sinha.sangita

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sinha.sangita

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Dec272011

Tour/Activity

Imperial Istanbul Half-day Tour: Hagia Sophia, Basillica Cistern and Grand Bazaar

Istanbul, Turkey

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

We were taken to Blue Mosque,then Hippordrome,Oblesik,Hagia Sophia,Carpet shopping and Grand Bazaar.

This was a very informative and to the point tour. Our guide was proficient and even gave time to clarify your doubts.

We were given audio systems inside Hagia Sophia thus enabling us to hear him clearly enough.Same were not neither provided nor needed in Blue mosque as guide can tell the story and then give you some time to roam around the mosque.

Blue mosque,Hippodrome and Oblesik were covered adequately.Please note this tour first does the pick ups from the hotels ,takes you to their central office and from there you change the bus if required and the tour starts.So there is considerable difference between pick up time and tour start time even if ur hotel si next door to Hagia Sophia.

Tour also does a visit to one of carpet emporiums before our last stop at Grand Bazaar. I was not sure if I wanted it but this was one exquisite presentation..After the presentation I wished I had the need for a carpet.They provide you some amazing information about the carpets their quality,so do not miss it..Overall an interesting half day tour.

Dec262011

Tour/Activity

Istanbul Ottoman Tour: Topkapi Palace and Blue Mosque

Istanbul, Turkey

My Rating
1 star rating: I do not recommend this

My Review

This is surely not a popular tour and I could guess why so.

--This tour is done thru a third party so there are many inconsistencies in viator itinerary and what the third party provides you.

a.Guide was told to do either Rustam Pasha Mosque OR Sulemaniye Mosque.On showing the itinerary though she took us to Sulemaniye.

b.As per viator itinerary there is Grand Bazaar involved but guide told us it was not so..We didn't mind as we had Hagia Sophia tour the other day and anyway it was being covered in there.

c.There was some itinerary change of which we had no prior information.She came on Monday morning instead of afternoon. Thankfully it was early and we had not made any other plans having arrived just the day before. So we went ahead..

--Guide was poorly informed giving us facts like spoon diamond is called so as its shaped like spoon. When asked about architecture of Sulemaniye Mosque,its typical ottoman.Well I already know that don't I..

--Guide didnt even take us inside the state rooms/treasury rooms.I could see other guides in there explaining stuff to visitors.

I was not happy with this tour and the quality of guide made me believe I could have been the guide myself.

Jun022011

Tour/Activity

Barcelona in One Day Sightseeing Tour

Barcelona, Spain

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

A very comprehensive and complete tour of Barcelona. We had Carmen as our guide and she was competent.
First half of our tour was Madrid Sightseeing and second half was Artistic tour.
Madrid Sightseeing takes nearly 2.5 to 3 hrs.
We were taken by a bus and stopped for our walking tours.In the bus as well we learn a lot about Barcelona from our guide,highlighting the important buildings etc.

Our First stop was Gothic quarters where we saw old Barcelona,roman walls,government buildings.Barcelona Cathedral is amazing and guide explains to you before going in about the same.After that you go on your own to see it.

Second stop is for harbour views and city views.

Third stop is at the Spanish village.One get to see the Olympic stadium and many other buildings on the way.Spanish village is amazing and after a round you are given some time to explore on your own. Do not miss the glass factory its very nice.


Morning Tour ends here and you are given an option to stay there in Spanish village with Julia picking you up from here (If you have selected lunch with your tour you have to stay here) for artistic tour. Or one can decide to go back to Julia travel,that the main city area and spent some time there.We decided to go back and spent the time in nearby street la Ramba. It was fun. Also the eating option are many we got a nive 10 EUR buffet lunch in restaurant nearby Julia.

Second tour started from Julia's office around 3:20.Highlight of this one is Parc Guell and la Sagrada Family Church. We were shown the outside of the church and different facades. This was one area where I would have liked some more information wrt what exaclty different writings and portraits in facade meant. Though I did get all this information on wikipedia later on.

Tour guide spoke in 3-4 different languages but I did not find that as an issue.My experience of spain tours has been that seperate english guides are not that good.(we had that experience in two of viator madrid tours)

We had two days for Barcelona and we did this tour on day one.I would definitely recommend this one if you are on a short visit and do not want to miss anything.

May232011

Tour/Activity

Madrid City Sightseeing and Royal Palace Tour

Madrid, Spain

My Rating
1 star rating: I do not recommend this

My Review

I have been to many viator tours but this was the worst I did. Tour was divided into two parts. City Sightseeing and later on Royal Palace.
Regarding the sightseeing part,by the description in activity info I assumed we would "walk past" some of the sites as mentioned on the site however its not walking past its driving past. Again if you are driving past any city its as good as a guide telling you the history and story of the city and bringing it alive for you. We had a guide Antonio and all he did was let the bus stop in front of the building and tell us few lines about who and when they were made. I want more than statistics, how an important attraction goes with city culture or what role it played. I could have done this better myself. Highly disappointing, Guide did speak in multiple languages but as I have seen if a guide is good(Sofia and Carmen from Julia our other tour guides were really competent) number of languages can be excused.Itinerary was perfect but the presentation ruined it for us.
Next part of the tour was Royal palace. This part included bus taking us to the palace and then walking past various rooms. We had the same guide and whatever he told us was anyway written in English explanation in all the rooms. Nothing new and interesting.
So I would recommend doing away with this one and doing it all on your own.

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