I'm back on UK soil again ^_^
My week away in Berlin and Prague with Contiki was incredible and I thought I'd share some of my photos with you guys along with a couple of stories.
(1) Berlin Wall (2) Snowy Day in Berlin (3) Statue in front of Berlin Cathedral with the Berlin TV Tower just visible through the snow in the background (4) Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe aka Holocaust Memorial (5) Brandenburg Gate - Thank you to the Lorry Driver for parking right in front of it!
Berlin was the first stop on our tour and we begin with a fantastic local dinner with traditional german food which gave me a chance to get to know some of the other people on the trip - almost all of us were travelling by ourselves which meant we were all in the same situation of wanting to be sociable and get to know everyone.
The next day (after a late one at the hotel bar socialising ^_^) we took a short coach ride over to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp which was definitely worth visiting and I learnt a lot about what life was like within a concentration camp and all the horrible happenings that went on there. The atmosphere within the camp was 'heavy' with the snow adding to the vast and empty feeling that the camp had.
After visiting the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp we headed back into Berlin and for something more 'light' and I took the opportunity to grab lunch with some of the other girls on the tour. As you can imagine with six girls we soon we're engulfed in a massive chat and the time flew by. We then followed lunch with a walk around Berlin's sightseeing areas in order to explore Berlin and to get the 'vibe' of the city.
Day two in Berlin started with a 3 hour walking tour within the fresh snow which had fallen overnight - thank goodness I had taken my waterproof walking boots otherwise my feet would have gotten soaked and freezing cold! I think this was possibly the best part of the tour in Berlin for me as we got to see so many different important historic places as well as learn so much from our guide. I was certainly snap happy during these 3 hours ^_^ All the photos above are from the tour.
After the tour ended by Checkpoint Charlie, a couple of others from the tour checked out the Checkpoint Charlie museum and then sampled a 'currywurst', a sausage with tomato sauce and curry powder, which was very tasty and definitely something I'd try out a home for a lunchtime meal.
Day three we left Berlin, made a pit stop in Dresden which is a city almost completely destroyed by bombs during World War II. Fire damage has been left all over the historic buildings like a scar on the city which added even more character to them. Then we reached Prague around dinnertime and it was onto Country Capital City no.2.
(1) Prague Opera Theatre (2) Statue within Prague Cathedral
I didn't take as many photos in Prague, no particle reason why but our city tour there was very quick which meant I didn't have quite as much time to place around getting 'decent' shots ^_^
Day four in Prague and we became with a city tour taking in all the sights including Prague Castle, Prague Cathedral, Charles Bridge, John Lennon Memorial Wall and the Astronomical Clock. We then enjoyed lunch along a river cruise and say more of the sights as well as learnt more about the history of Prague and the Czech Republic as a whole.
The afternoon was then spent checking out some of the museums and a spot of shopping. We then returned to prepare ourselves for the Prague Pub Crawl - one word = 'messy' ^_^ Also be warned if you go to the Five Storey Club in Prague you will eventually lose a friend or two - that place is massive!
With my last day in Prague, I woke after only a few hours sleep and went back with a new friend to explore Prague Castle and Cathedral in depth. I then later joined up with the rest of the group (now awake ^_^) for a brewery tour. It was then our last meal in Prague and goodbyes were said by those of us not continuing onto Vienna and Budapest :-( Such an incredible trip and even my 4 hour flight delay didn't dampen it.
I thought that I would also take this time to explain a little bit more about Contiki which is the company I booked this tour through. Contiki are a tour company who specialise in tours for 18-35 year olds. After my friends were unable to get time off work and I'd got fed up of hearing 'I have no money' from others I decided I wasn't going to sit around waiting to visit the world so I was going to go off on my own - or at least on my own on an organised tour ^_^.
I really can't recommend Contiki tours enough if you are ever in a similar situation to me. Almost all of our group of 51 were single travellers and it was such a good mix of people. There was always someone who wanted to visit the same place as you and everyone was so sociable as they were on their own too. I'm already planning my next Contiki tour ^_^