After lugging our suitcases down 7 flights of stairs and up 2 to get to our meeting place, we were exhausted before our tour had even begun!
Our friendly guide, Carlos, introduced himself, although I'd already recognised him from the brochure. We jumped on our bus with Laura, our very cool bus driver and headed through the lovely Czech countryside. Past fields of bright yellow canola, rivers, green mountains and pointy roofed houses nestled in cute little towns. We did some "speed dating" on the bus to get to know our fellow passengers and everyone seemed pretty cool.
Our first stop was the unsual and slighlty freaky Church of Bones then it was on to Olomouc where we stayed for our first night. We did a walking tour through the town, had a group dinner then headed to the aeroplane bar - quite litearlly a plane done up as a nightclub. A little tight and smoky but very cool although I didn't stay for a drink, wanting to be prepared for the following day.
Day 2 was a tough one - we visited Auschwitz. A sobering and heart wrenching experience for everyone. The first shock for me was
how attractive the buildings were, especially at Auschwitz 1. It was a very moving afternoon.
We drove to Krakow and that evening everyone headed out for a night on the Vodka at Diva Nightclub. Carlos told us that Vodka originates from Poland, not Russia so the girls and I thought it only polite to try the different varieties, including the 95% one...
The following morning the hardcore players amongst us had elected to sign up for the early bike tour of the city. It was raining so we donned our raincoats and ponchos and headed off for what became my favourite thing on the tour. Our group was great and our guide fantastic. We did 3 hours in the rain and I almost wet myself laughing all the way between falling in the mud, ringing my dodgy frog croak sounding bell and pedalling like mad doing the whole ride in first gear on the advice of a fellow passenger that my gears didn't work. 15 mins before the end of the tour our guide showed me that my gears did, actually, work and that I had pedalled furiously purely for the entertainment of the whole group.
was Mother's Day that day (in Oz) so I took Ibi out to a gorgeous little Polish restaurant for traditional food. We spent the rest of the afternoon shopping and that night Carlos taught a few of us salsa at a great little bar.
On Day 4 we headed to the beautiful town of Zakopane. Nestled amongst snow capped mountains, it was breathtaking and charming. We tried the unusual cheese which looked like bread then a group of us decided to walk to the top of the mountain then ride the fernicular down. Mum has a slighlty dodgy knee but was determined to do it and she did, earning the gold medal from all of us. More shopping in the colourful markets then dinner with the whole group at a restaurant that can only be described as a vegetarian's nightmare but the food was great and the Polish cowboys (as I called them) entertaining.
The following morning it was back on the bus, driving through Solvakia and in to Hungary. This is when Mum and I got the sad news about Pa so we finished the tour early, unable to continue on to Croatia.
We had such
a wonderful time thought with our group. The people were fantastic and we made some firm friendships and great memories of Eastern Europe. x
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