Traveller Story: Johnsy and Karen's Trip of a lifetime!
Why did you select this particular tour?
My wife and I got the opportunity to travel to Paris and we decided to extend our holiday and see a little bit more of Europe while we were there. When I looked at other tours, they spent only 1 night in many places and then you would move on to another place. We wanted to be able to spend more time exploring the places we were seeing. We had decided to attend a local travel expo and that is where we first saw Albatross Tours. We loved that you had longer stays in the places that we wanted to visit and that there was also free time in the tours as well. We decided to go to our local travel agent and book the Italian Grande.
What was your favourite place/s on your Albatross tour?
I am a massive history buff and I have spent many years delving into ancient history of places in Europe. So I was excited to finally see the places that I had read about it in real life. Rome was so overwhelming! I knew that Rome had ruins and such a deep history, but to see the extent of the history that has been preserved was amazing. I couldn’t believe I was walking in places that Julius Caesar once was walked. The Colosseum was amazing and having our local guides share their in-depth knowledge of the area really brought it to life.
The Basilica of St Francis in Assisi actually brought a tear to the eye for my wife Karen. She was so overwhelmed by the beauty inside. There was also a church in the town of Spoleto that our guide Elena took us to during our free time which was beautiful.
What was the most amazing thing you saw or did on your Albatross tour?
It is really hard to say, the opulence of Bellagio was stunning and it was really cool to see the Villa del Balbianello that was used in one of the Star Wars movies. It was overcast when we were in Cinque Terra, however it was still beautiful.
Tell us about your most memorable moment on tour?
Every day was a different WOW!
Our holiday prior to our tour with Albatross started in Paris and that was a wow, then we went to Italy which had a different feel, but it was the same sense of WOW! Again it’s hard to pin it down to one but the ones that come to mind are:
- CastelBrando: Amazing to learn about its history and how over the course of 2000 years it evolved from a small outpost to what it is today. To be able to walk amongst the mediaeval weaponry and experience the castle.
- Pompeii: It was amazing again because of its history and it was pretty interesting to be able to walk through a 2000 year old brothel.
What was your favourite meal on tour?
Loved the food and wine!
There were two meals that we went to that really stood out. One was a family run olive farm and the food there was amazing. We ended up buying a couple of bottles of wine and finishing it off later in the trip. The other one was in the Tuscan Hills (Dante and his sister) and they took us for a tour of their farm where we were able to taste different olive oils drizzled over fresh bread. They hosted the most magnificent dinner, it was home cooked and you could tell that it was cooked with love. The thing that topped it off was they served their own home made limoncello and it was amazing!
What advice do you have for anyone interested in travelling on this tour?
We wanted to experience Italy like a local and we definitely felt like a local. It’s important to step out of your comfort zone and experience something less mainstream. I would recommend that when you travel, be open minded, be a sponge and take in as much as you can. Your guides and local guides have some much knowledge and you can learn so much. One of the great things of being on a tour is that you can really just enjoy yourself because you don’t have to organise anything for yourself and the logistics of your trip are taken care of for you. I also think its important to enjoy your My Time, we spent that time sitting in local places eating and drinking wine because we saw so many amazing sights. Enjoy yourselves but also enjoy spending time with the other people on your tour, when you are travelling you can look out for each other as well.
Would you recommend this tour to family and friends?
Yes absolutely, we didn’t think that we would ever get the chance to travel to Europe and to spend time in Paris on our own and then combine it with this trip to Italy has been such a rewarding trip. Our tour director Elena, was so amazing and she really made our trip. You could tell that she really did care about us on our holiday. She had a great quirky Italian sense of humour which would make us all laugh. Also our driver Marco was so professional. I have driven professionally myself and he was so good to be able to drive through the roads that we drove through.