought to myself, that sounds like a pretty good idea, I’ll chase that up when we arrive in case Contiki don’t have any tours.

After arriving at the Camping Jungfrau, we stored our bags in our rooms. Most rooms had some sort of balcony and our view was incredible. I took some photos and planned on sending them to my mum.

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I look some time out before dinner and went down to the computer lab, near the reception. I logged in for about an hour and found a Haggis Tour called, Island Explorer. It was a 7 day tour which departed from Edinburgh. It was going to cost me approx. $530 excluding accommodation which is paid for on the way. The tour left on the Saturday after I was in Liverpool and came back on the Friday night and I was due to leave Scotland on the Sunday morning. It fitted in perfectly but I still wasn’t sure because I hadn’t heard whether Contiki had any spots left. Cindy was going to get back to me after dinner. I decided to sleep on it, I sent an email off to my mum asking what she thought of the tour.

Dinner was up next and it was my turn to help out. Everyone was assigned a job and split up over all the stops we had. It was my turn to be what was called a ‘dishie’. I had to clear all the dirty dishes and take them into the kitchen once the people had finished eating. Not a huge problem when you have people helping you but that was the issue; lack of help. I ended up staying back late because not one else took the initiative to do the small jobs like wipe down the tables and push their own chairs in. I was however, rewarded by the forever grateful on site staff. A handful of chuppa chups, shot of Chilli liqueur and a hawaiian lay later, I ventured off to my room to get ready for what was happening after dinner. That was the EURO 12 Grand Final!

As most of you already know, I love my football and two of the greatest national teams in the world were eyeing off the trophy; Spain and Italy. Naturally, due to my major dislike for the Italian team (who robbed us in the 2006 World Cup), I was cheering for Spain. The game was a cracker and to my own delight and the hatred of others, Spain won with an impressive 4-0 victory!

During the game, our tour manager Cindy has confirmed with me that Contiki had no spots left on their England/Scotland tours. I had showed her the Haggis tour and she though it sounded great and that I would learn a lot more going with others, rather than by myself. I had pretty much convinced myself that I was going to book but I just wanted to see what my mum thought of the tour.

I didn’t stay long in the bomb shelter bar that night because I knew that tomorrow was going to be a big day. I was excited for the snow and an adventure on a cog rail.

Until then,
C. x

*To Be Continued*

Adventure-A-Day April – Excerpt Twenty Three

*The Adventure Continues*

June 30th 2012
DAY TWENTY THREE!!

Today was a jam packed day so I am going to break it into four main parts where you can still see my entire day but miss all the boring bits.

Action Packed Part One: White Water Rafting!
THIS WAS INSANE! I am so glad I did this. The water was so refreshing and jumping out of a raft into an Austrian river was one of the most exhilarating things ever. I was in the lead boat with the most experienced guide. I felt a little safer! His nickname was Scouse. This guy was awesome! He was of course a LFC fan, being a Liverpudlian or colloquially “Scouser”. YAY! I didn’t have a waterproof camera so I had to rely on the photos that were taken by the rafting company. It cost me around 15 euros for 2 professional photos.

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Action Packed Part Two: Paragliding!
After feeling super from the white water rafting, I was craving some another adrenaline rush. After being rushed off the coach, I jumped on the next bus which tumbled down the road so I could jump off a mountain. Pairing with an Austrian instructor who had been jumping for 12 years made me feel pretty safe until it was time to take off. Tahlia, my contiki buddy who took the same lift carriage as me, jumped before us. It looked pretty simple. Just run full pelt down a hill until the instructor tells you to jump. Piece of cake, right?

Absolutely not! As I was running down the hill, our parachute decided to think for itself and decided it didn’t want to fly today so came crashing back down to earth. I, along with my instructor, who I was strapped to, came tumbling to the ground and rolled down the hill to where it had landed. After untangling and detaching myself from my instructor, we walked back up the hill and my I held my head down in embarrassment. I was almost certain, I could possibly die from this so called adrenaline pumping activity. After overthinking my own possible demise, I was re-strapped to the instructor and running down the hill again. Thankfully, the parachute lifted correctly this time and off we went, flying over 1000m in the air. The feeling was incredible. I had already experienced something similar when I went parasailing in the Greek Isles but this was much cooler. We would determine on our direction and speed and even do tricks. The instructor alternated our left and right steering handles and we were swinging almost parallel to the ground. He then changed our direction so we were spinning around like a cyclone . It was insanely scary but exhilarating at the same time. Landing wasn’t graceful, sliding on your bum along the ground but at least you knew you were safe.

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Action Packed Part Three: Walk around Hopfgarten! (Ok, not so action packed but a nice stroll)
After arriving back from paragliding, I grabbed my Canon from my room and went for a stroll. There weren’t many houses near our camp and I needed to get some cash out for the night ahead so I set off to find the nearest local town which was in fact further than I had anticipated. If I had known it was going to be a hike, I may have invested in hiring a bicycle and using pedal power. Nevermind! I guess if I had, I would have missed taking these wonderful photos.

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Action Packed Part Four: White, Bright and Tight Party
I had invested in a fluro pink lace dress when shopping in Vienna, so I was set for the night. I had also bought a few bright bandanas, headbands and bracelets for the occasion which clashed with my pink dress but I guess that was the aim of the game. Everyone participated in the event and there was some very very bad pole dancing as our entertainment. All in all, a good night and many drinks were had. Check out the few shots I did get.

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Well, that about sums up the day nicely.

C.x

P.s. HAPPY BIRTHDAY NANNA

*The Adventure Continues*

Adventure-A-Day April -Excerpt Twenty Two

*The Adventure Continues*

June 29th 2012
DAY TWENTY TWO!!

We are 3/4’s of the way through our tour but we have so much to do still! Today we ventured out into Munich. In the morning, we made our way to Mike’s Bike Tours Munchen and cycled around on our cruiser bikes! This was quite amusing as I hadn’t been on a push bike in years! After a few wobbly turns, I balanced out and was pretty “cruisy’! 😉

We stopped several times, almost like a treasure hunt. We had to look for lucky lions, the golden line and venture into a church which just blew your mind. Take a look!

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Our ride entered the park, Englischer Garten (English Garden) and it was absolutely beautiful. It was all man made but looking from inside the park, you would have no idea you were in the middle of a city. We went to another beer garden for lunch. I didn’t think the beer was as good as the night before so I passed, however, I did buy my brother a 1L glass stein. It was going to be a challenge to get it home in one piece considering I still had over a month left on holidays.

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Just after lunch, we continued our ride through the park and we found some surfers, riding the Eisbach. This is a man made river through the park and has a manmade wave at one end. These people had to be crazy, the water was freezing! I switched my camera to sports mode and snapped away crazily. A lot of the surfers were doing tricks and some landed them; others weren’t so lucky. It was great to see them taking advantage of something in their own backyard since they no where near close to a beach.

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After dropping off our bikes off, we took to the streets of Munich to explore for ourselves. I ventured past the famous Glockenspiel and walked the up and down the strip between Marienplatz and Karlsplatz. I wasn’t on a mission to buy something but if I found a nice pair of heels, I wasn’t going to pass them up. 😉 Luckily for my bank account, I didn’t find one and I went back to the hostel empty handed.

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Dinner that night was indeed ANOTHER beer hall. However, this is the biggest beer hall in Munich, Hofbräuhaus. It wasn’t an optional extra on the tour but everyone wanted to go there so we took it upon ourselves to go. If I was to say the word pretzel, what would you think? A small, salty baked bread you can buy in a packet at the supermarket? In most cases, you could be correct, but not in Munich. The pretzels here were bigger than the size of a dinner plate! I had beer and pork knuckle, AGAIN! Can you blame me, when they look this amazing! 🙂

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After, dinner we consumed icecream and I found the largest beer stein in the world! (Excuse the dodgy photo!)

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Tomorrow was going to be a jam packed adrenaline day! I couldn’t wait!

C. x

*To Be Continued*