So I woke up to face a day I was dreading... it was officially the last day of tour. It was all over bar the singing. After saying goodbye to some of the group who were flying out of Paris the rest of us made our way to Calais. I can't speak for any other group members but I found it slightly depressing. I had gotten used to being busy every day, having a schedule, and hanging around with the other wonderful people on tour. But now it was time to say goodbye.
We made it to Calais for the ferry crossing to Dover. It was a pretty rough day on the water. In fact it was so rough that I lay down on the floor and stared directly up at the ceiling for most of the journey. And it wasn't just me -- pretty soon I was joined on the floor by a few other people. The constant loss of balance seriously messed with my equilibrium. Needless to say I was pretty thankful when we made it to the shores of Dover!
After joining up with another bus (and bus driver) we drove the last few miles to our final destination... Hello London! So after more goodbye to every one else on tour and promising to keep in touch mum and I were on our own once again.
We made our way to our home for the next few nights - a cute little studio apartment near Hyde Park. After going for a walk and indulging in a spot of shopping we made our way back to our lodgings to grab a bite to eat and come up with a plan of attack for the next few days. I couldn't wait to tackle London.
The tour was simply fantastic!!! It was very physically intense and there were times that I wished for a break. But when I think of the amount of things I got to see in 17 short days it was worth all the tiredness and physical discomfort. It was all things wonderful and superb! I do have a few tips though...
My top tips for tour are:
1) Make friends with the other people on tour - they make the experience all the richer.
2) If you've never been before make sure you do at least a few of the optional extras - some of my most memorable experiences are from the optionals. These excursions often allowed me to see more than just the straight tourist side of things.
3) Be prepared to be tired - I knew that I would find it a tough slog physically but boy it was tough! I don't think I have ever walked so much in my life or climbed quite so many stairs.
4) Let go of preconceived ideas - tour is about seeing different places in the world. To get the most out of the experience I decided to let go of most of my preconceived ideas. I found that the places I enjoyed most were places that I didn't have any expectations of.
5) Enjoy every moment of it - the truth is there were times that I wondered if it was crazy to undertake such a huge tour but then I decided to make the best of it. I knew that I needed to make the most of every moment - even if I was exhausted or in physical pain. It's important to enjoy every moment because it comes to an end far too quickly.
Now if you'll permit me I'll make my one complaint about the European Union. I loved the ease of one currency (except for Switzerland) and not wasting time at boarder checks. My one complaint is about my passport. I had gotten a brand new passport for this adventure and I have been to all these amazing countries. But do you think my passport reflects how EPIC my adventure was? No way!! I only have two lousy stamps in my passport. I would have loved to have a stamp from every country I had been too. Alas thanks to the EU I only have two. Sad!
I guess I'll just have to go on another adventure...
Next we look around London