Phone Op Sarah and Christen, staffers from Los Angeles radio station AMP 97.1′s Carson Daly show got the opportunity to experience Contiki’s European Magic tour, a popular 11 day tour that visits 8 different countries (England, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, and France.)
Sarah shares a recap of her Contiki adventure – and stay tuned next week for Christen’s side of the story!
Guest Blog Post by Phone Op Sarah, AMP 97.1′s Carson Daly Show
When I first found out I’d be going on a Contiki through Europe, I knew I would have an incredible time, but I didn’t realize it would be a life-changing experience.
I haven’t had the opportunity to travel much, so going to 8 countries in 11 days seemed a little daunting, but the trip was perfectly organized from sun up to way past sun down.
I got to do things that I may not be able to do for the rest of my life. Bobsledding down the Olympic track in Innsbruck, Austria? Sure! A swanky night at the Moulin Rouge? Why not?
Ever since I returned home from my Contiki, everyone’s been asking, what was your favorite city? It’s hard to say…it’s like a mother being asked to pick her favorite child!
But when push comes to shove, it has to be Venice. Living in Los Angeles, I’ve been to a lot of movie sets, but the real-life scenery there was so breath-taking that it almost seemed unreal.
My tour group began the morning with a walking tour so we could get our bearings. After that, we had plenty of free time to roam around, shop, and eat.
After a bit of searching, my tour mates and I found a hole-in-the-wall pizzeria where they only spoke Italian…that’s how we knew it was legit! They served the best pizza I’ve ever tasted and we even got serenaded by this adorable old man and his accordion.
We explored the amazing shops all over Venice. I found a stunning Murano glass bead necklace for my mother and I picked up a gorgeous Venetian mask for myself!
One of my favorite parts about Venice was getting lost in the streets. The main squares can get pretty crowded, but when you find some quiet alleyways, Venice somehow becomes even more beautiful.
Of course, I couldn’t leave Venice without going on a gondola ride. Thanks to Contiki, I got a much cheaper rate than if I had tried to reserve one on my own. Six of us piled into the boat with a couple bottles of Prosecco and off we went!
At first, we were disappointed when we found out our gondolier Giovanni wasn’t going to sing to us, so we did what any average 20-somethings would do…we sang Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” at the top of our lungs! We even got some other gondolas to join in with us. That’s a moment I’ll never forget.
After our ride through the canals, Contiki hooked us up with an incredible dinner. Salad, pasta, beef, a decadent dessert, and of course, unlimited wine! The restaurant was right on the water, so there’s no way I would’ve scored a reservation on my own.
All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a more incredible experience. Everything from our amazing tour manager to my new friends and the unbelievable sights was more than I had even dreamed of. And now that I’m an official globetrotter, I want to tell all you 20-somethings: Travel, immerse yourself in different cultures, and most importantly, make sure you take a moment to breathe it all in. Trust me, it’s worth every penny.