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all smiles at the Sacre Coeur atop Montmartre in Paris
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images we would be able to take away were
the ones left imprinted on our malleable
Winter highs
minds. And you can be assured that the
French did what they do best and left us
with plenty of memories. Surrounded by
sumptuous settings, we watched as the
curtains rose… Sixty Doriss girls clad in
feathers, rhinestones and sequins soon let
loose with the famous Cancan. The highlight
of the show was undoubtedly the appearance
of a colossal fish bowl, inside which a
The last place some people think of exploring in the dead
scantily-clad mermaid performed an aquatic
snake-charming dance, mesmerising half
of winter is Europe. That fact may actually be the best reason to hit the road and
a dozen pythons. The night was saturated
discover what the continent has to offer. After all, the crowds are gone and the slopes
with colour, music, laughter and the smell of
are there for the taking. Follow Jeremy Snowsill as he rides a cushy coach for a taste of
Fast forward to the German-speaking
France, Switzerland and Italy.
Swiss town of Interlaken and Bebbi’s
Happiness Fun & Food Restaurant... upon
arrival, it quickly became apparent that this
eparting from London, we who introduced her weird and wonderful provided maps, useful phrases and was no ordinary fondue joint. Bebbi, a man
embarked on an experience relationship with our bus driver, Martin. interesting facts, and generally brought to of Popeye-like proportions, showed us to our
that would not only change our “A sexless marriage,” she said, which, life the cities of Paris, Florence and Rome. seats dressed in a pair of furry Friesian cow
perceptions of European package miraculously, had produced four children. Our vivacious tour leader also moonlighted pants. With real charisma, he demonstrated
tours, but also open our eyes to Adorning the bus dashboard was their eldest as a friendly ear, listening to anyone’s to each table the proper fondue method.
the beauty and culture of this region. Our love child, Hiekie Van Hool, adopted when problems over a pint. Entranced by the waving skewer in front of
colourful collection of Aussies and Kiwis she was just a bamboo baby. Also donning While the scenery continued to change, us, we watched like children as he proceeded
were on a taster tour of France, Switzerland the dash were their Cacti triplets Eric, many dreamt of Paris, and in particular the to take a piece of bread and dip it into the
and Italy, served with humour and Zoolander and Avila. popular area of Montmartre. The previous bubbling cheese and circle it vigorously.
companionship on one of Kumuka’s Martin and Eleni nurtured our travelling night our unfeasibly large family had gone Once the bread was liberally coated, it was
comfy coaches. brood from underneath their knowledgeable to see the famous cabaret show Moulin removed and turned like a rotisserie chicken
Resonating from the bus speakers came wings, making sure we were not consumed Rouge. Upon arrival, we had been forced to while blowing to cool it down.
the voice of our tour group leader, Eleni, by all manner of urban predators. She check in our camera equipment, so the only Although the entertainment that night
was cheesier than our fondue, we couldn’t
everyone’s cheerful with the view of
What I really enjoyed
help but laugh. What else can you do when
Jungfrau from the Sphinx, Switzerland new friends are being dressed up in cow
about our European
costumes, led onto the street in a conga line
tour was that we had loads
and paraded in front of customers while
of free time to do what
producing embarrassing noises from a
traditional Swiss horn?
we wanted. It was like As a new day broke in Interlaken, some
being totally independent,
of us bore the scars of enjoying the previous
but without the hassles
evening’s hospitality a little too much.
However, the deep azure skies and the
of finding transport and
4000m-crests of Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau
accommodation. It was
(the Ogre, Monk and Virgin) quickly lifted
our spirits. We were soon to follow, with our
better than I expected. I
2.5-hour journey on the Jungfrau Railway.
will be recommending
This cogwheel operation takes passengers
Kumuka to my friends.
upwards and onwards from Interlaken Ost
to Europe’s highest-altitude railway station
Leigh Carter, DUBLiN at a dizzying 3454m elevation. The last 7km
CaLL US tODaY! UK 0800 092 9595 ire 1800 946 843 USa/CaN 1800 517 0867 8

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