Jerry W

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Jerry W

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Aug032013

Tour/Activity

Venice Shore Excursion: Small-Group Best of Venice Walking Tour and Grand Canal Taxi Ride

Venice, Italy

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

We had two guides, one in the Grand Canal water taxi ride and tour and one for the walking tour. The taxi/Grand Canal tour was a great way to see the city and surrounding water ways from inside a boat. We enjoyed all the features and many places we saw. After completion we broke into small groups and went on our tour of St. Mark's and the walking tour. This was wonderful and our guide was very knowledgeable and gave great insight into the history of St. Mark's and plenty of time to look around and soak up the beautiful setting. It was very hot and she did an excellent job of getting us into the rare shade for updates and we walked right in past the long line. After the wonderful tour of St. Mark's we took a back road tour of Venice. Within two or three turns she had us in cooler, less crowded but very historical squares and sights. Within the provided time she delivered us to the main bridge, with the crowds and tips for quick ways back or what to do's. Wonderful end to our 20 day adventure through the Mediterranean. Highly recommend.

Jul292013

Tour/Activity

Istanbul Shore Excursion: Istanbul in One Day Sightseeing Tour

Istanbul, Turkey

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

Our guide met us promptly in front of the port entry with excellent signage. He was very engaging and suggested, unless we wanted to see the market at peak time, on a 90+ degree day we could reverse things and go early, this is what makes a small group tour great! Democracy ruled and we all thanked him for this wonderful suggestion, which by the way he taught us how to read the numbers on the shops, to find our way through what only can be described as an over powering experience. Great "first of the sales day deals", or at least we felt so! Then on to the Blue Mosque. His presentation and tour was very in depth, reverent and provided us with the overall experience and allowed us to enjoy the beauty of this wonderful religious sight. Unfortunately, due to our ship's arrival we were not able to the Hoagie Sofia. So he did give us the story out side in the open air mall with the surrounding historical buildings about the much older mosque and the sister mosque within sight. To make up for the Sofia, we went to the Roman under ground cisterns. While there he gave us a complete detail of the history of water's importance to the city and how it was protected and cleaned. What a great surprise, many have not seen on the beaten path. We learned later that the visit to the rug factory is part of the Government's Tourism mandate that all registered and licensed tours visit one of the major Turkish industries; leather, rugs etc. Based upon the fact that Turkey is not yet in the EU and there is no 17% VMAT or 21% VMAT like in Spain, Italy or Greece-if you wish to purchase regional specialty, do it now before the prices become like the rest of the EU, outrageous. If you did not buy, there was no pressure and the hospitality was warm and air conditioned. This experience assisted making up our mind on returning to Turkey for a land tour, hopefully prior to their entry into the EU. Highly recommend, read the days the big mosques are closed, very upfront about that.

Jul262013

Tour/Activity

Naples Shore Excursion: Mt Vesuvius and Pompeii Day Trip from Naples

Naples, Italy

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

The guide met us promptly at the port, with good signage. We took a short small bus run to Pompeii, where we were joined by another couple of groups. The tour of Pompeii was great, but would have enjoyed a slightly smaller group. Our guide was very knowledgeable and provides the walking tour of a huge sight in a well-timed, but not rushed experience. He was very knowledgeable about the life style and daily life of the inhabitants and was able to bring that to light during the tour. After the tour in the hot sun, we enjoyed lunch, in a much cooler surrounding. After lunch, the tour divided up into the small group we enjoy to climb Mt. Vesuvius. Again, a great explanation of the volcano and its history as we winded up the road to near the peak. Due to individual pacing and preferences the walk to the crater's edge was self-paced. He gave of 50 minutes for the 2 miles up and down, in 90+ degree heat and on a very slippery trail. He was great about what to look for, steam plumes etc. It was amazing to see where the edges of the last eruption totally wiped everything out to the sea have been slowly reclaimed. Great tour, and the two guides the one who delivered us to Pompeii and our Mt. Vesuvius guide were excellent and very knowledgeable. Would recommend, it is very uneven walking and the hike was not a given in 50 minutes with the heat.

Jul222013

Tour/Activity

Montserrat Royal Basilica Half-Day Trip from Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

Great overview of a beautiful sight. To truly enjoy this place a full day needs to be dedicated so you could walk one of the many paths or take a tram up or down to another view point. The guide, services and tour was great. We were provided with an excellent history of the area on the way up to Montserrat, roughly an hour from the pick up point in Barcelona. If you are trying to see many places and things in a short period of time, like we were,this was a great tour. The office staff were helpful and assisted in a port transfer with one of their drivers, good company.

Jul222013

Tour/Activity

Barcelona Transfer: Central Barcelona to Cruise Port

Barcelona, Spain

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

We had a tour with the same company that made our turn around back to the hotel and then to the pier a little close. The company worked with us and changed the time slightly, the driver showed up promptly and was a great driver. Made it to the pier for the cruise with time to spare.

Jul212013

Tour/Activity

Three Countries in One Day: France, Andorra and Spain from Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

A wonderful guide and a FULL day of facts and traveling. Our meeting place was a little tricky, but thanks to the GPS in the taxi we found it. It is a very full day of traveling to France, over to Andorra and back to Barcelona. The information and history about the area was great, and the guide drive did an excellent job of navigating the small cities, two of which had special events that detoured us of the normal route. Even with a small van/bus-the ancient city streets of many of these cities in the mountains were very narrow. Learned a lot about the area, history of Mount Louis and then on to Andorra. If you are a ski buff and or shopping person Andorra is the place for you. It is a country entirely set aside for duty free shopping and excellent skiing and winter sports, due to its precarious position in the bottom of a wonderful valley surrounded by very steep mountains. A lot of beautiful scenery, mountain vistas were gorgeous. The guide provided ample information about the back ground, history of the area, and enough time to allow for those interested in shopping and eating. A wee bit of a drive, but then again it is very upfront in the description. Great way to see 3 countries in one day!

Jul202013

Tour/Activity

Barcelona Airport Private Arrival Transfer

Barcelona, Spain

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

Excellent way to end a long flight. While depending upon where you are in the city, the cost is slightly higher than public transportation or a taxi. But given you are tired, with jet lag and almost guaranteed your room is not ready, a great way to get to the hotel, drop off you bags and hit the town. Polite, courteous driver, who met with good signage on time.

Jul202013

Tour/Activity

Skip the Line: Barcelona Sagrada Familia Tour

Barcelona, Spain

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

After an all night flight and seeing much of the city on the Big Red Bus, this was a wonderful experience to enjoy a more personalized tour. The company broke the large groups into small language groups for the tours. As it said we skipped the line and walked right in and began our tour. The guide was excellent in explaining the history of the every continuing project of building this beautiful church. It was well paced and she did an excellent job in answering questions, staying on a tolerable pace on a hot crowed day. This provided us what it promised along with a competent and friendly guide.

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