This would have been a perfect 5 Star trip except for the local guide in Salzburg. The drive through the lake country to see Mondsee, Wolfgangsee, and other lakes was spectacular on a bright sunny day. Salzburg was beautiful. The tour guide who met us in Vienna was very good, but in Salzburg, we were given over to a local guide who was terrible. He was derisive and disparaging about everything he discussed, and everything was a joke. If I'd wanted a comedy show, I'd go see one. When I go to an historical and cultural site, I want to be informed and learn about the local history. This guide, besides being uninformative, certainly had an axe to grind with religion in general which he should have kept to himself. Additionally, the guide would walk off quickly through the crowded streets leaving the group strung out, and once he arrived at the next location would immediately start speaking without the group. The guide obviously had other things he wanted to do, and tried to get through the tour as quickly as possible. Very unfortunate choice of our local guide.
This was a very good tour. Kecskemet was an interesting city with Art Neuveau and other interesting architecture. The visit to the equine center and stud farm was a highlight. The Hungarian meal was fabulous, if way too much food. The local guide was very good, informative, and told personal stories that added a great deal to the cultural experience.
Avila is a wonderful walled town. The aquaduct and alcazar at Segovia are fascinating. It was too bad that we couldn't go up onto the walls or visit the first Gothic church in Spain in Avila. That was disappointing.
El Escorial is fascinating and the small town there is very beautiful. This is a must see location. The tour didn;'t go to the Valley of the Fallen. The guide was excellent, very knowledgeable.
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