Day 12 - 07/07/2002 - Germany, Switzerland [Day 3 of Contiki Tour]
I am learning to sleep with the noise of snoring ... probably from sleep deprivation - tend to be getting to bed around 2am and getting up around 6am! but feeling ok and occasionally taking power naps on the bus.
Crossed the German border to Switzerland. I thought the Germans were efficient, but Swiss neighbours might supersede them. Apparently, if a train is scheduled to depart at 12:05 and 15 seconds, then it will leave at 12:05 and 15 seconds. Switzerland has remained a neutral country and we were told that they have an amazing system that allows them to shut down and fortify their country in about 10 minutes! (they blast rocks to block all roads and tunnels into the country, have fallout shelters, hidden runways and could shoot down any air attacks).
The lookout one the German/Swiss border was nice, but the food was heavily over priced (as expected).
Spent the afternoon in Lucerne. Got taken to a watch shop. Walked to "Lion" monument (meant to be the thing most worth seeing) - not that exciting and smaller than it looked in brochures. Climbed up some towers for a view of the city - the staircases are a court case waiting to happen.
Had a beautiful ice-cream sundae, with strawberries, bananas, chocolate, caramel etc etc.
Got back on the dreaded bus (we get sick of driving, but it is a means to an end) - this time the bus trip was a real treat because we got some great views of the Swiss Alps.
Stopped at our hotel in Switzerland. Seems nice, mainly because of the great views and waterfalls outside our room. It is much more "cosy" than any of the previous hotels - a lot like a nice community ski lodge (probably because it is a ski lodge in winter).
MOVIE: Swiss Alps [MPG 70KB]
Dinner at the hotel was spinach soup, followed by cheese platter, chicken schnitzel with chips and chocolate pudding (that suspiciously tasted a lot like Yogo) - nice meal, but I wish we could have chosen some of the other dished on the menu, because they looked delicious (especially the cheese fondue). The service was a bit rude, but maybe it has something to do with the Contiki stigma unfairly associated with our group.
Went to the hotel pub (beer garden) where the rest the people on our bus are staying. The hotel is owned b an Australia, and it is the first place I have been to where VB is considered a "premium" imported beer @ AU$5 a can! Other drinks were reasonably priced, and the girls let some of the guys have some "Bacardi Breezes" without teasing us. Had a "Spanish Inquisition" from about 10 girls that were sitting around me and asking me every "personal" question know to mankind - when it was my turn to ask them questions, they decided that it was time to move on to the next destination (I think that they could have been better ambassadors for the female species).
Went to a Contiki beach party at the Contiki campsite down the road. I was a bit dubious because of the wild stories I have heard about these places (thinking that they may have been animals), but it was cool. We had a great time and saw a different side of many people - it is funny what a little alcohol and some dancing can do to some people. They play a lot of Kylie (which, obviously, was good) - Kylie seems to be very popular in Europe (more so than Australia, if that is possible) ... when I caught my flight into London, she was on the front page of the newspaper - I asked Dennis if that was normal, and he said that she is in the newspaper every second day - I said "they must love her", he said "I think they just love her ass".
MOVIE: Electric Avenue [MPG 150KB], Greased Lightening [MPG 300KB]
Greg had a fatal injury at the end of the night ... after his exhausting dancing, he decided to take his shoes off on the dance floor and proceed with his socks on (I don't know why he does this, I mean he is not wearing high heals or anything ... maybe he sees the girls doing it and doesn't quite understand) - anyhow, he started to some Irish dancing and slipped (I nearly caught it on film, but missed it by seconds). His foot hurts, but I don't think it is too bad - he made me half carry him back to the hotel, but by the time I am writing this, he can walk again.
Had a great time getting to know more people today. Got to have some more deep and meaningful conversations, and it is only the third day of the tour. Having lots of laughs and lots of fun.
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