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Dan

Dan

USA

Apr162012

Tour/Activity

Ancient Rome and Colosseum Tour: Underground Chambers, Arena and Upper Tier

Rome, Italy

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

This was a great tour!!! Mareena, our guide was great. Extremely knowledgeable on both the Colosseum and the Forum. The extra cost for entering the lower and upper levels were well worth the money. You get to see where the animals were kept, the remains of the pulley system that raised and lowered stuff, where the gladiators entered the stadium from, and so on. The upper level provides you with a really good view of the entire stadium as well as a good view of the Forum area. We spent a lot of time going over all of the history of the Colosseum. Walked through the Forum where Mareena went over many of the key items there. One thing to note is on the place to meet. If you are meeting above Metro station, there is a stairs to the right of the Metro station entrance (from the perspective of looking at the Metro station entrance) that takes you to that point in case you get confused by the directions of getting there from within the Metro station.

Apr122012

Tour/Activity

Skip the Line: Vatican Museums Walking Tour including Sistine Chapel, Raphael's Rooms and St Peter's

Rome, Italy

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

This was a fantastic experience. Veronica, our guide, was terrific. Knowledgeable about all areas of the Vatican. She made the experience that much better. Saw the Vatican Museum, the Raphael rooms which are rooms where Raphael painted the walls and ceilings, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's Basilica. Everything was great. You can take photographs just about everywhere except for the Sistine Chapel. In the rooms with tapestries, they just ask that you don't use a flash.

Apr082012

Tour/Activity

Pompeii Day Trip from Rome

Rome, Italy

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

This is a fantastic trip. Pompeii is incredible and there is so much to see. You will not get to see it all, but our guide, Nicola, showed us a lot of the key areas. He did a great job providing a lot of the key annecdotes about the place too. Also, you need to see the size of the Lemons they have at the fruit stands near the entrance. They are almost the size of a person's head. Climbing Mt. Vesuvius requires you to be in reasonable shape. Many points on the trail are close to a 45 degree angle and it is a long way up. The bus will park in the center of the old crater which blew up all over Pompeii and you will climb the new small crater that comes up from the center. There are stops for bathroom and snack breaks about mid-way between Rome and Naples. Lunch is served at a restaurant near Pompeii. You get a salad and pizza (Margarite style or Bianca which is Prosciutto and cheese). The trip is a long day, but you do get multiple chances to rest. Tour pickup was in the center of Piazza del Popolo at the Obelisk (tower structure). We took a taxi to get there and back to our hotel, but there is a Metro station nearby (Flaminio).

Aug132011

Tour/Activity

Loire Valley Castles Day Trip: Chambord, Cheverny and Chenonceau

Paris, France

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

This was a fantastic tour. Lots of information provided. We went to Amboise, Chenonceau, and Chambord. Amboise castle was great. Saw Leonardo Da Vinci's tomb there as well. The town outside of Amboise was a lot of fun too. Ate lunch there and the food was wonderful. Chenonceau is where one of the Queens resided along with the King's girlfriend. Very beautiful castle with fabulous gardens. Drove past several other castles along the way as well. Chambord was unbelievable. It is a huge castle. The tour guide does take you through the castles and provides info on everything you will see. This tour is a long day, over 12 hours and starts early in the morning from the Tour Companies office which is right across from the Tuilernies Metro station. This was one of the best tours we took in Europe.

Aug082011

Tour/Activity

Stonehenge, Windsor Castle and Bath Day Trip from London

London, United Kingdom

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

Superb tour! Very comfortable air-conditioned tour bus. This was our favorite tour. John, the tour guide, was very entertaining and provided a great deal of info. Bath and the city around it are definitely a place I would go back to. Lots of places to eat or grab something to drink. Stonehenge is what you expect, but it's one of those things you just need to experience at least once. Windsor Castle was great. Pay close attention to how you get from the tour bus to the castle so you can find your way back easily. It's a bit tricky. Only issue here is not enough time to see everything. Would go back to spend more time there.

Aug072011

Tour/Activity

Oxford, Cotswolds, Stratford-on-Avon and Warwick Castle Day Trip from London

London, United Kingdom

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

This was a pretty good tour. Worth the trip. Oxford is interesting. Learned what parts of Harry Potter was actually filmed there. The Cotswold's was just a drive through the area. The driver does slow down to get good pictures of the thatched roofs and the Cotswold lime stone used to build the homes. One thing to look out for is the Blenheim Castle (Duke of Marlborough). It is huge and probably worth a trip back to see. Stratford was a quick tour of Shakespear's birth home. If you want to see where he is buried, you will need to get directions and hustle to it and back. There are plenty of places to grab lunch in Stratford as well. Warwick Castle was interesting. Not quite enough time to see everything, but you get a good taste of it.

Aug062011

Tour/Activity

Skip the Line: Tower of London Tickets

London, United Kingdom

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

Very useful. The ticket lines were long. That's all it really bypasses, but we found it useful especially during the high tourist season. The Tower of London was our favorite place in London. Best thing is to get there early. The line to get into the crown jewels gets long. There is a lot to see and hear about. I would recommend getting the tour commentary devices, much like a cell phone. Great views of the Tower Bridge as well. Expect to spend 3+ hours.

Aug052011

Tour/Activity

Skip the Line: Hampton Court Palace Tickets

London, United Kingdom

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

Hampton Court was great. It's a huge place and there is a lot to see. Easily a full day. A great deal of information on Henry the 8th. Henry made huge impacts on maintaining the English kingdom in terms of rebuilding/refurbishment of the palaces. To get there, take the train from Waterloo train station. The last stop is Hampton court. Buy a return ticket at the same time. They can be used at any time. I think the train was running every 30 minutes.

Aug042011

Tour/Activity

Skip the Line: Buckingham Palace Tour

London, United Kingdom

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

The tour was great and bypassing the line was helpful. Note that they do not let you take pictures inside the palace. And there are plenty of security to make sure you do not take pictures. Kate's wedding dress was on display and there is a lot of commentary on how it was made. The plalace has a lot to see and then you go outside through the grounds at the end. Pictures can be taken from the grounds in the back of the palace.

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