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  1. 1 Chicago
    Arrive in Chicago and explore the city at your leisure. There’s a welcome meeting this evening and an optional group dinner to get to know your group before starting the adventure.
    2 Chicago
    Joining a walking city tour gives you a great insight into the city on the lake plus some fascinating insights off the tourist track when led by a local. Weave your way along the Lake Front Trail, stop for a spot of shopping on Miracle Mile and visit Chicago’s internationally recognised Planetarium: the Alder.
    3 Fermi Lab and Yerkes
    Today we depart Chicago for the college town of Madison. En route we visit two famous scientific institutions Fermilab, the home of high energy physics in the US and Yerkes Observatory the birthplace of astrophysics and the site of the world’s largest refracting telescope. The historic telescope has a 40" (1m) lens made by Alvan Clark and Sons.
    4 Drive to Sioux Falls
    En route to Sioux Falls, we’ll explore the serene scenery of Falls Park and the historic ruins of Native American and European settlers. Relax this evening in one of the city’s cafes and restaurants or get an all American experience at a minor league baseball game.
    5 Badlands National Park
    Moving further west, we cross the Dakota prairies to Badlands National Park. Witness the lunar-like landscape of the Park and discover a wide array of intriguing creatures before continuing to Rapid City.
    6 Mt Rushmore
    This morning, depart for Mount Rushmore, home to one of the greatest artistic feats, the faces of four American presidents chiselled into the granite. Head back to Rapid City for an afternoon spent wandering around the many shops, galleries and restaurants.
    7 Crazy Horse Memorial adn Devils Tower
    Today we visit Crazy Horse Memorial, a tribute to one of N.America’s iconic Native American leaders of the Lakota tribe. Continuing we reach Devil’s Tower National Monument, a landmark made famous by the film 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' is a huge rocky outcrop composed of basalt columns rising nearly 400m above the surrounding terrain. We’ll finish the day in Gillette, a small mining community.
    8 Bighorn National Forest
    Explore Bighorn National Forest, a million acre expanse of untouched beauty. Relive some of the Wild West with a visit to the legendary Buffalo Bill Historical Center, perhaps take an optional tour of Old Trail Town or hang on tight at the Cody Nite Rodeo (optional).
    9 Yellowstone National Park
    A short drive this morning takes us to Yellowstone National Park, where grizzly bears, bison, eagles and elk are active. Explore the many erupting geysers such as Old Faithful and the impressive Grand Prismatic Spring.
    10 Yellowstone National Park
    Today we make explore more of Yellowstone’s extraordinary geology, wildlife and scenery. Much of this astonishing national park is part contained within a huge volcanic caldera and intriguing landscapes and inspiring views seem to appear around every corner.
    11 Grand Teton National Park
    Today’s drive takes us to through the stunning Grand Teton National Park. Tonight we will have an evening briefing with Dr John Mason and prepare for the eclipse tomorrow morning.
    12 Eclipse day
    Eclipse day. After an early breakfast we’ll depart by coach to our chosen site to view the eclipse. The precise location will be selected following an assessment of the prevailing weather conditions. This afternoon, join an optional hike to Grand Teton and then gather for a post eclipse lunch.
    13 Drive to Salt Lake
    Today we drive to Salt Lake City, the heart of the Mormon religion where there are many fascinating buildings around Temple Square. The tour comes to an end this evening.
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  3. 1-2 Cuzco
    Bienvenidos! Welcome to Peru Arrive Cusco and take your complimentary transfer to the joining hotel. Today you have a pre-departure meeting at 4pm. Please check the notice board in reception for the confirmation of the time and place. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. The Cuzco region truly is the heart and soul of Peru. The city itself is the continent's oldest continuously inhabited city and was the home of the Incas for two centuries before the Spanish built their first capital here. Today Cuzco is a fascinating combination of both cultures. Inca-built walls line the central streets and many of the elegant colonial buildings are built on or around Inca foundations. This is a city steeped in history, tradition and legend and is a perfect base for explorations into the Inca world or to enjoy a range of outdoor activities. Take the time to acclimatise to the city's 3,450 m (11,150 ft) altitude and explore the many Baroque churches and ancient temples that dot the city. Your leader will take you on a walking tour including a visit to the Coca Museum - where you can learn more about this infamous plant which has been an essential part of life in the Andes for centuries - and the local San Pedro market. There are several impressive Inca ruins within the city. The most easily accessible is Coricancha, which was the Inca empire's richest temple. Once plated in thick gold, the Spanish built a Dominican church atop its sturdy walls. For you to make the most of your free time in Cusco, your trip includes a “Full Boleto Turistico”, a tourist pass that gives you access to 16 archaeological sites in and around Cusco, including Qenqo, Tambomachay, Pukapukara, Saqsaywaman, amongst others. For lunch or mid-morning coffee and cake head to Yanapay restaurant at 415 Ruinas St. This restaurant uses all its profits to support children in Cuzco through Aldea Yanapay and its social projects. For more info on Aldea Yanapay visit: http://yanapay.facipub.com/ ALTITUDE SICKNESS: Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres / 9200 feet where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender and fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary! Before your trip: Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition/s with your doctor. We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatising to high altitude. Please discuss these options with your doctor. During your trip: While our leaders have basic first aid training and are aware of the closest medical facilities, it is very important that you are aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude, monitor your health and seek assistance accordingly. Please read the following document carefully and, during your trip, utilise the table on the back daily to record your own perspective of your general health and any symptoms you may experience: http://d3oxn90f3yphmd.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/file_attach/52735_product_altitude-sickness.pdf
    3 Sacred Valley/Ollantaytambo
    You will drive on to the Sacred Valley on a private bus today. The Sacred Valley, located between the towns of Pisac and Ollantaytambo, was greatly treasured because of its climate, fertile land and the presence of the Urubamba (Sacred) River. At the Sacred Valley you will visit the stone fortress of Sacsayhuaman where massive stone blocks that form the walls of this site give you an awesome picture of how highly developed Inca engineering was. Looking over the city from its hilltop position, the fortress is built out of massive stone blocks and is the ultimate example of the Inca's military strength. You will visit a local community here, to gain a greater insight into the local lifestyle. If it happens to be market day, you will be able to wander the stalls and hunt down beautiful hand painted beads and ponchos. You will enjoy lunch with the local community. Next you will head to the town of Ollantaytambo. Built over an ancient Inca town, which is a magnificent example of Inca urban planning, this is one of the few places where the Incas defeated the Spanish. Ollantaytambo's archaeological site is located to the east of the Plaza de Armas and the upper terraces of this site offer great photo opportunities of the squared grid town below.
    4 Aguas Calientes
    Today we travel by train along the Urubamba river to Aguas Calientes. Sitting at the base of Machu Picchu in a picturesque valley, Aguas Calientes takes its name from the numerous hot springs that are dotted throughout the area.
    5-6 Machu Picchu/Cuzco
    Take a very early (5:30am) bus along the winding road to Machu Picchu (approx. 30 minutes) where we are joined by a guide who will take us through the ruins. Looking at Machu Picchu for the first time, as it sits against a backdrop of forested mountains, is a truly breathtaking experience. No matter how many photos you've seen, it is hard to prepare for its awesome beauty. MACHU PICCHU: While it's thought Machu Picchu was built around 1440 as a country retreat for Incan nobility, there is evidence this had been a sacred Incan site for much longer. Another school of thought is that this was an astronomical observatory. There's plenty of time for you to decide for yourself as you wander around the many temples, palaces and living quarters. You will have a guided visit (approx 1.5-2 hrs) with plenty of free time afterwards. After taking advantage of the seemingly endless photo opportunities, it's time to return to Cuzco for a well deserved shower and a pisco sour. WAYNA PICCHU: Due to Intrepid's internal safety policy our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking this activity. We return by local bus to Cuzco (90 mins approx.) The rest of today and tomorrow are free for you to continue exploring Cuzco. Your included "half boleto turistico" will give you access to archaeological sites of Sacsayhuaman, Qenqo and Tambomachay, in the outskirts of Cuzco. For lunch or mid-morning coffee and cake head to Yanapay restaurant on 415 Ruinas St. This restaurant uses all its profits to support children in Cuzco through Aldea Yanapay and its social projects. For more info on Aldea Yanapay visit http://yanapay.facipub.com/
    7-8 Puno/Lake Titicaca
    Today we take a comfortable public bus (with reclining chairs) from Puno to Cusco. The drive will take nearly a full day, including stops along the way at various sites including; Andahuaylillas Church, Raqchy Inca temple and Pukara Museum. We will also stop to have lunch. Puno is situated on Lake Titicaca, and is a fusion of Quechuan Indian and Aymara culture. It is recognised as the cultural capital of Peru, with an abundance of festivals, music and dancing. You will go on a tour of the lake on a motor boat, visiting the floating islands that are built on totora reeds. In fact everything on these islands are crafted from reed, including their boats which last up to 12 months. Stay in Puno in a hotel.
    9-11 La Paz
    Travel by minivan to Desaguadero, where we cross the border into Bolivia. The first stop is the Peruvian migration office where you'll be asked to leave the bus and proceed through Peruvian migration. Then walk via a bridge to the Bolivian side, submit your passport at the Bolivian migration office and reboard the bus, which will continue to La Paz. About 30 minutes after crossing the border there's another stop where the army will again check your documents. Bolivia's timezone is 1-2 hours ahead of Peru. On route to La Paz we stop at Tiwanaku for a guided visit. Tiwanaku archaeological site was where the Incas learned about building systems and agricultural practices. At around 3,600 m, La Paz feels like the top of the world. It's not far from it and vies with Tibet for the title of highest capital in the world. Although Sucre is the official capital of Bolivia, La Paz is the centre of commerce, finance and industry. Despite the abundance of colonial architecture, La Paz's indigenous roots run deep, and the atmosphere in the market-filled streets is both modern and traditional. There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
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  5. 1-2 Cusco
    Arrive Cusco and take your complimentary transfer to the joining hotel. Today you have a pre-departure meeting at 4pm. Please check the notice board in reception for the confirmation of the time and place. The oldest continuously inhabited city in the western hemisphere, Cusco is a wonderful place in which to stroll aimlessly or participate in an outdoor activity. If you are feeling energetic there are a myriad of adventures available in and around town. There are plenty of opportunities to shop for handicrafts or wander around the cobblestone streets and visit museums, churches and colonial sites. You may just wish to relax with a 'cerveza' or a 'pisco sour' in one of the restaurants and 'penas' (traditional local bars) surrounding Plaza de Armas. You will go on a guided walking tour while you are here, visiting the Coca Museum and the San Pedro market. The cathedral that was built atop an Incan palace presides over the Plaza de Armas, the city's cultural heart. It houses an impressive collection of art, and boasts a silver-coloured Neoclassical altar. If you are interested in visiting the many museums of Cusco please be aware that you have the Boleto Turistico (Tourism Ticket) included, just ask your tour leader about this. This will also cover surrounding archaeological sites, for example Q'enqo, Pica Pakara, Pisac and Ollantaytambo. The Contemporary Art Museum, Regional History Museum and Qosqo Native Art Museum can only be accessed with a Boleto Turistico.
    3 Sacred Valley/Ollantaytambo
    You will drive on to the Sacred Valley on a private bus today. The Sacred Valley, located between the towns of Pisac and Ollantaytambo, was greatly treasured because of its climate, fertile land and the presence of the Urubamba (Sacred) River. At the Sacred Valley you will visit the stone fortress of Sacsayhuaman where massive stone blocks that form the walls of this site give you an awesome picture of how highly developed Inca engineering was. Looking over the city from its hilltop position, the fortress is built out of massive stone blocks and is the ultimate example of the Inca's military strength. You will visit a local community here, to gain a greater insight into the local lifestyle. If it happens to be market day, you will be able to wander the stalls and hunt down beautiful hand painted beads and ponchos. You will enjoy lunch with the local community. Next you will head to the town of Ollantaytambo. Built over an ancient Inca town, which is a magnificent example of Inca urban planning, this is one of the few places where the Incas defeated the Spanish. Ollantaytambo's archaeological site is located to the east of the Plaza de Armas and the upper terraces of this site offer great photo opportunities of the squared grid town below.
    4 Aguas Calientes
    Nestled in the cloud forest at the foot of Machu Picchu, your destination today will be Aguas Calientas. You will travel by train for 90 minutes through the winding Urubamba Valley to reach town, where you can spend some free time exploring the natural hot springs after which the town was named. You arrive in Aguas Calienties at approximately 12pm.
    5-6 Machu Picchu- Cusco
    Take a very early (5:30am) bus along the winding road to Machu Picchu (approximately 30 minutes) where you will be joined by a guide who will take you through the ruins. Looking at Machu Picchu for the first time, as it sits against a backdrop of forested mountains, is a truly breathtaking experience. No matter how many photos you've seen, it is hard to prepare for its awesome beauty. MACHU PICCHU: While it's thought Machu Picchu was built around 1440 as a country retreat for Incan nobility, there is evidence this had been a sacred Incan site for much longer. Another school of thought is that this was an astronomical observatory. There's plenty of time for you to decide for yourself as you wander around the many temples, palaces and living quarters. You will have a guided visit (approximately 1.5-2 hours) with plenty of free time afterwards. After taking advantage of the seemingly endless photo opportunities, it's time to return to Cusco for a well deserved shower and a pisco sour. You will have the rest of today day and Day 6 free to further explore Cusco. WAYNA PICCHU: Due to Peregrine's internal safety policy our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking this activity.
    7-8 Puno- Lake Titicaca - Puno
    Today we take a comfortable public bus (with reclining chairs) from Cusco to Puno. The drive will take nearly a full day, including stops along the way at various sites including; Andahuaylillas Church, Raqchy Inca temple and Pukara Museum. We will also stop to have lunch. Puno is situated on Lake Titicaca, and is a fusion of Quechuan Indian and Aymara culture. It is recognised as the cultural capital of Peru, with an abundance of festivals, music and dancing. You will go on a tour of the lake on a motor boat, visiting the floating islands that are built on totora reeds. In fact everything on these islands are crafted from reed, including their boats which last up to 12 months. Stay in Puno in a hotel.
    9-10 Puno- Tiahuanaco- La Paz
    Today you will travel to the Bolivian border at Desaguadero. Here you will complete immigration and customs formalities. There will be a few stops and you will be required to leave the bus to complete the formalities. The journey by road to the Bolivian capital, La Paz, will take you via the ancient ruins of Tiahuanaco. This was the base of a great civilisation that began around 500 BC before mysteriously 'disappearing' around 1200 AD. It is believed that the ceremonial complex date back to the 8th century AD and was once at the centre of a powerful and self-sustaining empire based in the southern Central Andes. The sprawling ruins comprise of temples, courtyards, terraced pyramids, monolithic stone statues and gateways. The most famous structure is the Puerta del Sol (Gateway of the Sun). From the ruins it is less a than two hour drive to La Paz, where you'll spend the night. You will enjoy spectacular views of the city on your approach, due to its unique location in the middle of a vast volcanic crater that resembles a bowl. At around 3,600 metres, La Paz feels like the top of the world. It's not far from it and vies with Tibet for the title of highest capital in the world. Although Sucre is the official capital of Bolivia, La Paz is the centre of commerce, finance and industry. Despite the abundance of colonial architecture, La Paz's indigenous roots run deep, and the atmosphere in the market-filled streets is both modern and traditional. There are no activities planned for the final day and you will be able to depart the accommodation at any time. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.
    11 La Paz
    Your trip will come to an end after breakfast in la Paz.
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  7. 1 Bucharest
    Bună Ziua! Welcome to Bucharest. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm today. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. Often called the 'Little Paris of the Balkans', Romania's capital is known for its Belle Epoch architecture, thumping nightlife and communist sites. It also likes things big – it’s home to one of Europe's biggest squares and its Palace of Parliament is the second largest building in the world. After the welcome meeting this evening, you might like to get a head start and explore the city by night, or perhaps head out for a group dinner to get a first sample of Romania's unique cuisine.
    2 Tulcea
    This morning take a train to the provincial city of Tulcea, in Romania's east. Located on the banks of the mighty Danube River, Tulcea is a typical Romanian working class town. Upon arrival, you’ll embark on a short orientation walk down to the river's promenade. This has been an important harbour city since ancient times, where the Danube empties out into the Black Sea. Its position has seen it under Byzantine, Genoese, and Ottoman rule before being reabsorbed in Romania at the end of the 19th century. This afternoon there is the option for you to visit 14th-century Enisala Fortress, which tells the tale of when Genovese merchants controlled the travel and trade routes to the Black Sea. It also boasts fine views across the arid, atmospheric landscape of Dobrogea. With any free time you could also visit the Azzizie Mosque, an exotic and culturally rich heritage structure with quaint minarets; the Folk Art & Ethnographic Museum, which details the delta Romanian’s interactions with Turks, Russians, Ukrainians and Bulgarians over the centuries; or the History & Archaeology Museum, which has over 90,000 archaeological objects on display.
    3 Danube Delta
    Today, head out on a full-day excursion to the remote Danube Delta. This is a UNESCO protected area of ecologically significant lagoons, channels and marshes – one of the largest wetland areas in the world, and one that’s a paradise for birds. There are around 30 different ecosystems in this area of 4,152 square kilometres, putting it just behind the Galapagos and Great Barrier Reef in terms of biodiversity. You’ll head all the way to the mouth of the river, where the Danube empties into the Black Sea after journeying 2,860 kilometres through ten countries. The Delta is also home to over 300 species of bird, so keep your eyes peeled for the avifauna that live around the floating reed islands, tree-fringed lakes, pastures, forests, sand dunes, and narrow canals lined with trees. The boat ride also gives you the opportunity to see local life from a unique perspective. The delta is home to an estimated 16,000 people, many who live isolated, surviving on traditional activities like fishing, and in houses that you might more readily associate with areas of Africa or Asia than with Eastern Europe. In the late evening, return to Tulcea.
    4 Comrat
    This morning, travel by private transport to the border of Moldova and on to Comrat, the provincial capital of the Gagauzia (approximately 4 hours). A small strip of land, Gagauzia once vied for independence from Moldova alongside Transnistria, but gave up its aspirations when it was granted a special legal status in 1994. The official name is now the Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia. Gagauzia is home to Turkic-speaking people. Theories vary as to why, but many believe that Gagauzians are descendants of Seljuk Turks who migrated here in the 13th century. When you arrive, take some time to wander around the compact town centre. Walk down the main street, still named after Lenin, and see the statue of the revolutionary leader that stands paradoxically near a memorial to the victims of Communist repression. Pass the monument to soldiers who died in the Russian-Afghan War, and maybe head into the interesting Museum of History, a kitschy, very provincial affair where you’ll find statues, photographs, and exhibits on traditional Gagauz dress and homes. Spend the night in a homestay or guesthouse to get to known this unique culture a little better.
    5 Chisinau
    After breakfast, you’ll make your way to Chisinau, Moldova's bustling capital city (approximately 2 hours). Upon arrival, head out on a guided walk around town and visit the buzzing local produce market, where you can barter for your lunch. Chisinau is a perfect example of a city almost entirely rebuilt in a Stalinist style with pre-manufactured concrete slabs, as it was completely destroyed by three events within two years: Soviet occupation and an earthquake in 1940, and then the takeover of the city by the Nazis in 1941. While Soviet high-rise buildings dominate the city, there is a wide main boulevard (named after the great medieval king Stephan III of Moldovia) which bisects two large green parks and along which the main museums and sights lie. You can wander through the central park to the Victory Memorial of the Soviet army, and on to the Eternal Flame, dedicated to the unknown soldiers from the city who died in World War II. The park also houses the Cathedral of Christ’s Nativity, an important gathering point for celebrations or protests. The Museum of Ethnography and Nature has an almost Islamic inspired exterior, while the grand National Archaeology & History Museum has displays from settlements dating from 10,000 BC up to the Soviet era. This evening, be sure to sample some Moldovan wine, little known worldwide but famed for its quality.
    6 Orhei / Milestii Mici / Chisinau
    Head out of town to the little village of Orheiul Vechi, where you'll visit archaeological sites and a 14th-century monastery (approximately 1 hour). This is the country’s most important historical site, a World Heritage site that’s also a place of remote, stark beauty. Here through the ages the Răut River has carved its way through the landscape, creating a valley with high rocky ridges that served as an easily defendable site to settle. Archaeological excavations have uncovered remains of ruins and fortifications estimated to date back as far as the 6th century BC. The most impressive and memorable sights here relate to its use as a religious site. Atop one of the hills is the church of the Ascension of St. Mary, which has some interesting murals inside, but the real treat is the cave monastery. Below a squat bell tower is a black door, behind which steep steps lead down to caves that are still used by monks 700 years after the site was dug into the cliff. Admire the views across the valley, and then later in the afternoon you have the opportunity to taste Moldova's famous wine on a tour of Mileștii Mici winery. With more than 200 kilometres of underground passages – 55 of them lined with around 2 million bottles and given street names – Mileștii Mici is home to the biggest wine cellar in the world. Enjoy a tour of some of the tunnels (drivable by car!) and sip on exceptional wines.
    7 Tiraspol
    An early morning train ride (approximately 3 hours) takes you across the border into Tiraspol, the capital of the breakaway republic of Transnistria. This thin strip of land east of the Dniester River, officially known the Prednistrovie Moldovan Republic (PMR), declared independence after the Soviet Union broke into pieces, and unlike Gagauzia, is continuing the fight to this day. Transnistria is only recognised as an independent entity by other unrecognised former Soviet breakaway republics. It is, however, 'de-facto independent' from Moldova – with its own parliament, police force, currency, and coat of arms among other things – and still upholds Soviet values. In 2014 the head of the Transnistrian parliament asked to join the Russian Federation. Upon arrival, head out on an orientation walk around town along October 25th Street, greeting the Lenin statue standing high on its pedestal outside the Supreme Soviet (Parliament) Building. You’ll see old Russian cars on the street, Orthodox churches, hammers and sickles, memorials, and brand new constructions sitting next to crumbling soviet apartment buildings and homes. This is a place where around one corner it’s the present day, around another it feels like 20 or 30 years in the past. Near the university, Pobedi Park, with an old amusement park in the middle, is a great place for people-watching.
    8 Tiraspol
    Today is a free day for you to experience this unusual city. Explore the memorials and the military-themed Museum of Headquarters, check out the impressive House of Soviets (Parliament) building, or visit the golden domed Nativity Church. Perhaps head to the bridge at riverside De Wollant Park for panoramic photos of the river and downtown Tiraspol, or embark on a boat tour along the Dniester River itself. You could also take a trip a short distance outside the city to the regional town of Bender, in the buffer zone between Transnistria and Moldova. Here you can drop by the 16th century Ottoman Tighina Fortress, an impressively stout construction on the right bank of the Dniester River. The three miles of walls are dotted with defensive towers and gates, all topped with bright red conical roofs. There’s also a huge local produce market in town, a great way to get an insight into daily life here. Alternatively, check out the Kvint distillery to learn about the famed local rocket fuel, which is available at any bar throughout the territory. At the headquarters of this 1897 company you can taste award-winning brandies made from grapes from the nearby ancient Bessarabian wine region.
    9 Odessa
    A train ride today will take you across the border to Odessa, Ukraine, another underrated gem located on the Black Sea (approximately 2.5 hours). The city was founded at the end of the 18th century by Russian ruler Catherine the Great, who sought to create an architectural getaway on the sea shore. Russian aristocrats flocked to this city of Baroque and Renaissance buildings and shady tree-lined streets to cool off in the summer, and today many sun lovers still make their way to this cosmopolitan city for the sandy beaches. The great buildings were neglected during the Soviet years, but now much of the fine plaster and marble work has been restored to its former glory. After an orientation walk with the group, wander down Primorskiy Boulevard, where Babushkas shuffle alongside fashionable mums, and make sure you check out the famous Potemkin Steps, which lead from the street down to the waterfront. The sweeping stairway is famous for its part in Sergei Eisenstein’s classic 1925 film, ‘Battleship Potemkin’. A pram rolling down the steps after the mother has been shot by Russian soldiers is one of cinema’s most iconic images. Alternatively, spend some time hanging out in the city's parks or the charming Old Town. There are several beaches within the city should you wish to cool down a bit.
    10 Odessa / Overnight Train
    Today is a free day to explore the pretty town of Odessa and it's surroundings. Take your time to stroll around the streets and admire the Neoclassical and Baroque buildings – the National Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre is grand enough to rival any in Central Europe, with rococo style columns, arches, sculptures and intricate mouldings. Wander down the pedestrian Deribasovskaya Street and feel the history, then stop the nearby Sculpture Garden at the Literary Museum, where a new statue is unveiled every year. To see a completely different side to the city, head to the unique underground Museum of Partisan Glory 12 kilometres outside the city. Odessa is built on limestone, and much of it was carved out during the construction of the city in the 1800s. This left some 2,500 kilometres of labyrinthine catacombs running beneath it (that’s more than the distance from Odessa to London), which attracted those who wanted to work in the shadows and hide from those in control. After the Nazis forced the Soviets out of the city during WWII, dozens of rebel groups remained in the catacombs, trying to live a normal life and waiting to strike. The catacombs later housed smuggling and criminal groups. A small section of the tunnels are officially open to the public in Nerubayske, offering a glimpse into the lives of the soldiers who lived and fought here. You'll be free until the late evening, when you’ll board an overnight train bound for Kiev (approximately 10 hours). Ukrainian trains are very comfortable, with four passengers per cabin and ample space for luggage.
    11 Kiev
    Upon your early morning arrival into Kiev, drop your luggage at the hotel and embark on an orientation walk around this magnificent city. Many travellers say that Kiev is a diamond in the raw, just waiting to be discovered. The city boasts a vibrant energy through it politics, art, and culture, and it’s a place where Soviet grandeur is mixed in with medieval architecture and religious monuments. Make sure you visit the 11th-century Lavra Monastery overlooking the Dnieper River. The exterior of the ‘Monastery of the Caves’ is visually stunning, with tiered frescos of Saints and towers topped by bright gold domes that glisten in the sun. It’s also a wander underneath, with kilometres of catacombs below where reclusive monks worshipped, studied, lived and died, their bodies preserved by the caves' cool temperature and dry atmosphere. To get an insight into the country’s history, a stop at The Ukrainian State Museum of the Great Patriotic War is recommended. No visit to Kiev is complete without a stroll along Kreschatyk Boulevard, spending time at Maidan square, where evidence of the recent historic events (like the 2014 revolution) are still visible, and then an amble down church-lined Andriivsky Descent. This street of vintage stalls, arts and crafts shops, small restaurants and hidden bars is sometimes to called Kiev’s Montmartre, and is one of the oldest and most beautiful parts of the city. Kiev has great places to try Ukrainian food, and is a city that knows how to party, so get out and experience it tonight.
    12 Chernobyl / Kiev
    Today you will head out of town on a full-day trip to Chernobyl. At the Dytyatky checkpoint, which sits on the edge of the 30-kilometre Exclusion Zone (the 10 kilometre circle drawn around the town after the 1986 accident), you’ll meet your guide. In Chernobyl and after a short introductory briefing, embark on an atmospheric tour of the town, passing the robots and vehicles used to clean the radioactive fallout. Then, after another checkpoint, hear the slight click-click of the Geiger counter while you stand in front of Reactor Number 4, where a new sarcophagus is being built. The undisputed highlight of today is the visit to the ghost town of Pripyat, where Chernobyl worker were rapidly evacuated 36 hours after the disaster. There’ll be time to explore Lenin Street, the main square, the Palace of Culture, Polissya Hotel, a supermarket, the famous ferris wheel, a school and a swimming pool. Wander the eerie, abandoned streets and get a real sense for what happened here. After lunch at the Chernobyl canteen – all ingredients are brought from outside the zone and are ecologically clean – visit the village of Paryshiv to meet the self-settlers (people who chose to come back to their homes after the evacuation), and see the once top-secret Duga 3 (the so-called 'Russian Woodpecker', a military radar). Return to Kiev for you final night of a memorable adventure, perhaps delving in the city’s nightlife with the group. Note: Please remember that you will be exposed to some radioactivity during today's trip. Given the short amount of time you'll spend in the area, however, radiation levels shouldn't be harmful or unsafe (just don't go touching lots of stuff). Still, if this is of concern to you, you are free to opt out of this activity. Please also note that the army effectively regulates visits to Chernobyl's Exclusion Zone, so last minute alterations can impact the above itinerary.
    13 Kiev
    Today your expedition comes to an end. As no activities are planned, you are free to depart your accommodation at any time. There is so much to see and do in and around Kiev, so you may want to consider extending your stay here. We are happy to book additional accommodation for you, subject to availability. Please enquire at the time of booking.
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  9. Day 1
    London to Amsterdam
    Meet up with your Contiki Team before we hit the road and take a ferry past the White Cliffs of Dover. Next stop: the buzzing, free-wheeling city of Amsterdam.

    Check out Amsterdam’s eye-opening Red Light District, where the creative and wacky come together on narrow cobbled streets.

    Day 2
    Amsterdam
    Cruise out into the countryside and bike around like the laid back locals, past working windmills, in the world-famous cheese village of Edam. In an intro into Dutch culture, see how clogs are made and try some of the famous Dutch Edam at a cheese farm.

    There’s free time this afternoon to experience Amsterdam’s coffee shops, museums and quirky, cool boutiques. Wander along the canals and past gabled houses or experience Amsterdam’s multi-ethnic cuisine. This cultural melting pot dishes up loads of affordable food.

    With an optional evening canal cruise, there’s a chance to get to know the group, unwind with a few drinks and uncover Amsterdam at water level as you drift past the city lights.

    Day 3
    Amsterdam to Berlin
    Motor down the autobahn and get ready for a dose of über-cool Berlin.

    With two nights in this historical hot spot, you’ve got time to find out what makes Germany’s capital one of the most cutting-edge cities in the world. It’s hard to believe that this funky town has had such a troubled past.

    On arrival your Trip Manager will peel back the layers of history and point out the lesser-known details of Berlin’s troubled past on an orientation tour of the city.

    Day 4
    Berlin
    Today why not join a local guide for a tour? Learn about the East/West split at the Berlin Wall and check out the controversial Reichstag (German Parliament) as well as Tiergarten (one the world’s biggest parks). You'll also visit Checkpoint Charlie, where many East Berliners tried to escape to the West, and be reminded of Germany’s darker past at the Brandenburg Gate.

    With free time, get inspired by Berlin’s creative scene and check out its galleries and street art. As a world forerunner in contemporary art, Berlin’s walls are covered in cutouts and graffiti.

    Shopping-wise, this town has it all and is right up there defining style. Berlin is great for small boutiques, funky fashions and one-of-a-kind buys. Your Trip Manager knows Berlin’s ins and outs, so get some pointers before you splurge.

    Do as the Berliners do and grab a currywurst (a local favourite) and kick back at a Bierkeller (German beer house).

    Experience the world of espionage in an optional evening Cold War & Cold Drinks tour with our Local Guide, and enjoy a fascinating look into the Stasi (what was once the East German Secret Police). Then top off your time in Berlin with some of your new friends and explore the city’s legendary nightlife. With cool cocktail bars and some of the best techno clubs in the world, there are heaps of fun choices.

    Day 5
    Berlin to Prague
    Heading south, we roll on to the region of Dresden, often dubbed 'Florence of the North' because of its beauty.

    This town completely rebuilt itself after being flattened in World War II. Your Trip Manager will show you Dresden’s signature buildings, like the Opera house, the domed Frauenkirche, the Royal Residence – once home to the Saxon Kings – and the massive Zwinger Palace, where the royals went to party!

    Lunchtime! Go local and hang out in a river side beer garden, order some hearty German dishes with regional specialities like sour roast and potato soup.

    Then we head over the border and into the Czech Republic to Prague.

    Prague is a beautiful and atmospheric city. It’s also pretty compact, so it’s best explored on foot. Get straight into Prague’s historic heart with your Trip Manager. You’ll walk together over the landmark Charles Bridge, through Hradčany Castle, the home of the original Bohemian Kings and to the gothic St. Vitus Cathedral along the way.

    With a night off, spend some time in the picturesque Old Town Square, where historic buildings and churches surround cafés that spill out onto the pavement. With some world-famous Czech pilsner in hand, park yourself at a table, people-watch and try out some of the traditional local dumplings.

    Day 6
    Prague
    More free time means you can get deeper into Prague’s Old Town in your own time. The city itself is a UNESCO World Heritage site, with a jumble of little lanes, alleys and courtyards. Slow the pace down and give yourself a chance to uncover its hidden treasures. This is also the spot to pick up some famous Bohemian glass, beads or garnet and amber jewellery.

    Choose a river cruise on the Vltava, which runs through the heart of Prague, and take in stunning views of the city from the water. The Czech capital has a really mixed past so look out for signs of the Holy Roman Empire, the Bohemian Empire, the Nazis and the Communists.

    By night, Prague is loaded with all types of music, from jazz bars and hip DJs to opera. There is something for everyone, so make the most of it with the group.

    Day 7
    Prague to Vienna
    Southbound, we head across the boarder into Austria. Next stop is the cultural hub of Vienna. Tonight, there’s a chance to experience Vienna’s musical legacy with a Mozart and Strauss concert in one of the city’s imperial palaces.

    Tonight is your last night together - so take it up a notch & make it one to remember!

    Day 8
    Depart Vienna
    Spend the morning discovering the historical centre of Vienna. Then it's time to say goodbye to your Contiki buddies as your tour ends around lunchtime.

    London to Amsterdam
    See the White Cliffs of Dover
    See Amsterdam's canals & gable houses by night
    Amsterdam
    See canals & a windmill on a countryside bike tour in Edam
    Visit a cheese farm & clog maker's house
    Amsterdam to Berlin
    See the Tiergarten, Alexanderplatz, Russian War Memorial, Brandenburg Gate & historic Reichstag building
    Take in commemorative artwork & the remains of the Berlin Wall
    Berlin
    See the site of Checkpoint Charlie
    Berlin to Prague
    Visit Dresdan the city destroyed in World War II and known as the 'Florence of the North'
    See the rebuilt Baroque architecture of the Royal Residence, Zwinger Palace, Opera House and Frauenkirche
    See Hradčany Castle, the Cathedral of St. Vitus, Charles Bridge and Wenceslas Square
    Visit the Old Town Square and see the Astronomical Clock
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