Germany Becomes the Turning Point

By Nick Simard
on August 23, 2008

Lover of words, design, creativity, apps, cake and learning new things. And puns.

In August of 2008 I was sent to Europe to blog about my experience on a Contiki bus tour. The European Discovery tour had us seeing 10 cities in 12 days. I was one of 6 paid student bloggers for the Royal Bank of Canada, and was chosen to take the tour and write about it. Here is my story.

We just left St. Goar (Germany) and the majority of my tourmates are passed out, and with good reason. Last night we arrived in the breath-taking town around 7pm, changed quickly for dinner (which consisted of tasty soup, followed by pork, veggies, and egg noodles) and finished off our desserts quickly to catch the next event.

Right around the corner, we got to sample 4 different German wines – ranging from dry to very sweet – in a cellar full of ambience. This started the ball rolling for a night that would contain many more beverages for some, while others took it more slowly.

Photo credit: me

I say that Germany became the turning point for several reasons:

  1. Cliques have all but been solidified by this point. There is some hovering and meandering in and out of circles of friends, but for the most part we seem to find ourselves going back to the same groups. I think it is a little difficult to break into new groups in some cases, but one of the greatest things about the trip is that there are so many different nationalities and personalities that it’s a waste not to try and meet everyone.

  2. As part of a get-to-know-your-tourmates activity, the tour manager asked us to write down our names, where we’re from, what we most want to see and also to identify our dating status by using traffic signals. Red means taken, green means available and orange means a middle of the road/could go either way. Not everyone included this bit of information but I don’t think it’s coincidental that it came out just before arriving at a location that was sort of a pit stop, with a bar right inside the hotel serving as a private party.

  3. Based on events that are confirmed and those that are assumed, the seating arrangement on the bus appears to have changed slightly. I can’t say for certain whether this will last, or whether it will continue to change based on the evening happenings. The group dynamics are interesting to watch for sure.

  4. Although it was raining when we arrived in St. Goar, this morning was beautiful. The view from the bank of the Rhine river was absolutely amazing. It has rained in London and Amsterdam, so it’s great to have a break from the rain.

  5. The hectic and non-stop nature of the trip is starting to catch up to some. I, for one, am operating pretty well on limited sleep, especially considering that in Halifax it is currently 5:40am. And yet, I’m wide awake (yawned as I typed the words). Last night I got 3 hours of sleep and the night before that was about 4 hours. I think I prefer not having spare time, because it would no doubt lead to sleeping and I didn’t come to Europe to be unconscious.

Overall, I must say that it’s rather nice not knowing what day of the week it is or what the date is. It just doesn’t matter. It’s Day 4, and that’s all that matters. We’re headed to Munich where the optional excursion is a 3-hour bike tour through the city.

If you’re planning a trip like this, be warned that due to the go-go-go aspect of the trip, it’s not always easy to document it as much as you’d like.

If it were possible to combine everyone’s photos and footage that would be brilliant, but the fact of the matter is that there’s so much going on at any given time that it becomes difficult to capture it all. I’m doing my best, and will continue to provide you with life (in Europe) as I know it.

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