Michael Y

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Michael Y

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May182015

Tour/Activity

Ephesus and the House of Virgin Mary Day Trip from Istanbul

Istanbul, Turkey

My Rating
3 star rating: Worth doing

My Review

This trip was a mixed bag. Ephesus is an amazing site and well worth a visit. It is tremendous. But the overall tour could have been a lot better.

First I was afraid of the logistics because of what others had written, but I had none of those issues. The tour operator did an amazing job with logistics. Pickup times were confirmed. Airline information was faxed to my hotel. My driver arrived on time at 5:30 AM and another person walked me from the car to the airline counter to acquire my boarding passes. After arriving in Izmir a driver was waiting with clearly marked signs. He handed me his phone and the tour guide explained that she was waiting for me in Ephesus about an hour away by car. Everything was moving along great, but then it went wrong...

As we moved through sites we seemed to be rushing. After visiting the site of the Virgin Mary's home, we went into Ephesus. Ephesus is amazing. After Ephesus we went to lunch at a carpet co-op. The lunch was very good and I enjoyed learning about how carpet is made. I experienced very low pressure sales which was fine. After this we went to St John's Basilica. Then after declining trips to additional factory shops I was basically done at 2:30 PM. The driver took me to the airport and I sat for 4 hours waiting for my 7:30 flight back to Istanbul we just missed the earlier 3:30 flight.

Had I known how the day was being paced for time, I would have asked for a couple of more hours in Ephesus. There is a huge building preserving mosaics which we didn't enter. I could have walked a road that extended toward the harbor. Instead we rushed along so that we could save time for factory tours that I didn't want to do. What a waste.

May082015

Tour/Activity

Bratislava Day Trip from Vienna

Vienna, Austria

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

My Review

This tour just wasn't great. I think our tour guide was a little limited by the mix of the group. It was very elderly and some of the people couldn't walk very well. The tour comes across as a bus tour, but it is not. The bus basically takes you from Vienna to Bratislava and then you're walking. That was fine with me, but not so much for about half the group. There were many occasions when we would get close to sites, but wouldn't actually approach them because the guide was saving steps for the others. For example, there is an important park with statues memorializing uprisings that occurred in Bratislava during the Soviet Occupation. We got within about 50 yards of it, but didn't cross the street and walk to the statues. There is a castle on top of a big hill that was pretty cool. But it wasn't on the main part of the tour because it was up a big hill and some of the folks wouldn't have made it. The included lunch was very mediocre. I would ahve rather paid less and bought my own lunch. Were I to do this again, I would just see if I could take a train or bus into Bratislava and done the tour on my own.

May042015

Tour/Activity

Kutna Hora Day Trip from Prague

Prague, Czech Republic

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

This was a fun tour to a creepy church! Very cool displays and some great photo opportunities. The visit to St. Barbara's Church was also excellent. The only thing I would have wished for was a more energetic tour guide. She seemed to be going through the motions. After having a great tour guide the day before to Cesky Krumlov, having a mediocre tour guide really showed

May032015

Tour/Activity

Cesky Krumlov Day Trip from Prague

Prague, Czech Republic

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

A beautiful location even with a little falling rain. It's a long 2.5 hour bus drive from Prague to Cesky Krumlov and even longer back with traffic. But it was worth it. The town and castle are beautiful and transport you back into the 15th century. Our guide Sarah was very knowledgeable about Czech history and Cesky Krumlov royalty. We passed the castle where Arch Duke Ferdinand of the Hapsburg Empire lived before being assassinated to precipitate World War I. It would have been nice to add that even as a slower drive by. But it's already a long day so probably not! My one caution is that Sarah shared that the day before the group was 43 people in size. Our group was a much more manageable 16. Were it 43, it probably would not have been as fun.

Jul102014

Tour/Activity

Skip the Line: Vatican Museums Walking Tour including Sistine Chapel, Raphael's Rooms and St Peter's

Rome, Italy

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

Great experience. Guide Doreana was amazing -- a PhD Archeologist who was hugely informative and knowledgeable. Tour was about 3.5 hours long and could have been longer given the amount of art to view in the Vatican Museum. About right for me in a single day.

Jan072014

Tour/Activity

Kangaroo Island in a Day Tour from Adelaide

Adelaide, Australia

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

It's a packed trip starting at 6:00 am and ending around 10:30 pm. But it is an incredible trip. The sea lion viewing at seal beach by itself makes the trip and that is only one part. Remarkable Rocks were an astonishing geological phenomenon. The tour company does a great job of getting as much into the trip as possible.

My Photos

  • Sea Lion Pup! At Seal Beach

Dec302013

Tour/Activity

Phillip Island: Penguins, Koalas and Kangaroos Day Tour from Melbourne

Melbourne, Australia

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

Little Penguins were very cool. Walk back up the boardwalk after letting the penguins get up the beach was probably the best part. Too bad you can't take photos as some folks who fail to follow the "no flash" rule have ruined it for everyone.

Dec282013

Tour/Activity

Great Ocean Road Small-Group Eco-Tour from Melbourne

Melbourne, Australia

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

This is a stunning trip. Another long day, but climaxes with the rock formations around the 12 Apostles and a few other nearby spots. GOR is stunning. Picturesque roadway, turquoise water of the Bass Straight and Southern Ocean are amazing. Long bus ride is well broken up with stops for tea, lunch and snacks (and bathroom breaks). Would recommend the optional helicopter ride. My first one was exciting and provided amazing views of the 12 Apostles

Dec182013

Tour/Activity

Blue Mountains Nature and Wildlife Day Tour from Sydney

Sydney, Australia

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

Time at the Blue Mountains seemed too short; however Feather Dale Wildlife Park was pretty great. We also started the day with a bit of a whiteout at Echo Point. Really couldn't see anything. Luckily the sun burned off the cloud cover by the time we traveled to Scenic Park

Dec162013

Tour/Activity

Sydney BridgeClimb

Sydney, Australia

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

Expensive, but an amazing experience both in terms of the climb as well as the views. Guide Bianca was amazing as well. She had a calming influence on one of our climbers and was also a wealth of knowledge about the bridge.

Dec122013

Tour/Activity

Kuranda Scenic Railway Day Trip from Cairns

Cairns, Australia

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

Lived the train trip and sky rail return. Had plenty of time at the nature park. Included lunch was good as well -- one of the better lunches that were part of a package.

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