The Beginning

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What happens when you put fifty-three strangers on a coach and take them across Europe? Something incredible, to say the least. This is part one of eleven of my unforgettable Contiki experience.

It was a chilly London morning when we embarked on our European journey. Having only arrived six hours earlier after a life-drainin,g twenty-three hour flight, I was severely jetlagged. However, the feelings of exhaustion was fairly mild in comparison to the intense sensation of excitement.

Our first stop was the Canadian National Vimy Memorial, a site dedicated to honour the fallen members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force of World War I. As we drove towards the immense monument, the sun filtered through the rows of trees. Beyond the trees was the battlefield and you could actually still see the trenches - marks of war - although these days they are mounds covered in grass and wildflowers. It was really something. I remember stepping outside the coach and the heat immediately hit me. The site was surrounded by open fields and there was a row of these amazing trees that led to the spectacular monument. It was quiet. Peaceful. Sombre. It was definitely not what I imagined when I thought of France. It was different but it was beautiful in its own right.

TravelJudy Quach