Our tour guide, Pedro, was a lovely person and quite flexible. However, he seemed a bit disorganized and unaware of the sites we were touring. We started our tour at Tomar. It turned out there was a festival that day that occurs once every four years. At first, that seemed like a lucky coincidence. However, once we could not get off of the highway due to intense traffic, we quickly realized that this was not an ideal situation. We ended up losing almost 2 hours of our tour because of the crowds, which could not be added on to the end because Pedro had another tour at 5:30 that evening. As I said, Pedro tried his best to make it work, but even when we arrived at the various sites that we were touring, he did not provide much information and often did not know the answers to our questions. Overall, we did not get much out of the experience.
We received your review which deserved our best attention.
I am really sorry you feel you did not get much out of the experience.
As explained by the guide to you, the "Festa dos Tabuleiros" Festival of the Trays of Tomar is held every 4 years and lasts for 10 days. During this period the city receives more than one million visitors. As you must realize, we can not predict the behavior of traffic in the different accesses to the city. Faced with the difficulties encountered our guide was as efficient as possible and ended up ensuring a close access to the monument you visited. The tour in fact was delayed, but of 1 hour, adding 15 minutes of delay in the start of the tour due to the difficulty that your group had in leaving the accommodation. The guide, knowing that Tomar was celebrating the Festival of the Trays, explained to your group that it would be better to begin the visit with Tomar in the morning, because in the afternoon the main parade of the festival, "o Cortejo dos Tabuleiros", would be held and at that time it would be more difficult to access the Convent of Christ. It turns out that the flow of visitors was very intense all day, and soon in the morning there were traffic jams.
On this day we were not able to compensate for the time lost in accessing Tomar as we had scheduled a Street Art tour in Lisbon after yours. Since there was no way around the obligatory return arrangements in Lisbon beyond the estimated time of arrival, our guide had the intention to compensate you by offering your group to join the Street Art tour free of charge. I understand that you had already other plans and therefore declined his offer. I just want to point this out so that our prospective clients can understand that the guide took care to try to meet your expectations for this day the best he could despite the constraints.
Estrela d'Alva Tours Tours organizes 2 different tours that visit Tomar, Batalha and Alcobaça. We carry out tours to these locations several times a week since 2014. The words: "a bit disorganized and unaware" certainly do not describe our professional experience and attitude in the service we provide. Our guests rave about our guides, not only due to their friendliness and attention towards them, but also because of their knowledge and their commentary. Punctuality, knowledge of routes, access and road structures that have to be used, are aspects of our work that are required of us so that we can provide our services in a satisfactory manner.
Regarding the questions that were not answered, Pedro only remembers one question that he was not able to answer. The question refers to the author of the Polyptych of the Charola of the Convent of Christ. In fact it is an important work of Portuguese painting. I take this opportunity to provide you with the necessary information: this polyptych, composed initially of 12 paintings painted on oak wood of which there remain 5 complete paintings, was supposedly executed from 1510 by the Portuguese painter Jorge Afonso, a royal painter of King Manuel I. The central theme of this set of paintings depicts scenes from the life and passion of Christ. Estrela d'Alva Tours organizes a wide range of tours in Lisbon, Porto and the rest of Portugal. We visit dozens of monuments through our tours of which the Convent of Christ is one of the most visited. We apologize for this failure in the information that was not provided.
Our experience tells us that when there is a break in the routine of the locations we visit, in particular on the occasion of celebrations, the probability of receiving a less good evaluation is greater. On these special days we pay special attention so that the group does not feel defrauded in the chosen tour.
Thanks for your time reviewing our services and for giving us the opportunity to address the matter publicly.