Sunday, July 8, 2012

Tour's Top 5

With my guided tour at an end, Colette and I are off traveling solo and with my cousin, Lisa, who lives in Southern France. So, I thought a proper send-off to my tour group would be a tribute:

Top 5 Things I Will Miss About My Tour Group

The whole group with lighted sparklers in Beaune's gazebo for the 4th of July
5. Having everything pre-planned, transportation taken care of, tickets purchased, and navigation via our tour guide. Yes, I am very excited to do some solo traveling, which is why we planned to stay an extra 2 weeks. Yes, I enjoy the planning, but I have gotten a little spoiled at not having to lift a finger. It’s also been nice having native guides give us walking tours and tours of museums.
Linda's grandsons: Alex, Peter, and Jack-a-roni
The Pollard Boys and Austin
4. How adventurous, intelligent, and friendly every one on my trip members has been. They have made this trip amazing. Whether I was chatting with some of the older couples, like Joyce and Steve; drinking beer with our travel buddies, Sheri and Brad; keeping up with kids, like Derek, Lexi, and Lawrence; chilling with the Texan Pollard boys, Marc and David; or talking sci-fi with Linda and her grandsons- everyone has been awesome! It’s been wonderful getting to meet so many well-traveled and SMART people. It’s definitely my kind of crew.

3. Richard! Our Dutch Coach driver, Richard had his dapper suits, spiffy jackets, and put-together outfits. He would spend nights with the girls out on the porches talking girl talk. He introduced us to Martini Biancos. He took us out to a local pub. He was friendly, nice, and a GREAT driver. Driving a huge coach bus up the winding Swiss Alps is no walk in the park. He was the epitome of European and everything that’s dapper and refined.
Richard and Lisa by our Coach!

2. Lisa, our wonderful tour guide! Sir, yes sir, Mamma Lisa, as she began to be called. She was our go-to travel advice, fearless leader, and hug-lover. Naturally, you’d think she’d be hired as a tour guide since she’s so awesome, but you never know who you’ll get. And she was perfection.

Wine tasting in Beaune
1. Being an untouristy tourist. Sounds like a contradiction, but this tour group did such a good job of balancing touristy attractions and smaller places off the beaten path. The small group of 27 never made us feel like one of the massive groups we saw filling up the squares in Rome and Paris. The fact that Lisa never held up a stupid colored umbrella or dorky bright hat, made us feel like real people. The balance of planned activities with free time to explore and travel on our own was perfect. It was the best way to travel- to experience historical sights with native guides, to taste local delicacies and favorites, and to unobtrusively seep into the beautiful European landscapes. 
Derek, chillaxing on the Luge
The Pollard Boys: Marc and David

Properly enjoying the 4th of July
The Mighty 10 and a 1/2 year old Lawrence

Derek, Me, Kiah (covered), and Kevin

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