pdxaurelian

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pdxaurelian

pdxaurelian

USA

A cheerful over-60 traveler

Jun082012

Tour/Activity

Skip the Line: Florence Uffizi Gallery Tickets

Florence, Italy

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

Excellent value - We arrived at 9:am, and we walked right in! Just don't forget to look for the person with the CAF sign to trade in your voucher for actual tickets. And bear in mind that in this case, we were among the first 660 to arrive -- during the very high season, you may not make it right in with such a late arrival.

Jun052012

Tour/Activity

Florence City Hop-on Hop-off Tour

Florence, Italy

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

Excellent value. This tour became one of the highlights of our visit. My travel partner had been to Florence at least five times previously and we saw things she had never seen before. Plus, the hillside drives, both to Piazzole Michaelangelo and to Fiesole, were DELIGHTFUL, especially the last run of the day, when the sun is more gentle on the open rooftop. Ah, the smell of jasmine!

The only drawback was that my expectation of being able to use the bus to get around within the central city was flawed -- really not possible, given the driving restrictions in that area. But for getting to the hillsides, the Oltrarno district, Pitti Palace and the Boboli Gardens: Yes, yes, yes!

Jun042012

Tour/Activity

Chianti Region Wine Tasting Half-Day Trip from Florence

Florence, Italy

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

Totally changed my view of Chianti, which I always insisted I didn't like -- the Classico and the Reserva desgniations were a revelation. And I finally truly understood what it means to find the perfect pairing of food and wine: Chianti is perfect with the hearty Tuscan fare.

Meet delightful "fellow travelers" at the wonderfully informal tasting, and enjoyed the view of the Tuscan countryside from our comfy bus with charming tour guide. Don't miss it! Oh, and we got to see the utterly charming and picturesque town of Greve as well -- another highlight.

Jun032012

Tour/Activity

Siena and San Gimignano Day Trip from Florence

Florence, Italy

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

Challenging, but totally worth it. Oh my! They are not kidding about the "slightly strenuous" part -- LOTS of walking and LOTS of inclines! I have some knee problems, so it was a stretch for me and would have been impossible without my walking stick -- please shed all ego and make sure you have everything you need to be able to get around comfortably. But it was totally worth it -- Siena is a magnificent counterpoint to Florence. Our guide was fantastic: a native Senese with great sophistication and encyclopedic knowledge. Having a guide adds so much richness to the travel experience. And the lunch! Delightful Tuscan food, and a great chance to talk with other travelers -- highly recommended. That said, I have to say that poor San Gimignano's charms were lost on me, since the town is entirely vertical, and I was BEAT. Also, I missed having a guide, and felt lost on my own (especially since I was afraid to go off the beaten path in case it added more verticality to my journey!) For the fully able-bodied, I'm sure it would be fine, but if you are compromised at all in your abilities, plan on finding a lovely cafe near the bottom of the hill and having some gelato!

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