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This tour was very disappointing .
Since we arrived to the bus the driver start saying that the good foliage season was already over, that we should not expect to see to many colors, that a woman was complaining the day before and that this tour should not be happening.
Although it was his birthday (or at least this was what he said), he was somber and looked depressed. During the trip he talked all the time, some times irrelevant things...very annoying.
Things were in the reality as bad, and we saw some nice yellow, orange and red leaves, but nothing too special.
We visited a farm that was not bad, but nothing special
The best was the lunch, the hostess of the restaurant was very nice, food was great and the old wood tavern by a stream was lovely
The tour was excellent. The guide was a very nice lady, very polite and gave us a lot of good information. (I am sorry I forgot her name). She gave exactly the same info in Spanish and English ( I am bilingual and could check, lol).
We visited Avila first, I enjoyed the most visiting the daily fresh food market in an old town square.
Avila is ok, but Segovia is SPECTACULAR. It is amazing the location of the aqueduct and how it still stands (stones with no cement), we had lunch in a very old restaurant with fine food (I chose the cheaper lunch and was ok, the complete one was too heavy to allow you to keep walking the rest of the day). I found Segovia a much nicer city too, we had a nice walk through the pedestrian area which was delightful. The cherry on the pie was the alcazar: just a beautiful castle with an amazing view: they say Walt Disney got there the inspiration to design Cinderella's castle in Disney (I do not know if it is true, but looks possible).
I enjoyed the one day tour a lot
Nice places to visit, with some drawbacks
1. This is a combination of two different tours, so you will spend two extra hour getting back to Julia's office in Downtown Madrid, waiting for the next departure and leaving again the congestion of Downtown
2. The departure to Escorial was a bit disorganized and we left 20 minutes late (not because any passenger was missing)
3. The driver had no idea where to go, he was constantly getting lost, taking wrong entrances...he almost took a wrong way when we exit Valle de los Caidos
4. The guide was a very unpleasant woman. She was shouting to the driver all the time, in front of all of us. Actually she was so mean that all the passengers were laughing.
5. She said she could not do the guide tour inside the Basilica at Valle de los Caidos for some political prescription, but there were another guide tour inside.
6. They did not give us time to walk around the gardens of El Escorial, which seems to be beautiful
7. The visit inside El Escorial was too fast, we were almost running. She kept repeating that we needed to be back in MAdrid because some passengers needed to go to some lunch before their tour to Toledo.
The Aranjuez tour was much better, the guide was a nice laid back guy, with better attitude and a lot of humor.
I was in Paris for work, but I decided to take one day free to visit Mont St Michel at the Normandy shore. I took a one day tour from Paris organized by Cityrama. It departed at Am from Downtown Paris, near Louvre Museum. The bus was very comfortable, although the trip is really too long. It takes more than 4 hours and a half to get there, including a half hour stop in a little nice village in the Normandy, in the middle of the "Cider route", so I bought a Calvados bottle there! :-)
We arrived to the Mont St Michel area, the only con of this trip is that we lost 1 hour having a lousy lunch in a very bad attended restaurant one kilometer far from the island, instead of having the opportunity of enjoying more time inside the medieval village.
They took us to the Abbey first, with a guided tour for around one hour and a half, which was very good. The place is amazing, specially if you think that it was built since VII to XI century!
After the tour, we had one more hour to stroll around the village, which is beautiful, although too crowded with tourists. I took hundred of pictures, the place is SO scenographic and it surprise with every step.
We started our way back to PAris at 4.30, and arrived to our starting point at 9.15 PM.
My only critic is that it is too much travel on bus (9 hours), to stay just 3 hours in the Abbey and the village.
If you have time, I strongly recommend you to arrive after mid-day, check in in a hotel in the village (they are pretty small old hostels and B and B), visit the Abbey, and stay for the evening in the village after all the tourists leaves. This should be much a more enjoyable experience.
Next day you can visit Omaha Beach and the other D-Day sites, which are just 30 minutes away drive. Of course you need a car for that.
The tour was ver nice. Myriam is a very nice French young lady, she speaks English very well. We went to five different chocolate and bakery stores, they were all very good. We had time to buy some, she was patient and polite. She also showed us other places not related to the tour, taught us how to taste a good chocolate, and explained us a lot about the history of each place we walked around.
She also gave us recommendations about good restaurants, an any other thing we asked her.
We were just 3 in our group, so every tasting was fast and easy.
I recommend this tour to any sweet tooth like me.
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