Tag Archives: European Wonder

Topdeck Travel: Day Five

30 Jul

Last night was definitely the best night of the trip.

A lot of us decided to chill by the ‘lake’ (a tiny stream next to reception where people put their beers to keep them cool), and had a sing-a-long with Croc and his guitar. I had a few beers and might have actually sung a few solos, much my chagrin upon waking…

We were up this morning bright and early to drive to Italy; it was a big bus day today as well. It’s true that there is a lot of time on the road on this tour. Sometimes it’s close to ten hours, but it’s not not every day, and it does let us see a lot of the countryside and catch up on our sleep (or blogging…). Today it also gave us an opportunity to play ‘Bogan Bingo’ and watch some YouTube videos. Having someone sit you down and show you all their favourite YouTube clips is usually boring as hell, but it wasn’t too bad – aside from the rick-rolling.

Also, I don’t think I’ve mentioned it but Jamie plays ‘Moves Like Jagger‘ every time he wants us to wake up before a stop. We’re going to be like Pavlov’s dogs before the end of the trip, instantly snapping wide awake in clubs for years to come.

Pisa was our first stop after Switzerland, for the standard photographs and bargaining with the vendors (pics to follow: stay tuned). Florence from Boston missed the bus on the way back so she had to make her own way to Florence, which was kind of ironic — but she made it back in one piece.

It’s really interesting to see the relationships forming between everyone on the coach. I think the situation is definitely a crucible to accelerate friendships, but I can also picture us being quite a volatile lot towards the end, after the girls’ periods have synchronised and none of us have had an orgasm in two weeks (saying that though, there are a few couples that have sprung into creation, even this early in the trip).

I’m writing this on the really infuriating internet connection in Florence. The rest of the guys have gone into town for karaoke. There’s also a wet t-shirt competition in the bar downstairs… I can hear it from here, so I don’t feel like I’m missing much (besides, after all the drinks in Switzerland my brain still kinda feels like Swiss cheese).

I wanted to go to Borgo Santa Croce tonight to check out one of the bars but us ladies have been warned against travelling alone at night.It kind of irks me when the burden of responsibility for that sort of thing is put on women instead of men – but I suppose this isn’t my country and I should do as I’m told. It is just a shame that no matter where you go in the world, after a certain time of day the streets are male spaces. I’d hardly touched down on Italian soil for more than a few minutes this morning when a seedy guy tried to chat me up at a truck stop. Shame I didn’t know how to say “I’ve got a lion in my backpack” in Italian.

Read the rest of my European Wonder adventures here.

Topdeck Travel: Days Two & Three

28 Jul

I’m currently typing this in our cabin at the Schutzenbach-retreat in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland. Everything here looks like a postcard, it’s slightly surreal to think we were in Paris this morning.

Speaking of which…

Day Two

The second day of our tour began by waking up in Paris. Not bad. Our breakfast was provided by the hotel – it was just a generic pastry and yogurt sort of deal but the coffee machine was impressive. Day two was a free day, which meant we could do as we liked until 3pm – when those who wanted to do a bicycle tour of the city had the option – or 7pm, when we’d all meet for a gourmet picnic at the park in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower. As you do.

Me & Little Lion Man at The Louvre.

Rachael, Vicky and I had bonded a little the night before over our shared vegetarianism and proximity to Moet. We decided to go to the Opera House. We then headed to the Artclub Gallery, which was around the corner from The Louvre. It looked like a really interesting alternative to checking out the Mona Lisa, but it was also very much closed, though the glass walls meant that most of the gallery was on display anyway.

After a slightly cynically-charged walk down Love Lock Bridge – where couples write their names on a padlock, attach it to the bridge, and throw the key into the river – we went our separate ways. I’ve done Paris before so I thought I’d do something a little different. After a vegan lunch from a cafe next to a taxidermy shop I headed to Rue Saint Croix de la Bretonneire to check out the Marais District (see also: the gay district).

My favourite places in the Marais Distrcit were Les Paris Gourmands, which sold miniature candy- and biscuit-shaped jewellery, and Open Cafe, which was pretty much like every other gay bar in Europe but in Paris. (So, more expensive.) I was saving my pennies for the optional cabaret that night but it turned out I didn’t need them after all, as wine was included.

The cabaret was incredible; the staff wouldn’t let us take pictures, sadly, but if you don’t believe me just ask Helga. There was a trapeze artist, unicycle act that defied all logic, and lots of singing and dancing and flesh. I have to admit I missed some of the show because Rachael and I got into a very drunken heated and excited conversation about sex-positive feminism (yay!) and I wasn’t watching the stage. I seem to remember lots of lycra, dry ice and… motorbikes?

Paris was beautiful. But I am still sad. There is a quote floating around Tumblr, it goes like this:

Paris was a city for lovers, and my lover is missing from me.

Day Three
Even on the third day, putting a coachful of sleepy and slightly-sheepish people onto a bus still feels a lot like going to school camp. School camp with hangovers.

It was a lo-oo-oo-ong bus day today – the longest of the trip hopefully. However, we were saved from boredom by a few games and some singing from Croc (one of the Aussie guys). We also did a round of introductions over the coach microphone – which was when our first slice of intercultural drama popped up (thanks Michelle from America for the link!).

But now we’re in Switzerland.

Guy Secretan, a Swiss human.

Internet access here costs three Swiss-franc for half an hour, but wifi codes are free if you buy a drink at the bar.

Two guesses where I’m heading next?

Read the rest of my European Wonder adventures here.

Reviewing a View: Topdeck Travel

26 Jul

So I graduated last week.

Pics or it didn't happen.

Pics or it didn’t happen.

But as the opening line of Avenue Q so eloquently questions, “What can you do with a BA in English?”

Well: who has two thumbs, speaks limited french, and is going on a 14-day tour of Europe?

 This moi.

Yes, it’s time for something a little different here at The Solipsistic Socialite. At the time of writing, I’m currently sitting on a ferry bound for Calais, about to take the first leg of Topdeck’s European Wonder tour. This tour has many legs. It is like a centipede.

I plan to update sporadically during the next fortnight and update y’all about my travels through Paris, the Swiss Alps, Florence, Rome, Venice, Tyrol, the Rhine Valley, Amsterdam and Bruges. I am very excited. I am also scared out of my mind.

See you in Paris! x