Thursday, November 21, 2013

Contiki England and Scotland Day 1: From London to Liverpool

Contiki England and Scotland

Day 1 
London to Liverpool

The first day of a Contiki tour, sets you up for what to expect for majority of your mornings, they're going to be early and you'll be tired. While waiting for the coach bus and our driver Mark to arrive we all had to have our luggage weighed (the only time it's done while on the trip), then before we knew it, it was time to go.

First up we were given a quick drive-by tour by our excellent tour manager Roxy. We sped by some of the most popular London landmarks like the Tower of London, London Bridge, Parliament, Buckingham Palace and so on before we driving on to the first stop on the trip, Liverpool.

Part of the London skyline, which features the Tower of London (lower right) and the Gherkin building (upper right)

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

Once we left London and began heading into the countryside I ended up falling asleep, essentially almost every time we were on the bus, with the exception of being in the Scottish Highlands, bus time equaled nap time. However the distances from locations were never really terribly long, so before you knew it, we'd all be woken up by The Proclaimer's 500 Miles, followed by Roxy's voice over the PA system with an ever so cheerful "Wakey, wakey wakey!"

The first, shall we say "Wakey Wakey" of the day was for an ice-breaker, aka a get to know each other game, in which the person on the window seat remains and the aisle seat passenger gets up and moves down the aisle trading off short bits of info for roughly 2 minutes. Doing this on a moving bus with narrow aisles was a bit of a challenge, but interesting especially if you missed the meet-up the night before. It was also a quick way to learn that roughly 90% of the people on tour are from Australia (it is an Australian company after all and apparently a right of passage to boot).

After that it, was back to the seat and time for another short lived nap, which was followed by another Wakey Wakey. Arriving in Liverpool, the home of the Beatles, Roxy gave us the lowdown of how the day would unfold, basic information and some quick tips for interesting places to see and check out later.

Before going to the hotel, we were greeted by Jackie a native of Liverpool (otherwise known as a scouser) who gave us a Beatles tour of Liverpool and pointed out some additional Liverpool highlights such as the largest Anglican Cathedral in Europe and shall we say an interesting monument to Queen Victoria (the locals dub it King Victoria - scroll down and see for yourself).

After the tour, we had time to go off and explore the city on our own until our first group dinner at the Ibis hotel, where we were staying.

This would be the statue in question that locals have deemed King Victoria...

The first night out as a group I decided to stay in, as I'm not really a party person. With the early mornings ahead, I pretty much always preferred a good nights sleep over going out and drinking into the wee hours of the morning. The rest of the group went to the ever famous Cavern Club though, home of where The Beatles got their start before becoming an international sensation.

Extra tips:

* If you're like me and not accustomed to being on a bus on long winding roads, prepare  
   yourself for a quasi queasy journey once you leave the main highways.

* There are a few available outlets on the bus, so you can charge your devices while traveling from
   one destination from the next.

* Wi-fi is available on the bus, it's pricey, just wait till you get your hotel (not all hotels have free
   wi-fi or wi-fi at all) or find a Costa Coffee (a UK version of a Starbucks - of which you'll also

The next blog post will be about my second day on tour from Liverpool to York.

No comments:

Post a Comment