Cosmos – Cosmopolitan Europe
For my honeymoon my husband and I decided to do a tour of Europe. I didn’t want to fly as I had a very bad experience on my GAP year after a flight and wanted to be relaxed at all times on our honeymoon. After long hours searching on the internet we decided to book a Cosmos Tour called Cosmopolitan Europe. It lasted 14 nights and 15 days and would start in London and end there too.
Booking with Cosmos was easy enough once we got speaking to the right person. We had tried to book online but there were problems and it held our booking and as we had taken the last 2 seats when we tried to book it again it said it was unavailable, I was devastated! So I rang them and they said the tour was cancelled as not enough people were going on it. After I came off the call I thought ‘no that can’t be right’ so I got my husband to ring again and the girl explained the tour wasn’t cancelled and we had held seats (we didn’t realised we had done this). From then on everything went to plan. Just goes to show that you can just get a bad sales person who can ruin things yet another one was more than helpful and efficient.
The one thing I am going to say that I was disappointed in this tour was that a lot of the excursions were optional extras which you had to pay for. I am going to go through the itinerary that we done.
We started the tour in London where we got our transfer to Dover in a bus, then onto the boat in Calais. The Cosmos representatives were always somewhere to guide us but you got to travel on the boat by yourself. Once arriving in Calais when you get off the boat you are met by the tour guide for the rest of the tour. Ours was called Lugi and he was very typical stereotype Italian. He had a passion for his job and art so we heard a lot about art and history. You get onto the bus and the people you are with are the ones you will be spending the next 14 days with. It was roughly 2 and half hours on the bus to get to Brussels. Once we arrived you could have done an optional tour costing 25 euros each. It took you around Brussels for some sight seeing to see the 17th Century town houses in the centre square. We then walked to see the famous fountain of the boy peeing and into a small quaint pub with a warm fire to taste strawberry beer. The place had a lovely cosy atmosphere.
You start the morning on the bus to Bordberg to do a cruise on the Rhine which lasted 1 hour 45 minutes. Along the boat trip/ cruise you got to see vineyards, medieval castles and half timbered houses. Some people on our tour had never seen castles before and they were going mad taking pictures it was like seeing a child in Disneyland! It was a gorgeous view and relaxing watching the scenery passes by. After the cruise we got back onto the bus for approximately 2 and half hours.
We made our way to Nuremberg which we got to look around. It is an ancient city possessing much of its original medieval walls so it had lots of interesting buildings for you to look at. After we had a brief look around the shops (I bought some lovely chocolates) we were back onto the bus again to go to Prague. Another optional tour was offered in Prague costing 30 euros each which took you to see magnificent views of Prague and then to a pub to taste Prague dark beer. We got a tour guide from Prague and he was so droll and boring he sounded like a machine or computer taking when he was describing everywhere (it’s funny the little things you remember!)
Today we had another local guide to take us around Prague, we went to see the National Theatre, Oldtown Hall and seen a gorgeous castle on a hill. We walked along streets (Paris St) and seen the unique buildings each telling a story. Then we were taken to the bridge where there were fabulous views. Casino Royale and Mission Impossible were filmed here. After our stop it was onto the bus again to go to Vienna. An optional tour costing 40 euros was available taking you to a Waltz show at the theatre the Straus Brothers played at. It was very small but the orchestra was good and a man and woman did ballet type dancing along with singing. In my opinion it wasn’t worth the money, you did get a glass of free champagne at the interval.
Included in the overall tour, a tour of Vienna was included where you seen parks, State Opera, Parliament, Town Hall and St Stephens Cathedral. A walking tour was available after to see a statue of Sisi then onto St Stephens Cathedral where we got to look inside and have spare time. In our spare time we decided to climb 343 steps up he tour to see spectacular views of the area. It really was worth the effort. Then another optional tour was available costing 40 euro which took you to Schonbrunn Palace and gardens. This place was very interesting and was a delight to walk around. I am glad I did this tour.
*VIENNA-LAKE WORTH-VENICE AREA
Back on the bus for another long journey where you stop at Lake Worth which was pretty but to me it was nothing special. Maybe I was just tired travelling by this stage or maybe it was the rain and mist putting me off. After a short walk around you are back on the bus again.
Today we made our way by boat to Venice. Approaching it was unbelievable it’s such a unique place. Our tour guide gave us a short orientation of the place then took us to St Marks Square. I can remember lots of pigeons about this area. We got lots of time to explore the area ourselves and see the hundred of souvenir shops with Venetian glass. My husband and I got the gondola around the canals which were a nice way to see the place.
Another bus journey before arriving at Assisi were you could explore the church of St Francis of Assisi. It was on a rather steep hill. Then back onto the bus to make our way towards Rome where you could have done another optional tour costing 52 euros each which I feel was expensive. You visited Piazza Barberini, Triton Fountain, Via Veneto, Villa Borguese and Trevi fountain and a meal was also included.
We had special circumstances when we were in Rome as the Pope was inaugurating Saints so he was down in the square giving communion. This meant that most places were closed because of this special event. All of our tours were cancelled but we did go to St Peters Square and braved through the crowds to see this event happen. After we went to the Roman Forum and the Coliseum which I felt was rather rushed and was disappointed as I felt it would have been nice to get less history from the guide and more time exploring the area ourselves.
This morning we got a tour through the Vatican museum with lots of commentary. I felt that we spent enough time here and got a good feel for the history of the place. We visited the Sistine Chapel which I have to admit was a lot smaller than I imagined. The paintings by Michelangelo were beautiful and like nothing I had ever seen before.
*FLORENCE AREA-LUGANO-LAKE LUCERNE AREA
More time on the bus and then a short stop at Lake Lugano where we got to explore the shops by ourselves. Then another bus journey to Lake Lucerne.
Here you had the option to go to Mt Titlus which cost 60 euros per person (see my review of the area) which was expensive but I feel it was worth it. You got to go up 10,000 feet in the world’s first revolving cable car to see snow galore and a glacier.
*LAKE LUCERNE AREA-PARIS
Most of today was spent on the bus. There was lovely scenery to be seen. When we arrived in Paris there was an option to do a cabaret show it cost 65 euros. I may be extremely naive but this was not what I expected. (I thought it was just Cancan dancers) it was a bit more adult than that. No one really made this clear to me and I was incredibly embarrassed. I wouldn’t advise this optional tour to anyone.
This was the last day of our tour and it was a bank holiday so our optional tour was cancelled. As we had made friends with the people on our tour we decided to explore the place by ourselves as a group. We climbed the Eiffel tour and had a look around the city.
There were about 30 people roughly on our tour which was a nice number and I felt I got to know everyone well without being forced to get to know then which I thought was nice. The hotels were average with some better than others (if you want luxury then maybe it’s not for you). The hotels weren’t located in convenient places so if you didn’t get the optional tours it was going to be harder for you. I think that this tour wasn’t great value for money as it cost us 1884 for my husband and I together and then the optional excursions on top of that which did work out very expensive. It really is the type of tour you do for a special occasion or a once in a lifetime thing. The optional tours were a rip off but we did them anyway was we didn’t want to miss out. Our tour guide was very informative, very helpful and you learnt lots from him. Another plus is that you get to see a lot in a short space of time. We also made friends and learnt about other cultures.