PaulGBoston

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PaulGBoston

PaulGBoston

Check out my photography portfolio on my website at 500px http://paulgaudes.500px.com/home

May292014

Tour/Activity

Cappadocia In One Day Small-Group Tour from Istanbul: Devrent Valley, Ozkonak, Pasabag, Avanos and Goreme Open-Air Museum

Istanbul, Turkey

My Rating
2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better

My Review

The day started at 0500. Flight from Sabia Gocken airport on the Asian side at 0715. Arrived Kayseri at 0845 and was met by the tour guide. We then proceeded to drive around (rather aimlessly) picking up people at local hotels. Finally at 1100 the "tour" began. The area for the rock formations is small and it's nothing special. One thing I liked is when the rest of the tour got suckered into the pottery demonstration, the guide took me alone to Ozkonak to see the underground city. Not for claustrophobics! We then had a decent lunch before heading at about 1400 to the Goreme area to see the dwellings. We made a couple of more stops for photographs. At 1700 I was dropped at "ATS Transport" in Goreme for transfer to the Neveshir airport for my return flight to Istanbul. I waited in the waiting room alone for one hour until the guy at ATS decided it was time to go. We spent another half hour picking up other people. Then we proceeded to the airport. We made a head on stop with another bus (scary). The driver of our van got out and opened the van door and said "you go in this bus." So, me and two others got off an got on the second bus to Neveshir airport. I have to say at this point I was a little concerned about what was going on. The whole transfer was random and not professional. This airport is in the middle of nowhere, and I mean that. We drove for a good half hour before reaching a single runway airport and small terminal at 1900 (my flight departed at 1955). I arrived back at Ataturk at 2100 and was met by the tour operator and taken to my hotel for 2145. So, I've warned you - if you're up for the trek and a $320 spend, you'll be fine. I'd never do this again in a day.

May282014

Tour/Activity

Bosphorus Bridge, Camlica Hill and Dolmabahce Palace Tour in Istanbul

Istanbul, Turkey

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

I had the tour all to myself. It's operated by Istanbul Walks. The pick up was prompt and the guide was engaging and friendly. They take you to the top of the hill and you can see Istanbul if it's clear. After, we went to the Palace which was interesting and the guide provided a lot of interesting information during the interior tour. If you want to see the last Ottoman palace built in Istanbul, it's worth the afternoon.

May262014

Tour/Activity

Istanbul in One Day Sightseeing Tour: Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar

Istanbul, Turkey

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

Great tour of the key sites in the old town. It's a great day with a neat place for lunch by the Hagia Sophia. The guide was fun and made the day interesting. Be prepared for a lot of walking. Only downside is the carpet sales pitch at the end of the tour.

Nov122013

Tour/Activity

Machu Picchu Day Trip from Cusco

Cusco, Peru

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

This is a great tour. The provider is a local company called Viajes Pacifico. Really prompt hotel pick up and very well coordinated. The train ride to Machu Picchu is very scenic and Peru Rail serves a small breakfast up and a snack on the way back (I did the Vistadome train). Once at Aguas Calientes I met with my English speaking guide, Khan. We waited for another person, however after 20 minutes, they did not show. I had the guide all to myself, so it was a private tour of MP. Lucky me. The guide was very accommodating and allowed me to stop for photos, etc was liberal with his explanations and walked me at decent, but not tiring pace. After about 2 hours in the site he then escorted me back to the bus and then to the train. Overall a long but great day. Here are a couple of comments for the general traveler: Buy this tour, you will not regret it. However, be prepared for 7 hours on the train to and from Aguas Calientes from Cusco. Be prepared for lines to get on buses and to enter the site once you arrive at the top. When you get to the site entrance be prepared to walk steep inclines and stairs to the actual vista and real start of the tour. There is considerable walking up and down, sometimes steep inclines and stairs. There were a number of elderly people having difficulty. While my tour was as my own pace since I had the guide to myself, we actually were progressing faster than larger groups. So I would not say that they move you through fast. Just be aware there is moderate physical exertion required to complete the tour. Believe it or not this really is all doable in a day. Just be mindful of your return train time, have an open and adventuresome mindset, and you will have a great day with a great tour provider.

Nov112013

Tour/Activity

Cusco City Sightseeing Tour

Cusco, Peru

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

This is a decent overview of the city. They take you to all the major sites in the center and a vista overlooking Cusco. My guide was very good - there was a combination of walking and riding. Just long enough.

Nov102013

Tour/Activity

Cusco Airport Arrival Transfer

Cusco, Peru

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

Superb for the price. They may not be holding a sign with your name on it (they did not for me). Venture outside the terminal and there is a waiting area for drivers. If the tour is run by Viajes Pacifico, look for the staff in grey/yellow uniforms. I had to walk up to one of them and give my name. Otherwise excellent transportation for the USD cost.

Oct312012

Tour/Activity

Full Day Tour to the Torres del Paine National Park

El Calafate, Argentina

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

If you want to spend an entire day getting close and personal with Patagonia, I recommend this tour. They take you on this huge Mercedes bus that's built for 4 wheeling. It's comfortable, but be warned of a couple of things: Be in a mental state of mind for a LOT of driving - it takes 4 hours just to get to the entrance of the Park. There are a total of four check ins with Argentina and Chile immigration and customs (two going, two returning) at the border. The scenery along the way is breathtaking and I really enjoyed this experience. When you get to the park, if the clouds are cooperating, the scenery of the Torres del Paine is amazing. There are two coffee stops going/coming at the border and there is a fairly decent box lunch included with the tour. There is no formal stop for lunch - a lot of this tour is moving in the vehicle to see the park as it's a fair distance from El Calafate. There are two short walks as part of the stops, but otherwise it's mostly stops to take photos. I highly recommend this tour. The guide was great and he was very entertaining for the day. The day is going to be 13-14 hours, so just be prepared. If the weather cooperates once you reach the park, you will not regret going this tour.

Oct262012

Tour/Activity

Gaucho Day Trip from Buenos Aires: Santa Susana Ranch

Buenos Aires, Argentina

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

I was a little concerned that we circled BA for literally two hours picking up people at various hotels, but once we cleared that, the rest of the day was very entertaining and cool. You get to the estancia and you have free time to do the museum, ride horses or take a carriage ride. Then they call for the lunch and it's served by the gauchos which is very decent. Then a show of tango and folk dancing and music. After the show you get to see the gauchos up close doing their performance gig with the horses. This was a great part of the day for me and it's a great opportunity for picture taking. This tour was well worth the time and money. Highly recommend. Just don't get concerned if there are many people to be picked up and you think you will never leave BA! Once you do it's a great experience.

Oct232012

Tour/Activity

Best of Buenos Aires Walking Tour

Buenos Aires, Argentina

My Rating
2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better

My Review

I wasn't all that impressed with this tour mainly because it was me and some other people that the guide had the previous day. He catered to what they wanted to see with the tour which was everything I did on my own the day before. It was supposed to be something entirely different than what was delivered. Because they were going to La Boca and I had been there the day before, he cut me loose at the San Telmo market. This particular guide was speed walking, so I'd be prepared to walk at a brisk pace. Otherwise it was informative enough for me.

Oct222012

Tour/Activity

Buenos Aires Sightseeing Tour

Buenos Aires, Argentina

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

This tour is a great way to see the major highlights of BA and La Boca. The tour guide and photographer were informative and provided decent color to the tour. There were several stops along the way including La Boca. I'd recommend. Hotel pick up is convenient.

Jul262012

Tour/Activity

Budapest Day Trip from Vienna

Vienna, Austria

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

The tour was fine, although the ride was about 3.5 hours to and from. You spend about 5 - 6 hours in Budapest and the guide takes your to Castle Hill and the overlook to the Danube and the city. Quite impressive. The "drive" through budapest I though repeated itself as it seemed like we frequently were going down the same street every now and then. The tour allows for 2 - 2.5 free time. It was just enough for me and my partner to hit the Intercontinenal bar for cocktails before the ride back. If you're in Vienna and would never do a trip to Budapest directly, and want to see it, this tour will give you the basics. Just be prepared for a long day.

Jul242012

Tour/Activity

Cesky Krumlov Day Trip from Prague

Prague, Czech Republic

My Rating
3 star rating: Worth doing

My Review

This tour is a long, long day. We left 45 minutes late because the bus picking us up was caught in traffic. The ride to CK is about three hours each way. The town itself is a small tourist town with a few nice restaurants, but honestly, nothing our of the ordinary. The castle is interesting, but again nothing special. I thought our tour leader (not really a guide) was a little bit rude. I wouldn't go again.

Jul212012

Tour/Activity

Prague in One Day Sightseeing Tour

Prague, Czech Republic

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

This tour was very informative and the guide (Donna) was quite nice. She did a very nice walking tour of the Castle and St. Vitus. The pace was just right.

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