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Thu. Oct. 10 - Contiki Day 12: Home stretch from Paris to London

 

After the clock struck 12, it was Laureen's birthday. During the first hours of her birthday, we gathered at a bar in Paris to celebrate her birthday.

Also, this was the final day of the tour. How sad? Ray and Angie stayed behind in Paris longer and we all said goodbye to them. Dallas and Helen tried out the Eurostar bullet train from Paris to London. It went like 300 km/h. We left Paris and stopped over at the Canadian War Memorial at Vimy Ridge, where one of the most brutal battles happened in World War I. The Canadian troops back then helped the Allies capture Vimy Ridge and turned the tide of World War I. That was Canada's first major international contribution as a young country back then. On that day, it was very solemn and we had a chance to meditate there. Some tried to figure out whether their ancestors were there back then fighting in that battle. The place resembled as though asteroids hitting Vimy Ridge leaving huge craters but still having grass on the ground. You could see French cities from there and so that's why the Allies capturing Vimy Ridge was significant to eventually help win the war. In spite of the brutal history, there were sheep to bring us some relief.

At lunch hour, we took the ferry across the English Channel from Calais, France to Dover, England and so Kyle played the Love Boat song when the coach entered the boat. Again, we reached the White Cliffs of Dover ending our footing on the European continent.

At 4:20 pm, we arrived at London and the tour ended at Royal National Hotel where we started from 12 days before. We all had the tour of our lives, especially bonding with each other. Kyle and Reuben loved being with us. Next year if I do go to Australia, I will seriously consider Contiki tours there.

For the next 2 hours, we checked into our hotels for the night in London. I needed a bit of downtime after a gruelling tour schedule. I watched some hilarious British TV shows in my hotel room.

Although the tour was officially long over, our bond with each other did not end. I postponed going all over London and dedicated this night to be with my tour group friends. Most of us met again for the last time at London Pub to celebrate Laureen's birthday again (lucky and blessed gal to celebrate twice in the grandest cities of the world: Paris and London) and a successfully fun tour together. That was a way to alleviate our sadness of leaving each other.

I was with my tour group until midnight and became a tired pumpkin (remember Cinderella). I gave my final hugs and goodbyes to my Contiki tour group friends and we all went our separate ways.

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