Pauline M

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Pauline M

Pauline M

Australia

Youth Services Librarian.

Sep252013

Tour/Activity

Small-Group Tour: Traditional Food and Wine Day Trip from Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

A wonderful day's outing. The mountain views were amazing. Montserrat (serrated mountain) gave Gaudi his idea for the design of La Sagrada Familia. We had a most excellent lunch at outdoor tables under the shade of some fig trees, and also had time to visit market stalls selling local Catalan foods. A highlight was a tiny medieval church where exorcisms were once performed. The winery visit was very interesting, and there were various types of wine offered for tasting.

Sep242013

Tour/Activity

Small-Group Medieval Villages Day Trip from Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

Three very different old towns to explore. Besalu is approached by way of a lovely medieval bridge. There was once a flourishing Jewish community in the town, but they were always blamed for any misfortune, including the Black Plague, and were eventually forced to convert or flee. In the former Jewwish quarter we saw a medieval Jewish mikveh or ritual bath, which was discovered during excavations last century. We had lunch at Rupit, with a wide choice of restaurants serving traditional Catalan food. It was an interesting tour with a very informative guide.

Sep222013

Tour/Activity

Santiago de Compostela and Viana do Castelo Day Trip from Porto

Porto, Portugal

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

I had wanted to see Santiago de Compostela for years, and was not disappointed. Our tour arrived in time for the Pilgrim Mass, but as it was a Sunday, the cathedral was full to overflowing. Even pilgrims had to queue outside! I was lucky enough to reach the door just as the giant censer (the biggest in the world, at 80 kg!) started its swing. Then a tenor sang Schubert's Ave Maria. What atmosphere! My day was made!

Sep212013

Tour/Activity

Guimarães and Braga Day Trip from Porto

Porto, Portugal

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

Really interesting to see the birthplace of Portugal and hear more about its long history. The guide was an excellent leader and made the whole day an absolute delight.

Sep202013

Tour/Activity

Douro Valley Small-Group Tour with Wine Tasting, Portuguese Lunch and Optional River Cruise

Porto, Portugal

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

A wonderful, varied day in the most beautiful part of Portugal. The leader was a good communicator and gave us all a great time

Sep192013

Tour/Activity

Porto Sightseeing Tour at Night with Fado Performance

Porto, Portugal

My Rating
3 star rating: Worth doing

My Review

If this is your only chance to see a Fado performance, it would be worthwhile. There is a good dinner included, and a brief tour of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia, the town across the river, before the show begins.

Sep182013

Tour/Activity

Sintra and Cascais Small-Group Day Trip from Lisbon

Lisbon, Portugal

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

A wonderful tour of a magnificent palace, and a good time in Cascais, where the guide pointed out an excellent ice-cream shop. Mine was so good that I put it on Facebook!

Sep172013

Tour/Activity

Small-Group Évora Day Trip from Lisbon with Olive Oil Tastings

Lisbon, Portugal

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

This was a wonderful tour. I was thrilled to cross the famous Vasco da Gama Bridge on the way out of Lisbon. Some highlights of the trip were: a statue of a pregnant Madonna in the cathedral, and a chapel next door lined with human bones and skulls (Bones were taken from communal graves about 2 centuries after the Black Plague); a Roman temple and the remains of Roman baths; Moorish elements in church design, including Moorish arches and tiling. We had a very informative guide, who was able to answer our many questions. An interesting and enjoyable day.

Sep162013

Tour/Activity

Experience Lisbon: Small-Group Walking Tour with Food and Wine Tastings

Lisbon, Portugal

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

This was a wonderful walking tour through some old areas of Lisbon, including the former Moorish ghetto and the birthplace of Fado. The guide had a real gift for making history come alive, and also gave us some insight into the way Lisbon families live today. We also enjoyed a ferry ride across the river. Highly recommended!

Sep152013

Tour/Activity

Fátima, Nazaré and Óbidos Small-Group Day Trip from Lisbon

Lisbon, Portugal

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

On the way to Fatima it was interesting to see plantations of Australian eucalypts, used for paper-making, an essential part of Portugal's economy. There were also olive groves, grown in straight rows and not allowed to get too tall. They are harvested by using a machine which shakes the tree. Fatima attracts many devout pilgrims, many of whom walk on their knees to the spot where the apparition occured in 1917. We had lunch at Nazare, a lovely beach resort, with good waves for surfing in some spots. Our guide told us that he goes surfing on his days off! Obidos is a lovely walled city with narrow streets. We all tried the famous cherry liqueur, Ginginja, for which Obidos is famous. With such a diverse range of things to see and do, this tour was excellent value.

Sep142013

Tour/Activity

Small-Group Lisbon Sightseeing Tour with Fado Show and Dinner

Lisbon, Portugal

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

This was a great night out, with a wonderful dinner and excellent Fado performances by several singers. I was delighted to have the opportunity to buy a CD by Rute Soares, one of the best Fado singers I have heard. Our guide, Andrea, was delightful, and is to be commended for her unfailing professionalism in dealing with a very difficult client.

Sep092013

Tour/Activity

Avila and Segovia Day Trip from Madrid

Madrid, Spain

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

What a thrill to see a huge Roman aqueduct right in Segovia itself! It was built entirely without cement, and the stones were crafted to appear square, but each one slopes slightly so the water will flow. For lunch (included) many of us chose the option of a typical Segovian meal, which was excellent and plentiful. The local gastronomy is meat-heavy, with lamb and suckling pig as the main elements. We visited an impressive royal palace (Alcazar) in Segovia and the guide was very informative about Spanish kings and queens, especially Ferdinand and Isabella. There were busts of all the rulers around the walls of one room, near the ceiling.
St Teresa of Avila is probably the best-known personage connected with Avila. She was an educated woman who chose the life of the convent over the difficult life (and early death in childbirth) of married women at that time. In pre-Christian times, there was a cult of bull-worship in the area. Statues of bulls were placed in cemeteries to protect the dead. This tour was very interesting in demonstrating the long and diverse history of occupation in the region, and for the excellent historical commentary by the guide.
Avila

Sep072013

Tour/Activity

Madrid Tapas Night Walking Tour

Madrid, Spain

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

The tour was led by the affable James, who knows all the best tapas places in Madrid. We had the best tapas feast ever! Apart from that, he also showed us the oldest restaurant in the world (it's in the Guinness Book of Records) and shared various snippets of history. This tour is a must if you are visiting Madrid.

Sep222011

Tour/Activity

Perched Villages of the Luberon Day Trip from Marseille

Marseille, France

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

A wonderful day with an excellent guide, well-versed in history, architecture and geology of the region. Highly recommended.

Sep162011

Tour/Activity

Tarragona and Sitges Small Group Day Trip from Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

Friendly and helpful guide, with excellent knowledge of the history of the region. Highly recommended

Sep142011

Tour/Activity

Milan Half-Day Sightseeing Tour with da Vinci's 'The Last Supper'

Milan, Italy

My Rating
3 star rating: Worth doing

My Review

Too many people for the guide to manage. Some were late back from a stop and held us all up. Would not recommend large bus tours.

Apr292009

Tour/Activity

Traces of Jewish Culture from Krakow

Krakow, Poland

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
I was the only person taking the tour that day - such a shame, because it was truly excellent. I saw Helena Rubenstein's birthplace, Schindler's factory, the former ghetto including the Kracow Ghetto Pharmacy, the Jewish cemetery and many important buildings and landmarks. The guide was extremely knowledgeable, and even gave me a "suggested reading" list of Polish authors available in English editions. This is highly recommended.

Apr282009

Tour/Activity

Wieliczka Salt Mine Half-Day Trip from Krakow

Krakow, Poland

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review
This is an amazing place. This was a very well-organised tour. I was picked up from my hotel.

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