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Contiki Coach Tour of Europe 1990 - the photos

Page 1 intro - Page 2 travelogue - Page 3 photos

3 week holiday travelling around Europe in a bus 18 to 35 year olds

I took so many photos on this trip, about 180, but lost most of them!

A bear behind (think about it!)

The white water rafters! Austria

Taking a group shot of the
group shooters before
the Eiffel tower, France
George: our tour guide,
looking worried. Venice

Piza - and yes it does

Macca our driver cleaning
his bus: with his whiskers! Italy


Monaco outside a casino. France

A Rhine beer party(!) Black Forest - Germany

Vatican City in Rome

Windmill + tourists. Holland

Beaujolais wine tasting. France
Page 1 intro - Page 2 travelogue - Page 3 photos

Contiki Coach Tour of Europe 1990 - travelogue

Page 1 intro - Page 2 travelogue - Page 3 photos

3 week holiday travelling around Europe in a bus 18 to 35 year olds

So I had to get from Thetford, Norfolk, UK to Russell Square, London first. By coach and then tube. In my early days of travel I took a massive suitcase and was wasted when I got there. The woman on Contiki reception said so and I managed to mutter that I had come from Victoria. She replied that load of other people had come a lot further i.e. Australia. ?ot carrying a whacking great suitcase all the way, I thought.

One night was spent at the Russell Square hotel, with a view of the BT telecom tower from the window, then off in the morning by coach to the Dover ferry. As I saw the white cliffs of Dover disappear I was not ready for the crossing to follow. It was very choppy and I had to lay on the floor all the way to avoid throwing up. The ferry was on the way to Belgium and Zeebrugge to meet up with the coach. Here two tours were to combine to make a full bus.

Then followed a long journey across Belgium into France and then onto Paris. We entered Paris is it started to get dark and by the time we reached the arc de triomphe is was fully dark. It was quite a strange experience and a memorable way to come into Paris. Then there was a sort tour of Paris by coach and we saw the famous view of the yellow headlights and red taillights in a long line heading away down the Champs Elys?s. We stopped to take photos of the Eiffel tower at night and then onto the camp site and a chalet for the night.

Next day it was the Paris thing with the Eiffel tower, Notre Dam, the Louvre for a peak at the Venus de Milo and the Mona Lisa, then the arc de triomphe in daylight. Later that night it was the Can Can at a club in the Paris Red Light district. Two nights in Paris included a disco. The in tune at the time was the Loveshack by the B-52's which the Australians loved.

Next day we were on our way to Fontainbleau to look at the grand house and then onto the Beaujolais region for wine tasting and a picnic, oh and a disco with the Loveshack again probably. Then onto Cannes and Monaco on the French Riviera in the South of France, where I was not allowed in any of the casinos and I looked too young! All us young looking ones had to walk around all night instead. Still we were able to walk around the grand prix circuit and look at some very expensive boats.

After this it was on past the leaning tower of Pisa, and it does. Then a lovely journey to Florence long the famous Italian roads long the roads which cut through mountains and then across bridges, made famous in the opening shots of ?he Italian Job as a Lamborghini Miura speeds along them. Each bridge has a great view of the valley bellow.

Florence was a nice city with the Ferrari museum sitting high over great views of the city, some Michelangelo painting and the statue of David. Here, after coming back from a pasta meal, (which gave us all the shits) ice cream and ?hen Harry met Sally at the cinema: one of the girls stepped in front of a mad Italian driver, she was ok but had to spend a few days in hospital and re-join us later in the trip. Florence was where the group photo was taken.

Rome included the amazing St. Peters where we went to the top of the dome, which makes St. Paul? in London look silly. Watching a pockets due to the abundant pick-pockets was made our way to the Coliseum. In Venice we all took Gondola rides and explored the narrow streets between the canals. Venice is very nice and I would love to go back for longer.

In Hopfgarten, Austria I took a mountain bike and saw some great scenery, also up a ski lift (with no skis) to see some big views. Here we did white water rafting and it was great fun falling down a steep river in foaming water on a rubber tube full of air. Onto Switzerland and the Yungfrau the highest mountain range in Europe. You take a train up to the top where there is snow all year round. As we drove into Switzerland it was a strand feeling as we climbed up a steep valley side in the bus, only to get to the top and have to climb another! We just seemed to go up and up. Lucerne was a very pretty city on the edge of a great lake and then it was bye to Switzerland.

In Munich we arrived in the Octoberfest and as is the custom with the famous beer festival we spent the evening in a beer hall, drinking beer. As you sup your stein and listen to umpapa music. We also had a Chinese meal in a floating restaurant, very in-keeping! This included a disco with the Loveshack again. Then onto Heidelberg which is a really nice looking city, after this we headed up the Rhine Valley past loads of castles and the Black Forest, but we didn? have and gateau.

After this it was onto Amsterdam via a Dutch fishing village. In the dam we were treated to: the van Gogh Museum, I had never been much of a fan but seeing his paintings in front of my eyes changed my mind, and a sex show, which did not make me a fan of sex shows.

Then we had two partings as the trip that joined us departed first and then we were on our way back to London. One more night in the Russell Square hotel and I made my way back to Thetford with my massive suitcase and lots of memories.

Page 1 intro - Page 2 travelogue - Page 3 photos

My Villa Ambron picture on the Telegraph website

Wohoo! I just contacted the Telegraph and might actually get my name on my photo credit that they used, I might also get £25 :) bonus!

Villa Ambron - Alexandria - once home of Lawrence Durrell
See also on this blog:

Shame it didn't help to save the villa!

Part 2 - after the Pioneer

My Stereo(s) (Hi-fi) The rise and fall and rise again. A History of my stereo endeavours.

Part 2 - after the Pioneer

Part 1 | Part 2 | My stereo in June 2015

Creative Zen

Creative Zen Vision M 30gig was my new stereo for a bit. The sound quality was superb and with higher quality mp3 you would not know the difference. My whole cd collection fited on it and more. Now I could take my stereo where I wanted: in the car, at home at the office. I still have my Sennheiser headphones which I use with the Zen. Only problem is the harddisk was too small.

Apple ipod classic 2009

On 25 Feb 2009 my Zen departed to a new owner. Sold on Ebay for £72. I resisted for so long but I now have a Apple ipod Classic 120gb (black). The Zen HD was full for a long time. In comes the Apple for £170. Sound quality is good and will be a long time before I fill up the HD. I thought about a Microsoft Zune 120gb but they just don't seem to get the support over in the UK. I do miss the FM radio of the Zen but it is not essential, especially as it won't be long until they switch off analogue FM. I do find that the ipod lacks bass with some recordings and I don't think the sound quality is as good as the Zen. I plug it into my stereo or listen to it on the Sennheiser's. It does sound better through a dock.

My stereo options 2012:

Cambridge Audio amp and some floorstanding speakers which I plug the ipod into through a dock. I think I get better quality sound with this budget setup than I did with the expensive Pioneer setup. It was from Second Sounds, a bargain. I am very very happy with this current setup.

Interconnect: CAMBRIDGE AUDIO AUD100 1M £9.99
Speaker cable: CAMBRIDGE AUDIO SYMPHONY 200 £1.49 a meter, got 6 meters
Amp: CAMBRIDGE AUDIO A1 VERSION 3 (25watt) £69.95
Speakers: Q ACOUSTICS 1030i (100watt) £139.95

Desktop computer: Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme soundcard and Logitech 5.1 Surround Speakers.

Laptop (when travelling) with scratchy internal speakers.

Me and my music at this time:

Crazy really, I have the most music I have ever had but not the quality I used to have. It's probably that way with a lot of people in this day and age. Don't misunderstand me. I love music and I do miss the quality I had with the old Pioneer. The best times were listening to it through the headphones as the detail from CD was fantastic. But now when I am travelling or so forth just having music to listen to at all over the dreadful tinny speakers of the laptop is a blessing! And the fact that I have 60gigs worth of variety even though it is at the reduced quality of mp3 is just a godsend. Yes I know I have lost detail in the music but the fact that I have not lost music altogether is the real joy. I always hope that one day I will experience the quality again.

2013 update. I have found that really there is not enough bass with the ipod and sold it, I can't live with the light bass it produced. Now I use my laptop plugged into my pro M audio soundcard (that I use to play gigs with) which is plugged in instead of the ipod.

Feb 2015 update. Q Acoustics: sold £70 and the Cambridge Audio amp is for sale.
April 2015 update. Cambridge Audio Amp sold for £30.

ipod classic 120gb

Creative Zen 30gb


My Stereo June 2015 - NEXT >>


My stereo in June 2015

My Stereo(s) (Hi-fi) The rise and fall and rise again. A History of my stereo endeavours.

Part 3 - June 2015

Part 1 | Part 2 | My stereo in June 2015

My laptop Dell Latitude D830 mentioned in the 2013 update is my stereo now, also mentioned in my computers post

I am using the Logitech 5.1 Surround Speakers (with the centre channel speaker disconnected) plugged into the M Audio Fast Track Pro, plugged into the laptop running itunes. Quadrophonic sound! I have a windows 7 remote control. The laptop sits on a Belkin tray for cooling.

Music wise there is 80 gigs in the itunes library 9000 songs. I have my DJ music too but that is huge and not in the itunes library. 

Dell D830 and M Audio Fast Track Pro
Logitech X-540

I still have the Sennheiser HD530 II headphones and bought new earpads from this was my specification with the headphones when I bought them, that I could replace parts. I'd had a string of expensive Pioneer headphones until that point that fell apart in a year. True to the salesman's word back in '94 the Sennheiser's have really lasted. I love their sound quality and over the years that sound quality had improved and improved. With the new parts they look like they did in 1994. My longest surviving stereo component!

Sennheiser HD530 II headphones


Reedham and Weep

10th of June 2015 - My journey from across the Norfolk Broads - Norwich to Reedham (on road) and on to Great Yarmouth (off road) "Inspirational Cycling" for my extended writing for my access course.

On the 8th I had cycled to Buckenham Marshes and the road works coming out of Norwich had made it a nightmare. It was better on the 10th but still stressful. Added to that my GPS kept telling me to turn back all the way to Cantley and join the A47. I also thought I had on the wrong coat, there was a biting North wind and I had put on my thick coat, and it was a little too warm.

Huge sky over the Norfolk countryside

My GPS wants me to turn around again

The GPS wants me to go up there, back to the A47

My GPS: turn back!!
I love my GPS but unfortunately it is better for hiking and as the crow flies stuff. As a road GPS it things you are in a car and should join the dual carriageway and any opportunity.

The Cantley Cock
I had cycled to Reedham many times and ingnored the GPS, it was only at the Cantley Cock that it came back on my side.

A view worthy of a painting

Reedham and Weep
I expected to get a coffee in Reedham, but everything was shut.


Marsh this way

The Burney Arms is shut and is more like 5 miles

There it is, the Wherryman's Way

Preserved pumping by the national lottery
There are owls nesting in the chimney 

This pump is more powerful than all the mills put together. It has a robot to take the rubbish out and stop it blocking up. Beyond the pump, sheep, there are a lot of sheep, and a lot of sheep poo!

Ye old mill

Restored by the National Lottery gamblers. There was an info board with the old miller on it, ghosts of the past abound

It must have been miserable to live there, but I suspect there may have been more trees in the old days.

Burgh Castle in the distance
Across the river is the Roman castle Burgh Castle. I never understand why they built it there until I saw it from the river(s) the Wensum and the Yare join at the dredger.



Robot ditch cleaner. Swallows were nesting here.

Suddenly the gates were like this and not normal gates. I had to life my bike over them all. I was already shattered. There are a lot of gates.

The coat was a good move, though it doesn't look it there was a biting wind, I chose the right coat! Also there are no pubs. From Norwich to Reedham on the Wherryman's way it is endless pubs. The only pub Reedham to Yarmouth is shut, looking for an new owner.

Damn you!
Looking back the way I had come.

Yarmouth comes closer. I feel like David Copperfield (Dickenses one not the magician)

Goodbye marsh

Hello glittering Great Yarmouth
 This was a great journey. It took 5 hours from Norwich to Yarmouth, the GPS said I had travelled 25 miles. So worth doing. Hard work on a bike. After this I had a coffee and an ice cream and then headed back on the train, did it in less than half an hour.