By Contikivacations | June 18, 2013
Traveling to an exotic, far-off destination gives many travelers a reason to celebrate. We travel to celebrate our birthdays, special milestones (shout-out to all the high school and college graduates in the Class of 2013!), or they want to have an amazing backdrop for a special event, such an engagement or even holiday photos!
Contiki traveler Ngoc L. (featured in Contiki's new Americas brochure, pictured left) decided to enhance her Berlin & Prague + Vienna tour with Contiki by adding a special photo session on her tour - she recently got engaged and wanted Prague as her backdrop.
Read on as she tells Contiki why she wanted to take advantage of her European vacation to capture some amazing shots of her and her future husband!
Which Contiki tour did you recently travel on?
I chose the Berlin & Prague + Vienna tour. I had already visited Europe three times before (my first time on a Contiki), but I had never explored Eastern Europe. My fiancé and I have always been interested in World War II history, and Berlin was the perfect place to learn more from the center of so many historic WWII moments. We even learned unexpected facts about post-war Berlin, like the many desperate and dangerous attempts East Berliners made to get on the other side of the wall. Having an excellent local tour guide and tour manager helped us make the most of our trip. I also have family in Germany and arrived early so I could spend some extra time with my cousin. He introduced us to people from all over Europe who have made Berlin their home. Berlin is definitely an international city. We enjoyed a typical Berlin Sunday by café hopping and open market shopping.
Prague was everything we imagined and more. The architecture brought us into a real life fairy tale. We indulged in the sights and the vibrant nightlife there. I also discovered what goulash is on our riverboat tour, and now I’ll forever be searching for authentic goulash in California. We made our brief stay in Austria a foodie adventure. We had chicken schnitzel eating contests and then immediately consumed decadent Sacher chocolate cakes and apple strudels.
You decided to maximize your time on tour by having your engagement photos taken. What gave you the idea and how did you go about making it happen?
I participated in the Contiki America photo shoot campaign last year, and I realized just how awesome it was to have a professional photographer take pictures of us having fun as we traveled around. When it came time for my fiancé and I to decide where we wanted to take engagement pictures, we thought, "Why settle on the same locations everyone else chooses? We're going to Prague--one of the most romantic and beautiful cities in the world!" It was an easy decision.
After that, I did what anyone else would do--I Googled "Prague photographer." To my surprise, we had plenty of options. I scoured photographers' websites and blogs and emailed many different photographers until I found one I could trust. We chose Raifa & Tomasz Slota Photography (http://www.rts-photo.com/). I'm glad we did because Raifa was professional, friendly, patient, and talented.
Tell us more about your inspiration for your photos and any funny anecdotes about the experience.
I grew up loving fairy tales with castles and princesses. This was my opportunity to fulfill a childhood dream. Additionally, my fiancé and I are pretty geeky. We knew that we wanted to pay homage to our favorite movie, The Lord of the Rings. We purchased replicas of The One Ring and Evenstar. We trekked to Prague Castle so we could have a "medieval" environment, and the rest is evident from the pictures.
It was 30 degrees Fahrenheit that day, but I was wearing a thin, lace-sleeved dress and running around in platforms over cobblestone roads. Although it was a crazy clothing choice, I think it all worked out. We took warm, spiced wine breaks in between locations. This led us to a great restaurant with a rooftop overlooking Old Town Prague. You can see this restaurant when you're at the top of the old Astronomical Clock.
The most amusing part for us (and apparently others) was when my fiancé and I had an audience as we took pictures in front of the astronomical clock. We must be on 100 different cameras belonging to random people from China, Italy, and wherever else the tourists were from. The tourists cheered us on with applause and whistles. I think they thought we were famous or something. K-pop stars perhaps? In any case, our favorite tourists were some of the friends we made on Contiki who happened to be in front of the Clock at the same time. They jumped into a picture with us, and now we'll have that great moment captured forever.
Congratulations Ngoc! These photographs turned out beautiful!