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May182014

Tour/Activity

Caeserea, Rosh Hanikra and Acre Day Trip from Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv, Israel

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

This tour is a nice break from all the religious tours, which of course are important in their own right. You'll see sites of historic significances (more so than religious) and they are quite varied. Caeserea and Acre (or Akko) are fascinating and delightfully diminutive. The trip to Rosh Hanikra, while a natural beauty, was easily my least favorite part of this trip, yet the farthest point. But one of the most interesting stops is not listed in the tour's title: The Bahá'í Gardens. Stunningly beauty. An oasis of peace.

May172014

Tour/Activity

Nazareth, Tiberias and the Sea of Galilee Day Trip from Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv, Israel

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

I knew to expect Nazareth to be an urban setting, unlike its depiction in Christmas carols, but it nevertheless took some getting used to. Still, the sites there are impressive and interesting. Tiberias was fascinating without being particularly unusual. But any fan of Roman history will delight in it. The Sea of Galilee was beautiful but it's the Jordan River that really make this tour! You can be baptized on the tour.

May162014

Tour/Activity

Day Tour to Jerusalem and Bethlehem from Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv, Israel

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

Touring Jerusalem is an absolute must-do for anyone visiting Israel. Obviously, Bethlehem is important and interesting too, but it's definitely small potatoes compared to the big enchilada. So many others have raved about this Jerusalem that I won't waste my time trying to add to it. Definitely do this—or one of the similar Jerusalem tours.

Apr162014

Tour/Activity

Diamond Head Crater Small Group Adventure

Oahu, Hawaii

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

Along the way, you'll see some flora but very little fauna and mostly the butt of the person in front of you. At the top, however, you'll get a panoramic view of Oahu from that corner of the island. Whether this view is worth the cost of the hike is a matter for debate. The hike can be somewhat arduous but if taken slowly it's not so bad. At the top, there is very little room for all the people there and you will be expected to leave after just a short while. The only disappointing thing about this tour was the guide. During her discourse, she included several asides about the Hawaiian people and all the bad things "the white man (her words, not mine) brought to the Islands." I thought we were going to Diamond Head, not a reeducation camp. Go figure.

My Photos

  • Atop Diamond Head, looking west toward Waikiki and Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii

Sep272013

Tour/Activity

Delphi Day Trip from Athens

Athens, Greece

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

The only real problem with this tour was that the tour guide's thick accent was difficult to decipher. When I could make out what he was saying, it was usually a date of some event. While some may like a bookish approach to sightseeing, I'd rather the guide focused more on the people and their ways rather than spouting out every date something important happened.

Sep262013

Tour/Activity

Cape Sounion and Temple of Poseidon Half-Day Trip from Athens

Athens, Greece

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

The nice thing about this tour is that the site is an easy bus ride from Athens yet far enough away to cut down on the crowds.

May082012

Tour/Activity

Skip the Line: Borghese Gallery and Gardens Walking Tour

Rome, Italy

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

This tour was on our last of 8 days in Italy and quite frankly I was not expecting much from it. Boy was I wrong. The Borghese Gallery and Gardens are must-sees, a delightful change of pace from Rome otherwise and the gallery's pieces are stunning. Definitely get a tour guide to help you appreciate all you are seeing. Tiffany, our guide and an American ex-pat living in Rome was one of the best tour guides I have had on any tour ever taken anywhere. She knew her stuff and knew how to convey her excitement about it. I highly recommend this tour.

May062012

Tour/Activity

Pisa and the Leaning Tower Half-Day Trip from Florence

Florence, Italy

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

Pisa and the leaning tower are a rare combination of must-see things that aren't that interesting after you see them. Definitely go and see, but don't expect too much. This tour was priced right for such fare. Our tour guide was only OK, not showing a lot of enthusiasm. But, as I intimated, there's not much in Pisa to get enthusiastic about.

May052012

Tour/Activity

Skip the Line: Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St Peter's Basilica Half-Day Walking Tour

Rome, Italy

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

We had an excellent tour guide on this tour and enjoyed the chaotic but riveting pace and exposure to an all-too-limited but essential tour of the Vatican museums, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica. Unexpectedly, the latter was was not as impressive as one might expect. Somehow its size limits its exposure. I found the museums and Sistine Chapel much more engaging and awe inspiring because they are on human scales. But you may feel differently. This tour is meant to be brief and fully realizes it provides only a tiny sampling of all the Vatican has to reveal. But it is a good sampling of some important highlights.

May042012

Tour/Activity

Rome to Pompeii Shuttle Bus & Independent Day Trip

Rome, Italy

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

While it's supposedly easy to navigate the train system in Italy and make your own way from Rome to Naples and then onto another train to Pompeii, nothing is ever as easy as enthusiasts make it out to be. We are not novices to the trains. We went from Rome to Florence by train on our own and had no real problems, once we realized that the train to Florence will say it's going to Milan because that's the last stop. Would it kill them to list the FIRST stop? One gathers so. Anyway, if you'd rather focus your energy on exploring all of Pompeii instead of figuring out the Italian train system and the necessary connections to and back in Naples, this tour is for you! We got 4.5 hours in Pompeii on our own which is what we wanted. I won't bother talking about the tour guide because there is essentially no tour guide. Yes, there's someone on the bus who rides along with you, but she has nothing to say and makes no bones about it. She will, however, try to sell you Pompeii books for 16 euros though. That's a lot for a book.

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