Monday, September 18, 2006

Day 10 - 31st July - Paris to London

I woke up the next morning after only a couple of hours sleep. I still had a headache and still didn't feel too great, as well as quesy, drained and having a full blown cold and chesty cough. Not a great way to end the holiday. I couldn't stomach breakfast so only managed to eat a crust of bread. Lukcily Phil, Katie and Erin had packed by luggage the night before and took it to the coach this morning.

Not everyone was coming back with us to London so we said our goodbyes to American Erin, Nicole and Shawna, Rosa, who was going back to Italy to meet up with family, and Alvin and Issac who were continuing their travels also in Italy.

Quite a few people had found out about my trip to hospital the night before and were asking how I was. The journey back was slightly depressing as we weren't going onto another European city. This was also our last day together which was to be spent purely travelling. I slept a lot on the way back to catch up on the sleep I had missed the night before.

On the way to Calais we stopped off at the Canadian War Memorial at Vimy Ridge. Vimy Ridge was one of the greatest battles in Canadian history in WWI. We got to see and walk through the trenches of both sides. They were literally a stones throw from one another which was quite surprising as I'd expected them to be a lot further apart. No-mans land was full of craters and vast areas were still out of bounds due to unexploded ammunition. Unfortunately the actual memorial was undergoing rennovation and had been dismantled so we didn't get to see it.

We soon arrived at Calais and got onto the ferry. Richie had asked me when I got off the coach to get him the money for the taxi ride to and from the hospital, and for the caberet. This was around 110 Euros. Luckily it was pay day today so I would have enough money in my account. I couldn't find a cash point so ended up getting some money exchanged using my debit card at a really bad exchange rate. It worked out around about £79. Definitely an expense I hadn't planned for. I couldn't believe I had to pay for the taxi as I assumed Contiki would have a contingency fund for any unexpected expenses. I guess not. I went and sat with Tracy and Andrew where we spent the majority of the short ferry ride discussing a particular person who had been steadily getting on our nerves throughout the holiday.

We soon arrived at Dover where we said goodbye to Phil as he lived in Folkstone. We then carried onto London. Along the way Richie asked us for song requests to be played. If I had the energy to actually head down to the front of the coach I would have asked for ABBA 'Thank you for the music' and dedicated it to Richie as he kept us well supplied with decent tunes throughout our tour. Galvanise was also played for the last time ever. That song will definitely conjour up memories of this tour.

Back at The Royal National in London it was a slightly emotional time. There were a few tearful goodbyes as it soon began to sink in that it was over, and the people you;d got to know and could count as good friends over the 10 days would be leaving, probably never seeing them again. I hung around for a while afterwards while everyone gradually dispersed, and sat in the London Pub for a quick drink with Tracy, Dan, Mark and Andrew. We soon said our goodbyes, then Tracy and I left to catch our trains from Euston. We got a little lost along the wat and ended up going in a massive circle, struggling with our heavy luggage. When we got there we said our goodbyes and left to go to our different platforms. It really hit me when I left to get my train alone as there was noone to talk to, no friendly faces. I was heading back home to reality. I slept most of the journey back, and then got a taxi from the station home. As soon as I got home I was met by my family who wanted to know all the details about the holiday, whereas all I wanted to do was sleep.

I gave out their presents. One of the two Swiss mugs I bought hadn't survived and was smashed, and the truffles and chocolates from Switzerland had melted together. Luckily the wine had survived.

I took the next day off work to recover and unpack, which was definitely needed before I went back to work on the Wednesday. When I woke up I was greeted by a bill from the hospital in Paris. Great!

At the first opportunity I got I was looking on the Contiki website to see which tour I wanted to do next as I am definitely hooked on travelling and want to see more of the world.

My trusty travel journal. I guess its time to buy a brand new one and book my next trip!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Day 9 - 30th July - Paris at leisure

Today was our last day on tour as tomorrow would be dedicated solely to travelling back home.

We set off early to head into the city to spend the day doing whatever we pleased. On route Richie gave us a talk about various places to visit. A few people were missing form the coach. Instead of spending a day looking around one of the most magnificent cities in the world, instead they chose to visit the tack-feast that is Disney-land!

Our first stop was at the Eiffel Tower wher we had a professional photographer take a group shot of everybody. It was then up to us to decide what we wanted to do. As most people wanted to go up the Eiffel Tower I decided I would go off by myself and do the less tourist places as I've already been up the Eiffel Tower twice before.

I headed to the nearest Metro station to make my way to Galleries Lafayetter to do a spot of shopping. When I got there to my dismay it was close because it was a Sunday. They are usually open Sunday's, but not in the month of August as this is when the French take their holidays, so a lot of places aren't open all the time. This was really disappointing as I knew my other favourite shopping jaunt, the department store La Samaritane, had been shut for a long time as they were undergoing huge renovations as it had been discovered that the store had been a really bad fire risk. At least this meant I would save a little money as I wouldn't get tempted by the Parisian fashions like I usually am. I decided to go see the Pompidou Centre as the last time I visited we didn't get a chance to go. I made my way to the nearest station, then followed the signs to the Pompidou, but the signs suddenly stopped in the middle of nowhere so I wandered around for a while trying to find it but with no luck. I got out my map and tried to locate where it was. Even with my map it was difficult to fin. i only found it by chance when I saw a corner of its distinctive building jutting out around the corner of the street I was in.

Once inside I made my way up to the top floor via the escalators and coridoors which are situated in clear, cylindrical shaped tubes attached to the outside of the building. At the top their were great views over the Parisian rooftops. There was also a restaurant at the top on a roof terrace. It was really modern, but hellishly expensive so I decided to pass by and go see the current featured exhibition which was a wide selection of metal sculptures by David Smith from 1933 to 1964.

Ater that I went to the main floor of the gallery. They had a vastly different collection to what they had when I'd last visited in 2004. I saw some pop art paintings by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein as well as paintings by other artists such as Leger and Dali. In another section of the gallery there was a room which was full of all things pink. On one wall there was a wind machine blowing some pink fabric to make it ripple with a light behind it, and in the centre of the room there was a gigantic pink stiletto. It was a very camp room, I'm sure Graham Norton wouldn't look out of place there.

Escalator inside one of the cylindars on the outside of the building

The pink stiletto

Views from the Pompidou. Eiffel Tower on the left and La Defence centre, back

View from the Pompidou - Sacre Coeur in Montmartre

View from the Pompidou

View from the Pompidou - Montparnasse Tower

View from the Pompidou - Wifi zone in the sqaure below

Andy Warhol paining

David Smith sclupture exhibition

View from the Pompidou - Paris's very own Banksy

View from Pompidou - Looking down

View from Pompidou

View from Pompidou

View from Pompidou

Inside Pompidou

There was an obvious video theme running throughout the rest of the gallery with short video clips and films being shown on the walls. On imparticular was quite mesmorising. It was an old clip of a mans hand trying to catch objects which were falling from above. It was very bizarre, but quite captivating as you would start to count how many items he managed to catch in a row without dropping one.

Outside the Pompidou centre I sat in the square and watched some music performers whil taking a few photographs of the outside of the building.

Outside the Pompidou Centre

Next I made my way to Montparnasse to go up Tour Montparnasse. Luckily the Paris Visite travel card I'd bought got me 35% off the entrance fee. I made my way to the lift and headed up to the top flor. The lift was really fast and took around 20 seconds to get to the 52nd floor, compare that with my lift at work which takes the same time to get to the 4th floor. Once out of the lift I went up the final set of stairs onto the roof of the building. There were markings in the stairwell showing how many metres high the building was. The rooftop was 220m high. The views were amazing as they were completely 360 degree panoramic views of the city. From the top you could see the Eiffel Tower in the distance. The building was in direct line with the Tower so it made for great photographs. I definitely think this is the ultimate vantage point of the tower from anywhere in the city. I also saw the Louvre from above. From this high up you could see how large scale it was, it seemed to sprawl across such a large area. At night the view from the top is absolutely spectactular and is a completely different experience to day. I left came up this building in August 2005 at about 10pm when the sky was quite dark and the lights of the city illuminated the sky. It was simply breathtaking and a magical atmosphere.

View of the city from Montparnasse rooftop

View of the graveyards below

Les Invalides

View of The Louvre

I spent around 20 minutes on the roof until it began to rain, so I made my way back down to the top floor where it was drier, and got myself a tea and cake and sat in the cafe which could easily boast the best views of the city. I made my way back to the Champs Elyse to do a spot of shopping seeing as I'd not been able to go to my two favourite shopping jaunts. When I came out of the metro it was pouring down with rain, so I had to try and dodge the puddles and walk under the trees which lined the road to try and stay as dry as possible. I suddenly head my name being shouted and turned around to see Rob, Mark, Rob, Luke, Erin, Andrew, Matt and Jackie walking towards me. great timing. I joined them and went to a small shopping centre on the Champs Elyse to avoid the rain, but as it was a Sunday most of the shops were shut, so we headed to Quicksilver next door. Our time was running out so we decided to head over to the Louvre to take a look outside as we wouldn't get time to actually go in. We decided to get the Metro as is was still pelting down with rain. The train that came was absolutely jam packed so we had to cram ourselves in.

At the Louvre we took some photos of the guys posing in front of the large glass pyramid. They did some action hero poses before doing a jumping shot which turned out pretty good. I completely forgot that we could actually go down into the Louvre without paying to go into the glass pyramid, museum shop and boutiques. Instead we just hung around outside, then went in search of which small pyramid Tom Hanks clambered onto in the film version of the Da Vinci Code. After that we walked across the river to get a drink at a cafe. I had the most delicious hot chocolate I have ever tasted. It was like I was drinking melted hot chocolate blended with cream. We didn't have long as we had to meet up back at the coach. While walking back to the coach which was about 5 minutes away my favourite sandals decided to break, and it was the one on my bad foor so I ended up walking the rest of the way to the coach barefoor alond the wet pavement. Back at the campsite a lot of the ground was covered in gravel so I had to persevere with the broken sandal a little longer to make it back to the cabin pain free.

The pyramids in symmetry at The Louvre

Action shots at The Louvre - Mark, Luke, Rob, Andrew, Rob and Matt

That night we all got ready to head out into the city for our last night together. Once there we would go to a restaurant in Montmartre for a 3 course dinner followed by a caberet. I was only going to the dinner as the caberet was quite expensive. The dinner would be at Auberge de la Bonne Franquette in the artists quarter. The coach stopped at the bottom of Montmarte in the red light district. We walked to the base of the hill where Sacre Coeur stood. Once there, there was the option to climb up the many steps to the top of the hill, or to take the funicular. Luckily the Paris day pass I had bought yesterday back at the campsite included free entry onto the funicular so I walked past the queues at the ticket machine and straight onto it. Unfortunately for the rest of the group who had opted to take the funicular there was quite a long queue so they had to end up taking the steps. We went straight to the restaurant which was a couple of minutes walk from Sacre Coeur. We were in the back room which had two long tables set up for our group as well as having some entertainment in the form of an accordianist. He had a permanent smile on his face and his appearance was slightly haunting. He was a very old man and almost looked like a skeleton. He was also wearing massive mirrored shades so we couldn't see his eyes. He wasn't actually bad, and was flattered when Mel went to have her photograph taken with him.

I sat next to Naomi and Tracy and opposite Mark and Dan. We were given a drink to begin with called Kir. It was white wine wit black currant liquor. We were then given a bottle of white and red wine per table. To start with (entrees) we had a choice of escargot, pate or onion soup. I decided to got for escargot as I had quite enjoyed them back at the campsite and wondered how they would taste cooked by a chef. On the menu they were called 'Demi douzaine d'escargots de Bourgogne.' I made a good choice as the pate Tracy had was absolutely disgusting. You couldn't even tell what had gone into it. The majority of people went for the snails option too. We were given a special piece of cutlery which was used to hold the snails shell in place while you ate the snail from inside. The next couse was on option between fish, beef or duck a l'orange. I had the duck. It was really delicious, I only wish there had been more of it. To end with we had brie followed by some type of fruit torte.

Photo by Mark - Our funky accordianist

Photo by Matt - Mel, Jenny and Rob (Ashton)

Photo by Matt - Me, Tracy and Andrew (Frodo)

Photo by Matt - Rosa and Kerry
Photo by Matt - Mark and Dan

Photo by Mark - Me and Tracy

Photo by Matt - Regan and Rob (Wallace)

Photo by Matt - Luke and Erin

Photo by Matt - Ruth-Ann

Photo by Matt - Agata and friend

After the meal we made our way to the cabaret, Nouvelle Eve, where the group would split into those who were attending and those who weren't would go to the local bars. I really wanted to go in. Tracy and Andrew easily persuaded me to come along. I sneaked in with eveyrone else and was soon in. I sat with English Rob, Mark and Mel. We were also given a bucket of champagne. Unfortunately just before the show began Richie came over to me as he noticed I wasn't on the list. I said I though I was and that I must have made a mistake and would pay him the next day.

The show featured various acts from dancing girls to comedy. The best performers were the ones in between the dancing girls. The first one was an old man who did a balancing act on top of these cylindrical containers. At first he started on a few with a plank of wood balancing across the top, then he kept going higher and higher. It looked practically impossible to do. They were really unstable, but he managed to do it before leaping off the top. The best act of the night by far was a gymnast who did a routine with a rope. She reminded me a little of Bonnie Langford. She was suspended from the ceiling spinning around doing assorts of movements and routines using just the rope. It was pretty spectactular and daring particularly as she was suspended so high up. At the end they involved some members from the audience. Phil from our group was picked to go on stage. They had to dance with one of the dancing girls. Phil was great and really got into it. We all cheered him along. There were also a few other members of the audience on stage too. At the end the audience had to cheer the loudest for their winner. Phil definitely got the biggest cheers, probably because our group was so large, but sadly another winner was chosen. i don't remember what the prize was so it couldn't of been that exciting. It soon came to an end and we piled back onto the coach.

I hadn't been feeling too great for a couple of days now and was definitely coming down with something. Once on the coach I lay across a couple of the seat. The next thing I knew I was waking up in my cabin. I'd passed out on the coach and they had to carry me off and put me to bed in my cabin. When I came around I had a splitting headache and was felling generally under the weather. My breathing wasn't too great either. I'd also developed a pretty nasty chesty coach and sore throat. After taking a few painkillers it didn't seem to go away and I felt pretty out of it. I was sat outside trying to cope with the immense pain of my headache. Issac came over as he was training to be a doctor. he was concerned about the headache. In the end we agreed it was best I went to hospital to get checked out. They called Richie a while ago when I first came round but he soon went back to bed. As it had been over an hour and I still wasn't any better they called him again and he came over eventually. Richie and Issac took me to hospital in a taxi. once there the bright lights were really causing me discomfort. Luckily te room I went into had a light dimmer swithc. I was checked over by a doctor. I had my blookd taken, temperature taken, heart rate monitored as well as my breathing checked. They were unsure as to what had caused me to pass out and affect by breathing. I was given salbutomol for my breathing as well as being given somme really strong painkillers. They said it was best that I had been brought in as I had quite a few symptoms of meningitis. As I was heading home the next day they said I could be released as I would be able to go see a doctor when I got home. The painkillers were definitely starting to kick in as my headache wasn't so unbearable as it was before. It was not about 4am and we were able to go back to the campsite. I hardly slept as I had a pretty bad cough and was really blocked up. I hope I didn't distrub Erin too much throughout the night with my coughing fits.

Day 8 - 29th July - Switzerland to Paris

The next day we left early to begin the longest leg of our tour from Lauterbrunnen to Paris (400 miles). We arrived late afternoon after a long 9 hours on the road. At one stage we had driven for 3 hours and asked how long it would be until our next stop as we were all getting pretty desperate for the toilet. We asked Richie and he said it would be 10 minutes later. Knowing that the was 10 minutes in Richie time we knew it would be longer. After about an hour and a half later we still hadn't stopped. We then noticed a service sign along the motorway so we counted down the kilometres until we would reach it, only for the bus to drive straight past it. By now we were getting pretty irrate. Richie said the services we passed weren't very good and that there would be some better ones further along. By now it was coming up to 5 hours without a stop. When we were about 1km away Phil couldn't wait any longer and had to use the forbidden on board toilet. We had been told it was out of bounds as there were very few places in Europe where they could empty the contents/ We knew it was because they didn't want to have to deal with the job of cleaning it out. Before we stopped Richie started playing a sound effect of running water followed by a selection of songs with water as the theme such as TLC's 'Waterfalls.' He definitely had a sense of humour, but we didn't actually enjoy his humour at this moment in time. When we got there the whole coach piled off and queued at the toilets.

Our campsite was to be another Contiki owned capsite where we would once again be staying in cabins. Each day on the coach before we reached our accomodation a sheet would be passed around where you could write down wo you wanted to share with. helen got the sheet first as she was at the front of the coach and filled mine, Erin and Tracys names in. As a joke when the llist got to the back of the coach Erin and I crossed out names out and put ourselves in the cabin with Phil and Katie to share with the couples. Unfrotunately when we got off the coach we noticed Kerry and Rosa had written over our scribbled out names and moved themselves into tracy and Helen's room. This meant we had nowhere to go as there wasn't actually any room in Phil and Katies cabin. We had to wait until everyone had gotten into their cabins to find out who had two spare beds. Those beds happened to be in Dan and Regens cabin so we stayed with them. The plus side of sharing with 2 boys was that we'd get more bathroom time compared to sharing with our usual 4 girls. After settling into our cabin we were greeted by the Contiki rep and ushered into a big marquee. On the table inside there was pink champagne and a large silver platter with a lid on it. Underneath there was snails. There were tonnes of them, enough for everyone and more! They'd been cooked in a garlic and herb sauce. The rep chose Rosa as an unwilling victim. he first drew a big French moustache on her face in black marker pen, then showed her how to eat snails properly. Apparently its tradition to stab the snail 3 times. First to make sure its dead, second to make surely it really is, and thridly just for good measure. Next you pull it out of its shell and eat it in one go. I eventually summomed up some courage and tried on. It was actually quite tasty. I imagine without all the garlic and herbs it wouldn't have tasted of much. It had a similar tast and texture to chicken, just a little tougher. The whole platter was soon polished off. I was suprised by how many people actually tried one. We washed down the snails with pink champagned before going to dinner which consisted of chicken and various pasta salads before getting ready to go into the centre of Paris for a night time illumination tour.

Our campsite was on the outskirts of the city so it took 15 minutes to reach the centre. The first landmark we saw was Notre Dame Catherdral in the Latin Quarter. We then drove onto the Eiffel Tower to see it all lit up. Although this was my 5th time in Paris I can never get enough of the Eiffel Tower, especially at night. Its hard to believe that when it was first erected the Parisians were outraged by this grotesque monstrosity. By night the Eiffel Tower stands ellegantly watching over the city, illuminated against the black sky. It attracts hoards of people to gather around beneath it. We drove past it close up before moving onto the Trocodero where we were able to get off the coach and see it from the viewing platform which is one of the best vantage points to view the Eiffel Tower from in the city. A few people from our group were accousted by some of the souvenir sellers. I even had one follow me for a while even though I was completely ignoring him. Some people on our tour succumb to their requests to buy their wares, while others tried haggling with them. Back on the coach two people had bought these grotesque flashing minature Eiffel Towers. One person paid something like 10 Euros for theirs while the other person kept haggling with them for a joke knocking them down to 2 Euro. They must have felt smug, although they probably cost around 10 cents to make. We continued our tour of other sites including Les Invalides and some of Paris's famous bridges. Aaron also drove us to the Arc de Triomphe roundabout to show how crazy the traffic and drivers were around the island. There are 12 roads connecting to the roundabout with the Arc de Triomph situated in the centre. Instead of the drivers on the roundabout having right of way its actually the drivers entering the roundabout which have right of way, which is a ridiculous idea. This causes chaos and confusion as there were also no specified lanes. Apparently if you averaged it out there would be a crash eery 12 minutes. We witnessed quite a few near misses as Aaron drove us round a couple of times. The roundabout is also the only place where your car insurance policy is void. Not suprisingly either!

Next we had the opportunity to go on a night out in Paris in the Latin Quater next to Notre Dame. Most of us jumped at the chance and jumped off the coach as soon as it stopped to let us off. The first bar we got to they wouldn't let us in as our group was too large. There were around 30 of us altogether.

The bar we eventually got into was a themed gay bar. It was actually pretty cool as it was designed to look like it was still under construction. The bar staff had to wear construction gear such as tool bags and helmets. At one stage when a particular song came on the bar staff whipped out their tools and started drumming away on the bar in time to the music.

Their cocktail list was quite expensive so I opted for a cocktail I knew I would like, a 'screaming orgasm,' which contained vodka, baileys and kahlua liquor served over crushed ice. It also came with a lit sparkler in the glass which I though was quite funky. As it was farily expensive and getting quite late, Tracy, Kerry, Rosa and I decided it was about time to call it a night as it was already past 12 so wasn't worth paying to get into a club just for an hour or so. It wook a while for us to get a taxi as it was still busy out and every taxi that went past seemed to be occupied.

Unfortunately the taxi driver we eventually got didn't know where our campsite was, so we ended up going on a wild goose chase around the area trying to find it. None of us could be of any use in recognising the area as when we had arrived at the campsite earlier on in the day we all had the curtains drawn as we'd been hiding behind the seats as a prank so we could suprise the Conitiki rep when they got onto the coach. Our taxi driver also didn't speak a word of English which didn't exactly help the situation. When we got near to the campsite there were a couple of signs, but the taxi driver hadn't seen them. I was trying to tell him to go left but I couldn't remember the right word in French. I knew the words for left and right but didn't know which was which. Eventually we got onto the right road and found the campsite. What should have been a 15 minute drive turned into a 45 minute jaunt costing us 40 Euro. The next morning we found out that everyone else that had stayed out also had the same problem.

Day 7 - 28th July - Switzerland at leisure

I got a really good nights sleep last night. Breakfast was also a well needed eggy bread, cornflakes and a nice couple of cups of tea. Today there was the choice of going on a cog railway up to the top of Jungfrau mountain to the highest point in Europe at over 4000m. Once at the top there would be activities such as skiing, husky dog sledging and visiting an ice palace. The expedtition was quite expensive, and as I'd spent a lot of money on paraglising, and because I hadn't brought any cold weather clothes with me for the snow I opted out of it. You could also hire bikes and cycle to the surrounding villages. Instead a group of us decided to plan our own itinerary. We met up with about 10 people including Tracy, Erin, Rosa, Kerry, Polina, Ruth-Ann, Jenny and a few others, to go on a walk and explore a few of the waterfalls which were near by.

Above our campsite there was a waterfall which is one of the highest free falling waterfalls in Europe called Staubbachfall. We walked up to it as we had been told by Richie that you could walk behind it. It was a deceptively difficult walk up a steep and winding path, and through a short tunnel in the rock face until we reached the top. It was a bit of a disappointment as you actually couldn't go behind it, just close to the side of it, but you did get a brilliant view of the surroundings from this high up such as Mount Eiger and Jungfrau, and of our campsite down below.

Photo by Mark - The entrance to our campsite with lots of coutries flags from all over the world

Photo by Matt - One of the waterfalls above our campsite
At the waterfall

Views from the waterfall...

The view of our campsite

After seeing that waterfall we walked for about an hour to visit the waterfalls at Trummelbachfalle. Along the way we saw a site which offered helicopter pleasure flights. We thought it would be pretty funny if we went on one of the rides and landed on top of Jungfrau before the others had gotten up there (as their train ride would take aorund 2 hours). The more people that went on the flight the cheaper it was, but it was still pretty expensive so we carried on.

Marks photo - This is one of Marks photos from the top of Mount Jungfrau showing som of the summer snow. It looks absolutely spectactular. I wish I could have made it.

At Trummelbachfalle there was a quaint little tea shop which Kerry, Rosa, Erin and I had something for lunch. I had a huge sandwich, a drink and a fruit cake which was absolutely delicious and definitely needed. The others had already gone on without us, and we soon followed behind them. We went to the top in a cage lift through the mountain up to the first set of falls. The watefalls run through thr mountain. Over the years the water must have carved out the rock to form some of the cave area. One of the waterfalls even flowed in a type of corkscrew as it churned down through the rocks. The force and ferrosity of the water was quite immense and on a few occasions if you got too close you got rather wet. In all there were around 10 waterfalls in this underground labyrinth. It was quite a spectctualr site, and the sound of the water was pretty awesome echoing throughout the caves. On the way out it begain to rain. None of us excpet Erin were dressed for rain so we got thoroughly soaked. We decided to catch the bus on th way back to save getting any wetter. Sadly the weather had scuppered our plans to go swimming in the ourdoor swimming pool back at the other village near our campsite, so we decided to head back to camp.

Along the walk to Trummelbachfalle

Along the walk to Trummelbachfalle

The first waterfall which was outisude the caves

Back at the campsite they were setting up for a traditional music festival. Apparently there were quite a few tours leaving that night so it was set up for them. In the meantime were were told that there would be another themed party that night. This time it was a little easier to decide what to wear as it was a beach party. I decided to make an effort this time so I did my hair and everything. I wore my colourful beach dress over trousers and put on some sandals. As it was our last night in Switzerland we all gathered outside our cabin (there were 4 cabins together with a little area out front to so we gathered all the chairs and stool from the cabin and brought them outside. Everybody brought drink over and the American girls provided the music. We also got to hear the traditional music from the festival as it was just behind our cabins. There was pleny of drink flowing including some pretty disgusting Swiss wine and some spirits.

Marks photo - pre drinks outside the cabins. From right, me (looking 'super happy', Adam, Mel, John, ?, Polina, Krysten and ?

Me, Mark and Andrew. I can't remember whether we were screaming or laughing.

Me looking 'super happy' as usual

Frodo and Mark getting in touch with their feminine sides

Ashton looking very fetching in his ode to the Swiss. David Hasslehoff eat your heart out. This was Ashtons get up for the beach party. The wine in the Swiss bottle was absolutely foul!

Pre-drinks before the beach party. Erin, Tracy, Me, Shawna and Nicole outside the cabins

Later that night we all headed over to the club in the bunker to check out the beach party. Quite a few people had made the effort to dress up too. Luckily none of the girls decided to wear just bikinis like I'd expected. A lot of the men were just wearing swimming trunks and sandals. Again we tried our luck at scoring a few free shots like the night before, but the bar staff weren't that gullible. We actually shot ourselves in the foot because when we actualy legally scored without cheating they wouldn't believe us.

We partied right through the night. Aaron and Richie were also at the party too. I met a really nice guy that night from Australia. At one stage he managed to lose his sndals and was saying to me 'I've lost my thongs.' It was quite funny as sometimes you forget people use different words for the same things. The night soon came to an end and we said our goodbyes. He was on a 45 day camping trip and was heading to Italy next whereas we were going in the opposite direction to France.