Contiki Travel Log: 2016 EU Discovery

After more than 1 year sitting in my Google Docs, I’ve finally decided to post this up. I wanted to make it more long-form like a proper article, but sometimes you just have to go for it! So here it is:

Prep

  • Bought Oyster card (with GBP 20 credit) in advance. Shipped from London to KL within 2 weeks.
  • Bought GiffGaff (UK telco) sim card in advance. Shipped from Singapore to KL within 1 week.
    • Free GBP 5 credit and loaded another GBP 15 extra.
    • Enabled auto reload of GBP 15 when credit runs low.
    • Purchased Unlimited Text, Calls and Always on Data package for GBP20

KL

  • Checked in and dropped baggage at KL Sentral. Received meal vouchers for connection in Dubai.
  • Took KLIA Express to the airport
  • Went through security
  • Went through automated immigration checkpoint. No queues… yay!
  • Boarded EK347

EK347

  • Aisle seat with no neighbors. Yay!
  • Leg room much better than expected. Very comfy, I could stretch out all the way.
  • Dinner and snacks were top notch. Quality was excellent and portions were good.

Dubai

  • “Randomly” selected for drugs screening. WTF!?
  • Dinner (again) at McDonald’s (meal voucher)
  • Boarded EK007

EK007

  • Not a full flight, so took an aisle seat with no neighbors. Yay again!
  • Slept all the way to avoid jet lag when arriving in London at 7am.

London (May 11)

  • Queued at immigration control for about 15 minutes. The line was long but it was organized and moving quite quick.
  • Q&A with a friendly senior immigration officer. Mentioned #contiki and had a good laugh. All was good and he “wished me good luck”.
  • Took the tube, Heathrow to Russell Square.
  • Stored luggage at Contiki Basement
  • Went to Madame Tussauds
    • Took a bunch of photos with the help of staff members 🙂
  • Went to London Eye and took the ride
    • Took some photos with the help from some locals 🙂
  • Went to Borough Market for late lunch
  • Back to Contiki Basement, took luggage and checked into Royal National Hotel
  • Skipped the initial tour meeting for dinner at the Maze Grill & Bar with a colleague from the London office
    • Service was amazing!
    • Best steak I’ve had yet!
    • Quick tour of the kitchen
  • Back to hotel and met 2 roommates that had just finished a 46-day tour around Europe!

London (May 12)

  • Met with entire group, checked luggage weight (<20kg), confirmed emergency contact details and special dietary requirements with Anna (Trip Manager)
  • Onto the bus with Branislav (Trip Driver), destination Port of Dover

Port of Dover (May 12)

  • Missed the earlier scheduled ferry due to unexpected heavy traffic in London
  • Went to the rest area.
    • Sundry Shops, Burger King, Donuts
  • Boarded the ferry
    • The bus parked at the bottom deck. No passengers allowed at the bottom deck while ferry is on-route
    • Went up to the upper decks for some snacks
      • Sundry shops
      • Restaurants

Amsterdam (May 12-13)

  • Evening canal cruise with an open bar
  • Went through the Red Light District and went into a club for a sex show…funny & hardcore
    • Volunteers, banana
  • Coffeeshop
    • Managed to enter Bulldog by separating from the group, acted like an individual
      • Bought some good stuff, went out and headed to the bar
  • Bar was already closing, followed a group and hung out on the streets and explored some shady-looking alleys
  • Went to Rijksmuseum and took a photo near the I AMSTERDAM sign
  • Walked towards

St. Goar (May 13)

  • Beer Stein Demo
    • History of why and how beer steins were made
    • Bought 1 Contiki themed beer stein
      • Designed specifically for EU Discovery Tour
      • Unique serial #530
  • Wine Tasting
    • History of winemaking in the Rhine Valley
    • Free shot glass!
  • Hung out at the hotel bar for some drinks and fun games such as “never have I ever”

Munich (May 14)

  • Mike’s Bike Tour with Matt
  • Hung out at the hotel bar for a while
  • Walked 10min to a metro station near the hotel
    • Took the wrong train and ended up getting lost
    • Called an Uber and went to some random bar

Austria (May 15)

  • Rafting
  • Bought Swarovski jewellry
  • Saw the Golden Roof

Venice (May 16)

  • Gondola ride

Rome (May 17-18)

  • First laundry service for 20 euros
  • Hung out at the hotel bar/dance club – Jetlag
    • Danced with the group
    • Funny story about Bruno in Amsterdam
  • Vatican Museum
  • Colosseum

Florence (May 19)

  • Surprise dinner date
  • Space Disco
  • Bought leather belt.

Lucerne (May 20)

  • Amazing view from the top of Mt. Stanserhorn
  • Stayed at the Jail Hotel
  • Late night visit to a Hookah Bar

Paris (May 21-22)

  • Eiffel Tower light show and then went up!
  • Fragonard Museum
    • Love the Etoile and Frivole perfumes!
  • Climbed Arc de Triomphe
  • Cabaret at Nouvelle Eve
  • Clubbing all night long till the following morning as it’s was our official last night together

London (May 23)

  • Bus ride back to London
  • Hookah @ Sandwich shop across the hotel
  • The flight back home!

This trip changed my outlook on life and eventually how my career progressed from working in an office to working remotely while traveling the world. More on that in a later post.

To a new beginning…

Contiki Family
My Contiki Family