Paul Gilmore, Travel Specialist Email | Phone: 403-724-6081
Last year I was fortunate enough to enjoy a seven day Contiki trip along with 40 other travel agents from around the globe, and what an amazing adventure we had. If you're between the ages of 18-35 then a Contiki tour is for you. See more sites, enjoy more activities, and eat more authentic food, while staying in some pretty spectacular places along the way. The European tour we enjoyed didn't disappoint in any of these areas. And while the trip was a whirlwind, I have Contiki’s knowledgeable tour director, motor coach driver and staff to thank for helping me make new friends and gain memories to last a lifetime.
Starting in London, the tour began with a visit to visit the Contiki basement at the Royal National hotel, which acts as the meeting spot for all the Contiki trips starting in this city. This is your central hub, the place where you can email family and friends from public computers, meet up with fellow travellers in the common area, or store your gear before heading out to do some sightseeing. Touring this city builds up quite an appetite. Enjoy a twist on the classic bangers and mash with sticky pudding at the Porters in the Convent Garden's area (Wild Boar and Sage sausages with mashed potatoes and Spotted Dick for desert).
The next day we made our way to Dover and caught the ferry over to France to enjoy the amazing city of Paris for two nights. While the evening view from the Eiffel Tower will take your breathe away, a trip up the hill to Montmarte will leave you breathless for other reasons. A great mix of the old and the new - think cobblestone-lined streets and historic churches merged into the same area as great food and local bars. One of the area's hidden gems is a restaurant called La Bonne Franquette. Consider stopping by for a meal before taking in the cabaret fun at the Moulin Rouge. After a night of fantastic food and fun, it was time to be treated like royalty. And royal is exactly how we felt staying at the 16th century Château Fontainebleau, located in the Beaujolis region of France and which is owned by Contiki. While the rooms are standard and the washrooms are shared (gender separate), the views, wine, and experience was fantastic.
Our next stop was Lucerne, Switzerland, the place to get your chocolate fixes or power shop for a new watch or two. After a trip to the alps to check out Mount Pilatus, we rested our heads for the night at the Löwengraben Jail Hotel, the very first of its kind in Switzerland. Located in the heart of Lucerne, this former prison was built in 1862 and was converted into a prison hotel in 1999.
A truly unique experience, this hotel offers room ranging in size from bunk beds in a smaller room for a more authentic prison experience to a small suites in the former office of the prison director. You really have to see this place for yourself.
Our final stop was in Munich, Germany. After a bike ride through the city to the English gardens, we quenched our thirst with a quick pint at the Oktoberfest site before heading to our farewell dinner at the Löwenbräukeller for a traditional German meal of Schweinshaxe (pork knuckle) and strudel. Seven days went by far too quickly, but the memories made will last a lifetime.
Let me help you plan your Contiki adventure by contacting me via email or calling 403-724-6081.
With over eight years experience in the Travel industry – five of my most recent being here with AMA Travel – I’ve been fortunate to travel to many parts of the world. This summer I will add an Alaskan cruise and an Insight Europe trip to my list. I specialist in the South Pacific, Central America, and most of Europe.