COLLECTING EXPERIENCES, NOT THINGS: TRAIL TO THE ALPS TOUR

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COLLECTING EXPERIENCES, NOT THINGS: TRAIL TO THE ALPS TOUR

Our motto and motivation is to “collect experiences, not things”. Whilst on our journey, we’re aiming to spend our time and money on spectacular experiences, to be left with incredible learnings and memories, not tangible objects. This way, we’re sure to keep our lives light without additional luggage, but also be the change we want to see in the world.

Our next featured experience is the Topdeck Travel tour, Trail to the Alps.

Let’s talk about group travel for a minute. First few things that came to mind (up until recently) were: hangovers, no sleep, strangers, tears, young just-left-schoolians, and awkward small talk. A short while ago, our idea of group travel was a fairly chaotic one, as we remembered our 7-day excursion to Zimbabwe a couple years back. Long story short – on our journey from Johannesburg to Victoria Falls in 2013, we spent more time in the metal overland bus than out of it, and sleeping meant pitching stinky canvas army tents at one in the morning, only to find giant spiders crawling inside while we slept, rain dripping on our faces.

One could say we were slightly against group travel after that, um, rough experience.

Cut to December 2nd 2015, departure day of one of the most fun-filled experiences we’ve had this year: the Topdeck Travel tour, Trail to the Alps.

 

 

Our thoughts on group travel have changed somewhat…

  • Hangovers – only by choice, and only once or twice during the 17-day excursion (as it should be).
  • No sleep – not here. From comfy King-size beds in cushy hotels, to each having double-seats on the bus, we definitely caught our Zs regardless of the location, or time of day.
  • Strangers – yeah, lots of them, but only on day one. After a few rounds of “bus speed-dating” and some hilarious “two truths one lie” chats, we were practically family.
  • Tears – plenty. I’ve never laughed so hard in my life.
  • Young just-left-schoolians – about 60% of the crowd, and some of the most genuine people we’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.
  • Awkward small talk – half-a-day’s worth, and then deep chats with likeminded souls from there on out.

Pisa Italy | How Far From Home

You see, what we realized is that there’s different types of group travel. And lucky for us, the people going on a hotels-only Topdeck tour, tend to be slightly older, maybe even attached with better-half in tow, and are more interested in actually exploring the destination than getting lost in a dark pub somewhere. Don’t get me wrong – zealous karaoke nights, festive German beer halls and moonlight clubbing are a definite hit, and we enjoyed them thoroughly, but they don’t seem to be the focus.

Venice Italy | How Far From Home

Maybe the reason we were so fond of this trip, is because each Topdeck tour comes equipped with:

  • 1 x rocking Tour Lead (we were blessed to have the raddest chick named Noddy – one of the most passionate and culturally-educated peeps I’ve ever met);
  • 1 x burly Bus Driver (with flawless driving);
  • 1 x comfortable, clean and spacious bus;
  • 1 x detailed, culturally-submerging itinerary (with tons of walking tours & drive-by tours, but also plenty of free time to roam, which we loved doing);
  • A few City-101 guides;
  • A bunch of authentic-to-each-city experiences;
  • An array of optional activities;
  • And the chance to make friends, almost instantly, with 18-39 year-olds from all over the world.

Engelberg Switzerland | How Far From Home

For us, the Trail to the Alps tour meant ticking off some items from our Wanderlist (namely sharing Gluhweins at a Bavarian Christmas market, eating pastries and baguettes in Paris, and having pizza in Italy), clocking up many kilometers as we got further from home, and not having to worry about any of the admin (the bookings, reservations, accommodation and transport) which we really didn’t even have to think about during the couple of weeks.

It was fun designing the print for the tour’s team hoodie, driving around the Arc de Triomph in Paris in one of the craziest traffic circles in the world, staging funny Pisa shots with our new friends, and exploring Venice, Rome and beautiful Engelberg in the Swiss Alps for the first time. We got to see the White Cliffs of Dover, Juliet in the small Italian town of Verona, one of the largest Cathedrals in the world in Milan, and ended off the tour exploring the Austrian Alps in Tirol.

We definitely added some epic new memories to our bank, so thank you Topdeck! You made our European Winter one of the best!

Venice Italy | How Far From Home

And if you’re reading this pondering if group travel is for you – think of it this way…if it’s a fun, friendly and explorative adventure, with a whole bunch of free time to reign about on your own, (whilst leaving you in your fitness tracker’s good books) you’re after, make sure to check out Top Deck’s vast collection of tours on their site. There’s tons in Europe, Asia, Australia and North America, and all (I can imagine) will leave you feeling well-traveled. If you can’t decide where to go, their Instagram and Twitter feeds should get your wanderlust going, and you’ll feel like a #topdecker in no time. If you’re keen to explore Europe in the Winter, check out our highlights below:

 

From London…

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London England | How Far From Home

London England | How Far From Home

 

…We caught a ferry from Dover…

Dover England | How far From Home

 

…Ended up in Paris for 2 nights…

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Paris France | How Far From Home

Paris France | How Far From Home

Paris France | How Far From Home

 

…Found ourselves in love with the snow in Switzerland…

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Engelberg Switzerland | How Far From Home

Engelberg Switzerland | How Far From Home

 

…Passed through Liechtenstein…

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Liechtenstein | How Far From Home

 

…Began our Italian leg in Milan…

Milan Italy | How Far From Home

 

…Saw the architectural faux pas in Pisa…

Pisa Italy | How Far From Home

 

…Learnt how every Florentine loves the Duomo, in Florence…

Florence Italy | How Far From Home

 

…Got lost in fog in Orvieto…

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…Explored beautiful Rome…

Rome Italy | How Far From Home

Rome Italy | How Far From Home

Rome Italy | How Far From Home

 

…Popped past the Vatican City…

Rome Italy | How Far From Home

 

…Strolled through some tiny streets in Verona…

Verona Italy | How Far From Home

Verona Italy | How Far From Home

 

…Fell in love with Venice

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Venice Italy | How Far From Home

Venice Italy | How Far From Home

 

…Hiked and explored the Austrian Alps in Tirol

Tirol Austria | How Far From Home

Tirol Austria | How Far From Home

 

…Then ended up in Munich.

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Munich Germany | How Far From Home

 

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1Comment
  • Dani
    Posted at 15:05h, 11 January

    “..Saw the architectural faux pas in Pisa…”
    Hahaha I love it!

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