Prague: Day 6
I wake up with a buzz in my head from last night’s partying. I grab a banana and down a glass of orange juice before heading out the door to our coach. A local guide is showing us around the Castle District, which includes the Cathedral of St. Vitus, before the walk down to Charles Bridge back to the Old Town Square.
Prague: Day 5
We are on the road again, this time for Prague, the Golden City of a Thousand Spires. There is no doubt that the Czech Republic’s capital city is an extremely pretty one. With its abundance of historical castles, palaces and medieval lanes, it is a sweet confection of a city, and thus drawing hoards of tourists to its cobblestone streets. Prague’s loveliness and authenticity, as well as the quality of its local film studios, make it a frequent location for movies. You might recognise certain landmarks in the likes of Mission Impossible, Knight’s Tale and Casino Royale.
Vienna: Day 4
After a good breakfast at the hotel, we head into the city centre where Hugh takes us on a walking tour through the courtyards of the Hofburg Palace and past the Spanish Riding School towards Kartnerstrasse, a lively shopping street.
Vienna: Day 3
It is time to say goodbye to Budapest as we bus out to Vienna immediately after breakfast. Home to Mozart, the powerful Habsburg family, Klimt, Freud, coffee and apple strudel, stately Vienna is as cosmopolitan as it is historical. One of the most vibrant economies in Central Europe, it is also one of the greenest, with large swatches of land designated as parks. After the rough around the edges charm of Budapest, Vienna seems very orderly and sparkly in comparison.
Budapest: Day 2
It is an early start to the day as we have to be at the Hungarian Parliament at 8.30am for the tour. The Gothic Revival Hungarian Parliament bears a striking resemblance to the UK’s Palace of Westminster, and I find out later that the two do share a similar design. The interior is a glorious riot of frescoed ceilings, stained glass windows, marble statues and gilded surfaces (a total of 40kg of pure gold was used in its decoration), prompting cameras to click away furiously. Such a beautiful building and the architect, Imre Steindl, went blind before he could see his greatest creation completed.
The Allure of Budapest
Growing up I used to go on many organised tours with my family. I was 18 when I discovered self-travel and have been travelling this way since, whether for work or holiday. That is until this opportunity to trail through some of the finer parts of Central Europe with Contiki came about.
I know of Contiki and its reputation for fun, up-for-it tours catered to the enthusiastic 18-35 year old market. Don’t feel like taking in another stuffy museum? You don’t have to. Eager to check out the nightlife? Your Contiki tour guide will be more than happy to accompany you to the hottest club in town. Want to share new experiences with like-minded young folks? Then you are on the right Contiki coach. For the next six days, I am to discover for myself what being a Contiki traveller means on a whirlwind itinerary taking in three of the most beautiful cities in Central Europe – Budapest, Vienna and Prague.
Day 2 - Thursday 26 July
With the move to Byron Bay today and the possibility of no internet connectivity I wake up early-ish, jump in the shower and head down to the lobby to tap into the free wifi so I can pick up my e-mails and do some last minute research on the bands I’ll be interviewing over the next three days. I managed to snag Kimbra, Howler, Friends, Django Django, Tame Impala, and The Rubens but Jack White and Lana Del Ray tuned me down. Lol. Daryl is already up and out for breakfast. Must be those flat bed seats....
Day 1 - Wednesday 25 July
I catch a taxi to LCCT. The flight is full but it’s a big new Airbus so the flight is comfortable except from some massive crosswinds that bounce us around between Singapore and Indonesia. I’m in economy, Daryl Goh is parked up in Premium and big pimping in a Flat Bed.