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Sun. Sept. 29 - Contiki Day 1: London to Amsterdam

 

Blaine and I woke up really early in anticipation of our fun and gruelling tour with Contiki. Our tour was called European Discovery. For 12 days, 41 other friends and I went all over Western Europe that the route formed a closed circle starting in London and ending in London. For sure, we had an all rounded tour, especially with accommodations. Our tour manager was Kyle from Australia and our driver was Reuben from New Zealand.

From our observation, our group was considered tame and conservative. Our group consisted of people from different countries representing all continents. Our people come from all walks of life. Some were police officers, pharmacists, engineers, financiers, government workers, health educators, and etc.. In the bus during day road trips, we were pretty tame and sort of quiet. While in the places we stop over, we partied very hard.

Our bus left Royal National Hotel and London in the early morning. We then headed for Dover, England (a.k.a. White Cliffs Country) to catch the ferry across the English Channel for the European continent. While on the ferry, I bonded with more of my tour friends and catching some fresh English Channel air at the same time. It was way more fun to take the ferry.

Around the noon hour, the ferry reached Calais, France indicating that we reached the European continent. Our bus drove through Belgium. At a stop over break, I bought Belgian chocolates for my co-worker, Mira. That was our only account of being in Belgium. We went through Holland seeing windmills and ponds outside. Finally, we reached Amsterdam.

Our hotel called Hotel Lake Land was where yachts were docked and so I nicknamed our hotel as The Yacht Club.

After dinner, our tour group went on a candlelit cruise along the canals in Amsterdam. We really bonded with each other during this cruise. We saw some of the landmarks but in almost pitch black conditions.

We noticed first hand that the real Amsterdam's mainstream culture was sex and marijuana. Prostitution is legal there and so the prostitutes have to register with the government. It is common for prostitutes to stand behind the window to lure potential customers as though it's window-shopping. The average coffee shop in Amsterdam sells marijuana, because it's legalized there. Of course, no one can smoke marijuana on the street but restricted to the coffee shop. That was real life in Amsterdam.

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