Traveller Story: Volcanoes, Caves and The Wild Boar in the Deep South of Italy
Paul Thornton, travelled with his wife Helen on the Italy, the Deep South & Sicily tour in May 2016. Having travelled on 4 Albatross tours, Paul enjoys the organisation of the tours and not having to worry about the logistics of travelling - it is a holiday after all!
We had previously travelled on the Italian Grande and we wanted to see another part of Italy, plus I've got this thing for Volcano's.
Who did you travel with?
My wife, Helen.
What other Albatross tours have you previously travelled on?
The Italian Grande
Black Forest, Bavaria & the Tyrol
Northern Spain & the Pyrenees
What was your favourite place/s on your Albatross tour?
As we disembarked the coach we walked to the lookout on the edge of the ravine. On the other side lay Matera, and I must admit I was a little underwhelmed at first. It was gloomy and overcast and this was my photo opportunity! However, once we arrived and were settled into our cave the rain set in. How remarkable was this, staying in our very own cave. It was temperature controlled and candles spread around for ambience and a lovely king bed. Our hosts had brought us some wine to enjoy while we sat there watching and listening as the raindrops grew heavier and puddles became little streams down the steps outside. I never expected this and will probably never again in my life!
What was the most amazing thing you saw or did on your Albatross tour?
I remember beating all the other tourists to the top of Mt Etna and I was a little puffed as I like to be first, then as I turned around I saw the other tour coming up behind us. Like ants silhouetted against the blue sky and the cloud cover far below.
Tell us about your most memorable moment on tour?
Some things are just unexpected. I was told Taormina was too touristy and that I would not enjoy it at all. It was quite the contrary as we scored a room with a balcony overlooking Mt Etna. The hotel was an absolute gem with a pool and beautiful gardens with views across the Mediterranean. It was a lovely stroll in and around town with plenty of wonderful places to eat, drink and idle our time away.
What was your favourite meal on tour?
We had watched the BBC show 'Sicily Unpacked' and knew all about 'The Wild Boar' and his restaurant. We walked a hundred metres there as the bus could only get so close and it was just as I remember seeing it right on the beach. And, yes, Mr Vittorio himself was cooking in the kitchen while drinking a glass of wine. His food was as delicious as promised and he was so proud walking around sitting, talking and drinking with all his patrons. He even stopped for a photo with us.
What advice do you have for anyone interested in travelling on this tour?
We had never done an organised coach tour with anyone before. I was apprehensive at first but we made our decision and ran with it. With 4 Albatross tours under our belts now we are yet to strike a bad Tour Manager as they are all very professional. While you might not get on with everyone, at the same time you will meet and make new friends, some we have toured with again.
Would you recommend this tour to family and friends? If so, why?
I have and do! Everything is taken care of and you need not worry about anything - even when and where you have dinner. Once the tour ends I miss the organisation and have to start thinking for myself again!