Frankfurt, concludes Munich, Germany
I would have rated this tour higher except for two things.
First, the agency where we collected the vouchers the day before told us to wait in the wrong area for the bus - It was only as 8am approached that I went back to the agency and spoke to another member of staff and was given directions to the correct bus stand. We then raced around the corner with our suit cases to the correct stop followed by another family. I told the driver and he did stop at the first stand where it picked up more passengers. We had all been given the wrong instructs in the agency.
Second, the hotel in Rothenburg was substandard. Our intinerary indicated that we would stay at Hotel Spitzweg or similar. That hotel looks lovely with quality furnishings etc - on Tripadviser it ranks as no 6 in Rothenburg. We had to stay at Goldene Rose - really a basic B and B, not a hotel. Apart from a pretty exterior, it lacked charm and was very basic and not very comfortable. A real disappointment and not in the same class as Hotel Spitzweg so I felt we had been mislead.
On the positives, the route is terrific - the stops are well chosen. Rothenburg is gorgeous with its city walls and mediaeval buildings and the night watchman walk is very entertaining and great fun. The second night is spent at Hotel Mueller - this was a lovely hotel. We had a comfortable room, great breakfast and the hotel staff were so well organised and efficient. They had tickets ready in the morning to visit Neuschwanstein Castle and we got them to buy us extra tickets to Hohenschwangu Castle as well.
This is a great tour but needs fine tuning - perhaps options can be given to select from a rage of accommodation. I would recommend it if they can fix up the accommodation in Rothenburg.
This was a really good tour - we explored the area near Jingan Temple. The first stop was for noodles and tofu in a vegetarian restaurant - delicious. Then a walk to a local food shop where our guide Mai pointed out local foods and on the way out of the shop we tried mooncake - my favourite - a hot light pastry enclosing minced pork which was delicious.
Next a walk to a local market to inspect fish and meats, and vegetables and fruit upstairs. Mai answered all our questions and explained what was special. Next stop for street food - the locals lined up at is stall selling deep fred tofu and sticky rice. Then a little further after picking up some green tea, a stop at a local restaurant for dumplings. All the food was terrific - we really enjoyed this tour and felt that we understood a little more about the food in Shanghai. Mai took great care of us. Highly recommended.
This tour started with an 8-20am pick up in a van, then a transfer to large coach and ended up at the wharf for a 9-30 boat departure. The boat we were on was good - looked like the newest on the river and there is quite a procession.The landscape is stunning. However, this was a trip (unlike other Viator tours) where there were lots of extras. If you want a seat on a higher deck, an extra 100RMB per person. Lunch on board was described to include "fresh catch" - but if you wanted to eat fish you had to pay extra and a lot extra. We bought a whole fish - not really enough for two and it cost 270 RMB - the most expensive fish we ate in China.
You arrive at Yangshuo at about 1-30pm and are given 1 hour and 20 minutes to wander around before meeting the guide, The bus does not return to Guilin until at least 4 hours later and you are asked to sign up for an optional extra tour to a local village and go bamboo rafting at 150 RMB per person. We felt we had to do this as probably 20-30 minutes in the shopping area in West Street in Yangshuo is more than enough, let alone 4 hours. This tour was OK but I would have preferred to have done the 2 hour rafting trip and skipped the time in Yangshou.
You do not leave to return to Guilin until about 5pm so you do not get back until at least 6-40 or 7pm. This is not what it says on Viator website and as we needed to be back by 6-30 we had to pay extra for a car and driver - another 200RMB.
All in all a very expensive day and not like all the other Viator tours we have done.
San Francisco, California
Blandina is a great guide, who has lived in the area for many years and really knows where to go to and what is good. Lots of tastings - bread, biscotti, pasta , pizza , fudge and coffee and the best cannoli that I have ever had. You will not need lunch after this tour! We also dropped in to a church and a chapel and she told us quite a bit about the local history and personalities. There were four of us on the tour and we really enjoyed it and would certainly go back to a number of the places we visited.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Red Rock Canyon is stunning - lovely 13 mile drive around the park with amazing views. Lots of areas to stop and go hiking. Mojave desert is a wonderful contrast to Las Vegas. Fascinating to see the desert plants and rock formations.
Would have looked a bit more information from the guide about the rock formations. He said that he did not enjoy tours where the guide spoke all the time but perhaps he should ask the group how much information they want rather than make assumptions.
Visit to the Spring Mountain State Park and the house Howard Hughes owned was interesting - worth picking this tour so you get to see it.
We had a wonderful guide who had grown up in Evora and really knew the area. It is a gorgeous (but hot ) town full of historical interest and wonderful buildings, especially the Roman temple. Our guide showed us a great little restaurant for lunch and one amazing pastry shop that specialised in convent cakes for coffee and cakes later in the day. The wine and olive oil tasting provided a great break and we stopped to see cork trees and the cromlech before going back to Lisbon. Pretty amazing day!
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