In 2005 I was in between jobs and wanted to make the most of my time. I had traveled a bit in the past but nothing too far. I had gone on a Greek Island Hopping tour with Contiki a few years prior and enjoyed it enough to give them another shot. This particular tour to Russia & Scandinavia was 3 weeks long. I wanted to take the longer tour that included seeing the Northern Lights but was chicken to be away from home for so long.
To date, this was still the most amazing trip of my life. I made forever-lasting friends (at least so far!), fell in love with a guy (for 3 weeks at least) and saw unparalleled sites that I will never come across again. When I think of why I travel, the memories of this trip are all I need to get me planning my next adventure. That being said, trip-mates make the tour. I give Contiki credit for the itinerary, but without the incredible people I met on Day 1, my views would be very different.
Click here for the site that I made back in 2005 when I came home and was missing everyone and everything I left behind on the other side of the Atlantic.
The random things I remember from this trip aside from the people are:
- Bathrooms so full of maggots and disgust that we had to take care of business on the side of the road in sticky bushes – trust me it was way better than dealing with the smell and nastiness of the shack on the side of the road. That being said, I can handle my biz almost anywhere so this had to be bad!
- Seeing the “zoo” at the gas station – lions and bears in cages put there for the sole purpose of donations to God knows what
- Being told repeatedly “It’s not wrong; it’s just different” for everything in Russia…..um, no. So much was wrong, yet fascinating.
- Eating lunch at the Ikea cafe because there was nothing else around for miles.
- Hanging out in the lobby of our Russian hotel with the prostitutes
Cheers to a once in a lifetime trip that I hope to match someday………..