Welcome back everyone for the third part of my Topdeck Tour Blog – lets hope I can fit the remainder Destinations of my trip in this blog! If not then I’d guess I’ll need to continue writing another part. If you haven’t read Part 1 or Part 2 of my blog please click on the links to have a read.
In my previous blog I finished it off in Rome, the next place we were heading to was Venice but we stopped for a bit in Verona (AKA. The City of Love) as we entered the bus Nuala was in a real happy mood and she then announced that today was “Love Day” as we were going to the Balcony of Juliet from Shakespeare’s play “Romeo and Juliet”. She then handed out pieces of paper for us to either write to Juliet or to share on the bus on the way to Venice.
I decided to write something humorous to have a laugh with everyone, I must say I was quite proud of it as it had a little Rap to it, when we finally reached Venice and our hotel we had a little bit of free time before we headed to possibly my least favourite restaurant in the outskirts of Venice “Dante’s” it was a traditional Veneto restaurant with local favourites but it was a little plain compare to the amazing food I had in Rome, but we did find a great place for Gelato and nice little bar to relax it afterwards. #TopDirection had its first photo shot for our so called “Uncoming Album” which never got release. The following day was our free day in Venice and walking tour – we saw the main attractions in St Mark’s Square, The Grand Canal and of course the Gondolas which we went on later during the day.
Us boys also bought a Gondola Shirt that the is the official uniform for the gondolier’s, so for the rest of the day we wore it around the streets of Venice, as night fall approached we headed back to our hotel then went to the main square of the town we were staying in for dinner as tomorrow would be a huge day as we were heading to Pula, Croatia for beach, sun and of course Seafood. We needed to drive though Slovenia before we got to Croatia and made a pit-stop at the Postojna Caves which are a natural-made attraction made by water, inside the caves it was around 15 degrees and I made a bad decision to wear thongs inside which lead to medical issues including bronchitis so I presume.
Once we headed back on the road we were stuck at the Croatia boarder for about 2hrs – as it was peak season and Croatia isn’t part of the European Union we needed to get our passports stamped to enter. We reached Pula at around 4:30pm and managed to fit it a quick dip in the pool before heading into town for our walking tour, we managed to see the Pula Area which is a smaller version of the Roman Colosseum and it still used today for many concerts.
After Pula it was back to Slovenia and the dragon infested city of Ljubljana – we were only here for one night but made the most of it by doing an all nighter and participating in Pub Crawl Ljubliana which resulted me being getting a “body shot” from a girl in my tour. The next day I slept on the bus until we reached Salzburg, Austria which is one of the main filming locations of 1965 American musical drama film “The Sound of Music” starring Julie Andrews, we were then shown the spot in the film were the Maria and the kids are on the edge of the water fountain. Nuala also got a few of us to reenact the scene and the movie poster, after we had dinner at one of the world’s oldest restaurants established in 803 AD called “Stiftskeller St. Peter” is it that old that Both Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Christopher Columbus are said to have dined here.
We were then on our way to Prague in the Czech Republic followed by stopping in the small town of Mausthausen to visit a one of Austria’s largest Concentration Camp used in WW2 by the Nazis – this was probably one of the saddest places I’ve been to, the eerie and revolting feeling knowing thousands of Jewish people had died in an inhumanly way just affect me and a lot of the tour group. It took the rest of the drive to the Czech boarder to overcome this. Turning to more happier times we then arrived in Prague and you would think there would have been English signs but unfortunately if you wanna live in Prague you gonna speak Czech. After a briefing from Nuala trying to explain to us the train stations we were meant to go to we finally went for dinner in this Czech restaurant.
That night we were in for a big one! Prague’s 5 Story Night Club “Karlovy Lazne” one of Central Europeans Biggest Music Clubs – it was quite insane and extremely overcrowded lucky the place had free Wi-Fi because at one stage I lost everyone and was roaming all 5 floors to try to find someone I knew.. (what would we do without technology) eventually I found the group and we partied until 5:30am the next day, I woke up feeling like crap but I managed to soldier on and continue to roam the streets and do our beer tasting session.
The next place to tick off our Itinerary was Dresden and Berlin – Dresden was only a stop over for a little walking history of this where we saw the Furstenzug which is a large wall mural of the rulers of the state Saxony, this was far one of my favorite stop overs and it has a lot of German history and culture. After our stop we then made our way to Berlin, we had the chance to see the Berlin wall, Museum Island and the Brandenbury Gate. Dinner tonight was at the Hofbräu Berlin a Bavarian-style food & beer resturant with a live show band & staff in regional outfits.
Day 2 in Berlin saw us doing an Optional Tour of the Third Reich (Nazi Germany) this was a tour to take you back in time during the ruler ship of Adolf Hitler. We were taken to bombed-out Memorial Church, emblem of the ferocious Allied bombing campaign, and got described the frantic defence of the capital Berlin, the guide also took us to a parking lot outside an apartment complex which underground was Hitler’s bunker where he took his life from defend of the Americans. As nightfall approached we got prepared for another night of partying going a Berlin Pub Crawl – I was lucky enough to catch up with my pen pal from Belarus Polina, she was down with one of her friends for a holiday and after 2 years of speaking we finally meet up.
As the last two days approached of our tour we ended it in the beautiful city of Amsterdam in The Netherlands, this city is well known for its legal smoking of Marijuana and The Red Light district – but this place is more then all those things is it build on water around the Amstel River and uses a unique form of transport which gets the right of way of everything Bicycles. The whole city is infested with them and if your a pedestrian in some area’s it is quite dangerous.
Before we reached the city we stopped at a Dutch farm where this family make Dutch Clogs and Cheese, the way they make the clogs and cheese was unreal and the cheese they make was perfect. Tonight we were going to a “explicit Show” in the Red Light District which was very strange and not commonly seen in Australia. Our Second day in Amsterdam we were lucky enough to do a Bike tour of the city which was one of favourite things – I enjoy bike riding and to go to a city where bikes are encouraged was very exciting. After we enjoy our finally dinner cruise along the Amstel River were we reflected on all the highlights of our journey together.
I just want to shout out to all the member of the crew what a privilege it was to have meet such a fun and amazing group of people to share all these beautiful sites with and of course our awesome trip leader Nuala and Bus Driver Eric thanks for all your support.
Now that this blog is done and dusted it is time for me to plan my next trip and write more tips or travel blogs with you all. If you need any assistance with travelling or recommendations please contact me or leave a comment on this blog post.