AMALFI COAST & BAY OF NAPLES
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
The Walk of The Gods is a lovely walk, taking you from the doorstep of your hotel along winding paths overlooking a beautiful stretch of coast. The highlight for me, however, was the city of Herculaneum. Whilst smaller than Pompeii, I found it easier to imagine it as a bustling city before the mudslides brought about by the eruption of Mt Vesuvius covered it for centuries. The guide there really brought the city to life.
What did you think of your group leader?
Eduardo was a funny, knowledgable local leader who knows the area inside out. He's understandably proud of the region and takes great pride in showing people around. He's travelled the world too, so his dinner time stories of his days as a boat captain were as fascinating as his insights into local culture and food. His willingness to try and ensure everyone got what they were looking for out of the holiday meant a couple of unscheduled stops too!
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Bring trousers/shorts with a bit of room. You will expand over the course of the week! My wife and I are big eaters but weren't prepared for the sheer amount of food (several courses every night) at the hotel. It was all delicious and we'd feel ready to burst as we waddled back to our rooms each night. If you have a food allergy or just have something you fancy, don't be scared to let the staff at the hotel as well as your tour leader know, as they're prepared to go "off menu" to ensure you're catered for and happy. Another review talks about getting better food at a local restaurant but I found the food at the hotel fantastic and we even chose to eat there on our free day to sample some of the dishes from previou nights again. On hearing that my wife had never had squid ink spaghetti, the chef even made the effort to order it in and prepare it for us during one of the group dinners. I just wish I'd recorded some of the kitchen demostrations so that I could make some of the food now that I'm home.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
On the free day, the majority of people opt to go to Pompeii and then onto Sorrento. There's a fair amount of driving to fit both in, and at about 40 Euros per person (depending ont he group size) for the drive, as well as entry fees at Pompeii - it can initially seem rather expensive day once you add in meals etc. However, having looked into it a bit - you'd be paying a lot more to organise a taxi just to head to Pompeii and back, let alone being out from 8am to gone 6pm with a private mini bus. So, on reflection, it was good value and Eduardo did well to organise something that matched what most people hoped to do and see. It's a tiring day, so I'm glad we didn't stay on in Sorrento for dinner too, which a few people had hoped to do. Your time at Pompeii can feel a bit rushed too - but that's done in order to ensure you have time to get to Sorrento and have a few hours there. If you want to see more of Pompeii, don't bother joining the long queues to see the inside of the brothel, as that really isn't worth the time it takes (it's a really small building and once you're in you get herded through very quickly). A lot of the most impressive buildings at Pompeii are near the exit where you'll meet the bus, so don't be afraid to tell the guide you're going to go off and explore that for yourself. In the sales team, the questions we get most prior to people going away are about things like wi-fi availability or hair dryers! On this tour, there's wi-fi at the hotel for 1 euro for 24 hours. As in 24 hours useage, rather than it runs out the following day even if you've not used it. That means for 1 Euro you can check the news on your iphone or laptop (if you're so inclined) every day provided you log out when you've finished browsing each night. There are hair dryers in every room too. Towels are provided and changed every day. There's a small pool at the hotel and you can walk easily into the town for small bars and cafes. There are two dogs at the hotel, but if you're allergic you don't need to worry as they don't go into the bedrooms or eating areas at all. If you're considering this tour and have any questions, feel free to fire them my way at KAylward@exodus.co.uk