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'This Trip Has Been a Dream Come True'

August 29, 1993|C.R.

"If you wish to inflict a heartless and malignant punishment on a young person," wrote Mark Twain, "pledge him to keep a journal a year."

But two weeks--that's relatively painless. And so, early in their discovery of Europe, I handed out pens and empty journals to several of the young American travelers on Contiki Tour HP 311. Ten days later in Paris, I collected the notebooks. Here's a sampling of the contents:

Munich: "Went to Dachau concentration camp . . . Unforgettable. It was pounding rain--fitting somehow." -- Cindy Anderson, Joplin, Mo.

Hopfgarten, Austria: " Prosit! --a German and Austrian toast. In Austria, tradition is to hold your shot glass with your pinky on bottom, three middle fingers curled in, thumb holding the top." -- Shanna Crabtree , Orange, Calif.

Venice: "Took a motor taxi to the city, because no cars are allowed. Wow, really strange for us not to see cars! Watched a lace-making demonstration, where many bought some handmade things, and then saw a glass-blowing demonstration. Explored on our own, and many enjoyed a vino-filled gondola ride. Back to the hotel in the 'burbs. Had dinner . . . and choked down the bad vino we bought." -- Tricia Taylor, Merrillville, Ind.

Rome: "When we drove in . . . I remember feeling extremely overwhelmed by the gothic structures and the beauty of it all. At that time, I wished that everyone I know from home could have seen the same--I knew I'd never be able to describe it." -- Heather Draves, Merrill, Mich .

Enduring memories:

* "The view from the top of Mt. Pilatus, with the silence broken only by the clanking of goats' bells far below in a pasture." -- Chris Koenig, Valparaiso, Ind.

* "The beautiful men, Amsterdam's Red Light District, the Eiffel Tower at night, the simplicity of Hopfgarten in Austria, the inevitable stench of sewers on hot days, the aroma of body odor in large crowds, Toblerone (chocolate bars), women with unshaved armpits, pink toilet paper in France, Notre Dame, the $3 glass of water in Amsterdam, Italian wine, the $5 side order of green beans in Paris, two-day hangovers from hell, breathtaking mountains of Austria and Switzerland, Sistine chapel. Great times with good friends!" -- Helen Contos, Northfield, Ill .

* "Staring at the Eiffel Tower at night and having it hit me that I was in Paris. It was really magical." -- Melissa Massier, Loves Park, Ill.

* "The breathtaking scenery while white-water rafting in Austria." -- Jennifer Markavitch, Chicago, Ill.

* "This whole trip has been a dream come true for me. I always knew I would make it to Europe, but I didn't know when. I'm glad I did it at 24." -- Kelly Markham, Kansas City, Mo .

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