27 DAYS OF SUMMER FUN AND SAILING W/ TOPDECK
CIAO FRIENDS AND FAMILY!
I have no idea of how to write this post as the past month of non-stop travelling has been crazy and an absolute whirlwind, much like this blog post probably...
So, let me start from the start.
Back in March, 2017 i booked a 27-day Topdeck tour that would take me through 13 different countries which also included 3 days of sailing in Greece, which basically sold it for me.
I decided to do a Topdeck/tour when i first got to the UK rather than later so that i kind of got a feeling for places i did/didnt like as well as purely wanting to see Europe!
I had a few people ask me why Topdeck? What is Topdeck? Why not Contiki? And in all honestly i went with Topdeck as i knew it wasn't going to be as sex, drugs & rock n roll as i heard Contiki was, my parents did Topdeck about 25 years ago so i've heard all their stories, and I've had friends that did Topdeck too. It wasn't a matter of which was better, i simply just decided to go with Topdeck from the very start.
Now, booking a Topdeck you have to take a lot of things into consideration. You have to decide first and foremost your budget which will depend on what TYPE of Topdeck you do and how LONG you do a tour for. There are different types of tours you can do accommodation wise. I decided to do Hostel Plus, which basically meant that i got a mixture of everything (no tenting though-thank god) and it fitted into my budget i had created :)
The next thing you have to think of is WHERE you want to visit.
My mum got me to write a list of the places i wanted to visit the most so i could see the tours that were the best fit for me. It was hard because both Spain and Greece were both high up on my list but i couldn't find a tour that had both and weren't one of the longer ones (as they could not fit into my budget whatsoever). So i decided to go with Greece over Spain and god knows how i reached that decision.
There are so so many tours to choose from and it can be quite overwhelming, so having an idea in your head of how long you want to go for and where you want to go is definitely very helpful!
Now to the Topdeck tour that i chose: Summer Fun and Sailing! 27 days, 13 countries. I picked this tour due to it being a month long, fitted my budget and hit most of the places i wanted to visit the most. And 3 days of sailing in Greece!? YES THANK YOU!
In my month long tour i visited: Paris, Lauterbrunnen (Switzerland), Nice, Monaco (a country in itself), Florence, Rome, The Vatican City (another country within a city), Greece (island of Corfu), Tirana (Albania),Dubrovnik, Zadar (Croatia), Venice, Munich, Prague, Berlin and Amsterdam. PHEW! Honestly, when people ask me where i went in person i can never remember each place! It got to the point in the trip i was saying 'gracia' in Munich....???? It was almost like i was jet-lagged but i was country lagged.
I still cant believe i have been to all those places!!
Now, a lot of the places we went we had a free day which was always the best part of the tour! That meant we could do whatever we wanted (depending whether or not we had booked an optional activity through Topdeck) which was awesome! Now im not gonna lie, there were a HELL of a LOT of walking tours. Pretty much every place we went to involved a walking tour or bus tour, or if we were really lucky we would get both :) :) :)
When it comes to my favourite and least favourite places we visited, i was pleasently surprised due to the places i was looking forward to not the least but not at the top of my list ended up on the top of my list, and vice versa - I HOPE THIS MAKES SENSE!!!
I'll start with my least favourite.
Paris. Paris was not great. Now, dont get me wrong. The main part of Paris with all the sights eg. The Eiffel Tower, The Lourve, Champs-Elysées and Arc de Triomphe were beautiful as well as the surrounding streets. But the amount of hagglers everywhereeee, the fencing around the Eiffel Tower and the general feeling of feeling unsafe and like i was going to be mugged at any time was not great. It was probably only one of the few places we visited that i really felt i had to hold onto my bag and keep an eye on it 24/7. It's hard to put into words what i felt about Paris but i know i wasnt the only one who didnt enjoy it as much as i thought/expected. None the less, i still had a really fun, beautiful day roaming around Paris, and stumbling upon thee most amazing french bakery was definitely the highlight!
Now my most favourite places (because there is no way i can choose just one) in no particular order:
Florence (less than 24 hours here did not cut it whatsoever!)
I'm not going to get into too much detail with these places (but I'll do a quick highlight about each place) because they are all quite different and they are my favourites all for different reasons, but my spare day in each of these places (excluding Florence because we arrived at 3pm and left the following morning nice and early after a walking tour and an hour to roam around) were INCREDIBLE! Honestly, so much love for each place. Makes me so happy just thinking about it!
Dubrovnik: I met up with two of my uni friends and we went to a wee beach called Banje Beach and it was so so soooo nice!! The water was nice, the sun was perfect and was just a nice, simple few hours that required minimal effort. bliss.
Florence: We went to a Karaoke bar which was INSANELY HILARIOUS and me and my friend Caitlin (that i had only known for a week) got up in front of not our our group but probably several others and sung 'Man, i feel like a woman!' by Shania Twain. FUCKING HILARIOUS! Still cracks me up that we actually did that hahahaha. The overall vibe of the city was beautiful and i can't wait to go back and explore the city!
Venice: This day was magical! We started with a mini walking tour of the city and then did the iconic Gondola ride where we had a lovely man by the name of Fabio who sung to us *enter heart eye emoji here* BLISS! We found our way to the infamous book store Libreria Acqua Alta, I brought a bright yellow 'authentic italian leather' bag (haha definitely not authentic) and we went into St Marks Basilica which was BEAUTIFUL!!! Venice was so quiet (due to no road vehicles) and absolutely picturesque!
Amsterdam: Biking round this city was crazy! Definitely not reccommended after 7 or so beers at the Heineken Tour (which i 100% recommend if you're ever there!!!) but hey, we survived! Also i got my first tattoo - tehe :)
Prague: Prague was one of the only free days we had that didn't involve a walking tour (instead we had it the day we arrived)! The whole day it was pissing down so we decided to have a'treat-yo-self' day! From a thai massage (most hilarious/randomest experiece in a long time) to getting our nails done- it was super casual and relaxing. Also got to watch the first porno ever made (!!!) and me and two other girls got low key lit over delicious mexican and cocktails and ended up at an irish bar discussing god knows what!
Its funny because it wasn't until day 17 of the tour (free day in Dubrovnik) and i was swimming in the ocean that it hit me i was actually on the other side of the world and this was my life- swimming in the beautiful water of Croatia! Sounds super lame, but its probably one of the moments i will remember for a long long time :)
We had a full bus. I think at one stage we had 54 people?! We were super lucky that we didnt get a dud group! Everyone on the tour were super fun, interesting and just down for a good time - which is exactly how it should be when travelling around Europe! I think i can say for most people on the tour that they left after the 27 days with friends they will have for a long time! We are already talking about our reunion!!
Hmmmmm what else.... god i have probably left out heaps!
I'm going to do another post on the pros/cons of doing a Topdeck (in my personal opinion) as well as what to and not to bring.
Trust me on this: YOU DO NOT NEED EVERYTHING YOU THINK YOU NEED!!!!!!
So there we have it, a quick (yet not so quick) sum up of my 27 days abroad!
Let me know your thoughts, questions, opinions etc etc!