Contiki’s Virtual Travel

There are somethings in life that VR will just not replace. One such thing is the experience of a Contiki tour. Or can it? I just read an article on Travel Week where with $149 for 3 hours you can experience a 3D VR experience of world wonders like Oktoberfest in Germany.

I’m sorry but there is nothing close to Oktoberfest in Germany then…

Oktoberfest in Munich
Oktoberfest in Munich

Not Even…

Oktoberfest in Kitchener-Waterloo
Oktoberfest in Kitchener-Waterloo

I have been on 3 and soon to be 4 Contiki Europe trips, and the experiences you get from days with people from all over the globe just cannot be virtually obtained. Especially the smells of cities like London, Paris, Rome, Venice are also part of the experience. Travelling is to me about the experience more so then just seeing the sites.

Check it out here http://www.contiki.com/virtually-unlimited

Note: I wrote this post before visiting the actual Contiki site about this.

A Difficult Goodbye

Describe the last difficult “goodbye” you said.

My last difficult goodbye was in London last fall. It was so difficult when you are in such a close group of people on a bus tour, knowing that you will likely never see any of them again to say goodbye.

This one in particular was hard for the main reason I was extremely tired. That day we started the day with an early departure from Amsterdam to try to catch the 1PM ferry in Calais.

When I should have been getting some well needed rest after an incredibly active day of walking many kilometres rather that trying to translate Dutch to take the street cars, the worlds most annoying creation decided that it was time for no one to sleep at 3:30am. That annoying creation was a damned rooster. Although I could probably sleep over the sound of a rooster in this instance, it was several dozen of those buggers.

Last Live Performance

What was the last live performance you saw?

London Street
London Streetscape

The last live performance I saw was Legally Blonde: The Musical at the Savoy in London. This was the first time I went to a show in London. I bought my tickets at a little kiosk on Charing Cross Rd.. It was a nice sunny afternoon, I was going to see an afternoon movie but for some reason I decided not to. I think the main reason was I has so much left to see in London and I seen a sign that morning for the Transport for London (TFL) museum and since I love subways I decided that was too important to miss.

I was so thrilled with my purchase and they even gave me a map of where to find the theatre. So after a quick-lunch and email check at the Burger King, I was off to find this museum from memory and some moderately accurate street directions. When I then saw something “shiny” (metaphorically). It was a little stair well to a Ray-Ban designer shop. I when in and tried on every pair. Things appear more magical when travelling.

Then I found the museum and it was 100x better that I imagined the museum to be. It was a second london gem that interested me by surprise like the H.M.S. Belfast that prior to the day before I had not known existed.

Stage setupAfter I when back to the hotel to drop off my new souvenirs and to dress more formal for the theatre. When I got off the tube at Charring Cross I seen the map at the station to get general bar rings as it was about a 5 minute walk. I kept walking and started to question if I had gone too far then I saw the bright pink glow around the bend from the large sign.

I quickly get in created and find my perfect centre seat about 8 rows from the stage about 20 minutes before showtime. After 5 minutes an usher comes and explains that the Ticket seller double sold the same seats and that in typical London hospitality I was given a new seat one row back. Then the show started and was such an amazing musical in such a fashion that held it’s own only differing slightly from the movie storyline and incredibly well acted. It was also really pink.

A Risk Worth Taking, Rafting in the Austrian Tyrol

Rafting in Austria
Rafting in Austria
Rafting in Austria

Last month my trip to Europe was a big spur of the moment trip that had very challenging air travels with all the delayed flights. But when I was in Austria deciding to go rafting was a huge enough risk. As we were being rushed, on the dark and rainy day, to get changed and that I need to lose some more weight and the suit was so tight that it was harder to bend I was not able to zipper up my wet boots, so they were quite loose. Add to that I have not actually swam in about 10 years, and I was not a very string swimmer back then.

About 5 minutes into the rating trip the guide, asked me to jump into the water and then swim back to the boat to practice safety. All that was going through my mind at that moment was how cold the Alpine water would be, and my glasses falling off. Without thinking much further I was underwater. I also had not gotten a good breath of air either. It was slightly difficult and took what seemed like forever to decide what way was up. Fortunately having a life jacket on I determined the direction I was floating was up and it was right.

Then as I reached the surface, I was so relieved that I had air again and that I could actually still swim. Then as a started to swim to the boat, I realized that the boots were too loose to swim. I had gone to the gym mostly cardio so my legs were good to swim, so I had to use only my arms. I finally made it to the boat fairly quickly but as I tried to pull myself into the boat but had no arm power left but the others pulled be in fairly easily.

The rest of the trip was amazing and fun. I definitely do rafting again, this time I would need to get a little fitter on my arms and practice a little swimming first. Also make sure my boots fit properly.