May 5, 2014
Ouch. This morning was painful. Headache, upset stomach, no iPhone. All the signs of a really good night the night before.

I wasn’t alone in my suffering. I made my way down to breakfast and was greeted by the dead faces of my fellow Contiki-ers. The same great breakfast spread as the day before helped ease our pain, and we found ourselves looking forward to sleeping away the long coach day ahead of us. Jon Snow warned us that this would be one of the longer drives of the trip. We would travel from Paris to Lucerne, Switzerland, with stops every couple of hours for snacks, bathroom breaks, and lunch.

I can’t tell you much about this coach ride, because I don’t remember too much. I was fast asleep on Pat’s shoulder for most of it, and was only woken up by our “official wake-up song,” which Jon Snow would play each time we were a few minutes out from a service stop.

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Lucerne, Switzerland

After one lunch stop, and a few snack stops, we arrived in Lucerne, Switzerland and I caught my very first glimpse of the Swiss Alps. My throat caught just a bit when I saw how beautiful this place was, and all I could think was, “I can’t believe I’m really here.”

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Direct view from the balcony of my hotel room, looking out on Lake Lucerne. Does it get better than this?

Jon Snow gave us an introduction to the country’s history, including their history of staying out of conflicts. The coach made a long trek up a tiny, winding road (set to Jon Snow’s music choice: The Climb by Miley Cyrus) to our hotel, Hotel Himmelrich Kriens.

I forgot to mention that by some lucky twist, I was assigned my own room for the whole trip, even though I signed up for twin-share. This was due to the fact that there was an odd number of single girls on the trip, so someone had their own. My introverted self couldn’t have been happier!

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My hotel room in Lucerne

At dinner (another Contiki “included dinner”), I sat with Geoff, Brett, Mark & Craig, collectively known as “Canada.” Sure, there were other Canadians on the trip, but these guys were the epitome of all I’ve heard about our neighbors to the North. By the time I got to the table, they were all already on their third beer each. Impressive. I quickly bonded with Geoff and Brett. My affinity for all things country gave us quite a bit in common, and of all the people on the tour, my friends back home are most like them. They made me feel at home.

The food was…well it just was. Quite honestly, this was my least favorite meal of the tour. We debated exactly what the entree was, before deciding it was some sort of veal thing, or maybe some chicken with veal inside it? I skipped that part and basically had potatoes for dinner.

After dinner, the group went to the patio for beers and chats, but I was exhausted. I left to take a quick 30-minute power nap before heading to the patio. I crashed onto the bed and closed my eyes, and that’s the last thing I remember until I woke up around midnight — jeans and sneakers still on.

While this day was pretty uneventful, Lucerne would have plenty to offer for us the next day, and I couldn’t wait to explore the alps with these new friends.

Next up: Yodeling, fondue, and the birth of our mantra


Follow along with the day-by-day reviews:

Introduction: An American Girl in Europe
Day 1: Oh hey, London
Day 2: Bonjour, Paris!
Day 3: Parisian Adventures
Day 4: Lookin’ Good, Switzerland
Day 5: All Things Swiss
Day 6: Switzerland, Italy, France…oh my!
Day 7: Bond. James Bond.
Day 8: Buongiorno Italia!
Day 9: When in Rome
Day 10: That’s Amore
Day 11: Vatican City to Venice
Day 12: The Last Italian Adventure
Day 13: Hop-fer-gerten
Day 14: Soaring Over Austria
Day 15: München
Day 16: Bittersweet Symphonies
Day 17: Vienna to Prague
Day 18: Ahoj, Prague!
Day 19: St. Goar, Rhine Valley
Day 20: Amsterdamage
Day 21: Even more Amsterdamage
Day 22: Back to the Start
Day 23/24: The End of a Great Adventure
Contiki in a Nutshell: Know Before You Go
Contiki: What Should I Pack?