A Travellerspoint blog

Wednesday 17th January 2007

DAY 5 - CONTIKI TOUR 3 Barcelona

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After breakfast this morning we started our tour of Barcelona which included such sights as: Montjuic, the Olympic Stadium, the Waterfront area of Barcelona, the Arch de Triomphe of Barcelona and the National Palace.

After our city tour we watched a leather demonstration before taking a walking tour of the city with our tour guide Josh. Josh took us to see the Placa de Catalunya, the Cathderal, Palaca de Ray, Temple of Augustus and St. Philipe Nero. The amount of history in this place is truely amazing!

After finishing our walking tour we were able to explore the city ourselves and we headed down Las Ramblas which stretches from Placa de Catalunya to Monument a Colom and is a 1.2 Km walkway through the very heart of the city centre. Here you are able to see all sorts of stalls, restaurants, bars and street performers along with the many thousands of people on the promenade. It is a very weird and wonderful place.

After strolling down Las Ramblas we stopped for a quick bite of very late lunch before returning to the hotel as Katie was feeling a little unwell. While Katie rested Kylie headed down to the internet to update the website before returning to the hotel to get ready for tonights entertainment - A Flamenco Show!

Upon arriving at the Flamenco show was were treated to an amazing 4 course meal including the local speciality - Paella (either Chicken or Seafood variety - the chicken was better!) while watching the local family perform. Flamenco involves the use of the body, the feet and the hands to protray the message of the dance. It also uses the music to portray the mood and the performers we all very accomplished as they showed us each different element to flamenco dancing. Once again another wonderful experience!

Posted by kyliesyme 09:12 Archived in Spain Comments (1)

Tuesday 16th January 2007

DAY 4 - CONTIKI TOUR 3 Lyon - Barcelona

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As we decribed earlier, today was another bus day. We were stopped on our way into Spain for a passport check which involves the immagration officer boarding the bus while we all hold our passports out for him to see. We all managed to satisfy his requirements and no one was dragged off the bus so we were able to pass rather effortlessly into Spain. As like most 'bus days' there are various stops, most of the time at truck stops where we are able to buy snacks, lunch and any other requirements but as they are all fairly similar we wont mention the truck stops much as they are fairly boring and monotonous.

After arriving in Barcelona we headed straight to see Gaudi's famous La Sagrada Familia which is a large Roman Catholic basilica that is still under construction today and is unlikely to be finished until 2026 which also happens to be the 100th anniversary of Gaudi's death, although the likelihood of meeting this date is disputed. Considering that construction began in 1883 it is possible the longest running construction project ever, and to be totally honest both of us struggled to see validity of such ongoing construction. It was amazing to see, although neither of really liked it all that much, but we can both appreciate the enormity of the project and the amazing detail and vision needed for such a project.

After the Familia we headed to the hotel where we were able to find internet and check our emails as we were feeling a little cut off from the outside world before having dinner in the hotel.

Posted by kyliesyme 08:02 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Monday 15th January 2007

DAY 3 - CONTIKI TOUR 3 Paris - Lyon

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Today is what we call a 'Bus Day' which basically means we spent the entire day on the bus, broken of course by various stops. Apparently we will be having quite a few of these over the next few weeks, so unfortuently there is not alot to report on these days.

Today one of our stops was at Fountain Bleu where we were able to view the Chateux of Fountain Bleu which is an amazing Chateux with breath taking gardens. The gardens are absolutely massive and expand for as far as the eye can see. We were able to walk around a very small part of the gardens before heading back to the bus to continue our journey into Lyon.

Upon a arriving in Lyon we checked into the hotel before walking through the Historic area of Lyon where we had dinner. We were both very courageous a tried the French delicacy Escargot (snails) cooked in garlic and parsley. It was definately an experience and they actually tasted alright (kind of like Mussels) although we dont think we will be trying them again any time soon.

Posted by kyliesyme 07:55 Archived in France Comments (0)

Sunday 14th January 2007

DAY 2 - CONTIKI TOUR 3 Paris

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This morning after breakfast we headed into Paris for our free day to explore the city. As it was a Sunday, our first stop was the Notre Dame Cathedral. As the Cathedral closes to tourists after 9.30am for private services we luckily arrived in the nick of time and were able to enter the Cathedral just as the service began. It was amazing to walk around inside as the serivce progressed, listening to the amazing vocals which echo through the Cathedral. The Cathedral has amazing stained glass windows and it is a truely beautiful sight.

After Notre Dame, we headed along the River Seine to the Louve Museum. We were told that the lines would be quite large but when we arrived we were able to walk straight into the Museum and purchase tickets in a matter of minutes. Our first stop in the Museum was naturally the Mona Lisa. It is an amazing sights and we are still not sure if she is smiling or not, a true mystery. We then visited Venus de Milo before venturing to Napoleons Appartments and then French Gardens. We could have spent an entire day at the Louve alone but as we were running out of time we headed outside to Rue de Rivoli where we had a quick bite to eat.

After lunch we mistakenly found ourselves outside Jardin Du Luxembourg which is a famous Parisian park where the locals love to hang out. It was beautiful day in Paris and so the locals were out in force and as we strolled through the park we were taken back by the fact that we were in Paris hanging out with the locals.

After leaving the park we walked around the Place de la Concorde before deciding to head back to the park for a few minutes before catching the bus. We had originally decided to walk to the Eiffel Tower but after careful consideration and as we were running out of time we decided to sit in the park instead and get more a feel for the local life. We found ourselves some chairs and arranged ourselves in front of the pond where we were able to write a few postcards and enjoy the wonderful sunny day. We then headed back to our meeting point to catch the bus.

After returning to the hotel we quickly changed before we headed to our nightime entertainment - The Moulin Rouge.

Moulin Rouge was absolutely amazing. Words cannot explain how wonderful the show was and it was definately a highlight for us both. The show is definately entertaining with various acts including dancing, contortionists, magic shows and multiple variety acts, an all round entertainment extravaganza.

After the show we headed to the bar next door where some of the dancers from the show tend to go after their performances and we were able to see some of them there. After a quick drink we headed back to the hotel where we collapsed into bed after an exhausting day.

Posted by kyliesyme 07:29 Archived in France Comments (0)

Saturday 13th January 2007

DAY 1 - CONTIKI TOUR 3 London - Dover - Calais - Paris

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We woke early this morning and checked into our tour before boarding the bus and traveling across the english country side and into Dover. In Dover we had our passports checked by immigration and we then boarded the bus which then boarded the Ferry which took an hour and a half to arrive in Calais. We then drove through the French country side and on into Paris all the while listening to our orientation speech for the contiki tour. Upon arriving in Paris we checked into the hotel and had some dinner before we did a night time tour of the city.

The tour included icons such as: Arch de Triomphe, Champs Elysse, Palace de la Concorde, Notre Dame Cathederal, the Louve Museum and Mussee Dorsey before taking us to the Eiffel Tower. We arrived just as the Eiffel Tower was doing its hourly sparkel which was an amazing sight to arrive to and everyone quickly scrambled for their cameras.

We waited patiently in line to ascend to the third floor of the Tower but as we were given a deadline in which we needed to be back on the bus we arrived at the top of the Tower with about 6 minutes in which to 'enjoy' the views before starting our decent back down. It was rather disappointing not to be able to spend much time at the top as the views are amazing but the experience was still fantastic. We arrived back at the bus with seconds to spare before we returned to the hotel (minus a rather large group who were not able to make it back down in time!) where we headed straight to bed.

Posted by kyliesyme 07:18 Archived in France Comments (0)

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