Best of Tour Magic Moments
The Tour Members' Evaluations part of our website is filled with candid (uncensored!) comments about every aspect of our tours. One of my favorite sections contains answers to the question, "Do you have a favorite 'wow' moment or magic memory from your trip?" Here are a few of my favorite 'wow' answers.
Europe in 14 Days
"Stained glass windows in Ste. Chapelle, entire rooms of Van Gogh, Manet, Renoir and Monet in the Orsay, experiencing the Alps up close and personal in Gimmelwald, the Wieskirche in Bayern, getting lost in Venice, the unexpected Vivaldi concert, the Botticellis in the Uffizi, walking across the Ponte Vecchio with my husband, the churches and ruins in Rome, attending Mass in St. Peters after visiting the Sistine Chapel...shall I stop now? There's more..."
— Sharyn in Coral Gables, FL
Italy in 17 Days
"As we drove along an ever-narrowing, curvy road approaching "Agriturismo La Rocca", Dimitri suddenly came to a complete stop, then finished the ascent to our destination along an even narrower road (or perhaps it was a cow path) IN REVERSE. Rumor has it that he may also have gotten out to push. "Wow!" #1 for his driving prowess. "Wow!" #2 for the view, and #3 for the fabulous accommodations!"
— Don in Des Plaines, IL
Florence in 7 Days
"Nothing compares with seeing Michelangelo's David (still gives me goose bumps to think about it). However, one hot afternoon in Florence I walked to the Belvedere Fortress and from there to Piazza Michelangelo. The road I had chosen led me far away from the tourist route and I was alone with the sun, the birds, and the olive groves. Pure Italy."
— Scott in McLean, VA
Sicily & South Italy in 15 Days
"Sitting on the rooftop of our Taormina hotel at night. In one direction was the Greek Theater all lit up, in one direction was the beach strand twinkling with lights, and in one direction was Mt Etna, with red lava flowing down. And then, between us and Mt Etna, some little village began a fireworks display."
— Vicky in Gresham, OR
Paris & the Heart of France in 12 Days
"Getting to spend the night on the Mont Saint Michel was incredible, something I probably never would have done on my own. What a peaceful place it is in the evening when all the day-trippers go home! My room was very high up on the Mont (quite a hike!) but the view of the tide coming in that evening was staggering. Standing out on the causeway later to watch the lights come on was a real "I can't believe I'm here" experience. Awesome!"
— Susanne in La Mesa, CA
Athens & the Heart of Greece in 14 Days
"My favorite experience during the trip was getting slightly lost in the mountains of Kardimyli. We tried to ask a Greek man passing by about the trail. With lots of pointing and gestures, we managed to make our trouble known, and he escorted us to the start of the trail. Before we left, he asked us to wait. He went around a house and came back with an armful of branches, at which point he cut walking sticks for each of us."
— Marleigh in Syracuse, NY
Prague in 7 Days
"As I stared out over the gorgeous view of the city, I fell in love. But I still think the biggest "wow" was the effort put into our experience — the added touches provided by Honza, our guide. From the musicians that accompanied us to the bank of the river to play for us, to visiting his home, it made for a truly memorable trip."
— Brendle in Sacramento , CA
Ireland in 14 Days
"I loved touching the stones, seeing the Celtic crosses, feeling the rain on my face while walking thru cow poop, counting all the rainbows, watching the Irish dancers, exploring the Dingle area, going out to Inishmore on the Aran Islands, seeing Northern Ireland and watching my tourmates cross the rope bridge near Portrush. The most touching moment was getting a cake at a group dinner, when I tried to keep my birthday a secret."
— Leona in Sun City Center, FL
Europe in 21 Days
"Hiking through the Swiss Alps was simply stunning. I close my eyes and still can see those magnificent mountains. Cruising through Venice in a gondola, listening to O Solo Mio heartfully sung. Too many to list. Every place we went was a 'wow' memory."
— Chris in Santa Fe, NM
Best of Rome in 7 Days
"I was somewhat prepared for the ruins, the fountains, the Sistine Chapel, St Peter's. What caught me totally by surprise was the flawless beauty of the statuary and artwork at the Galleria Borghese ... Apollo and Daphne, The Rape of Proserpine, David ... oh, to be there again. Our guide was outstanding — more host than guide: well-organized, intelligent, kind of heart, enthusiastic, and playful of spirit. He seemed to truly enjoy watching us discover all that is Rome."
— Dorothy in Seattle, WA
Venice, Florence and Rome in 10 Days
"Having dinner with seven of my tourmates in a small family owned cafe not far from our hotel...the experience was delightful. The owner, a very old woman, waited on us, and although she didn't speak English, was just wonderful to us. Before we left, I looked for her to thank her for the hospitality. She understood what I was saying and put her cheeks out for the traditional kiss. It was very special."
— Linda in Mill Creek, WA
Village Italy in 15 Days
"One of my favorite times was the truffle hunting and the lunch afterwards. Our hosts were so warm and friendly welcoming us to their homes. And of course watching the dog find the truffles was so much fun. Just about every part of the trip was my favorite. Every day was better than the last. Orvieto was one of my favorites."
— Leticia in Atlanta, GA
Paris in 7 Days
"This was my first time in Paris and it was a wonderful orientation with a great group of new friends. The city tours are a great concept — will definitely consider another one — maybe Prague next? I definitely plan to return to Paris one day and now have the confidence to do so independently, with Rick's latest guidebook in hand of course!"
— Carol in Chicago, IL
Paris, Provence and the Riviera in 13 Days
"Sabine prepared us so well with her tips on how to be 'French.' A 'wow' moment was at the Abbey of Thoronet, when Sabine disappeared behind a pillar and sang a few notes to demonstrate the incredible acoustics there. I have at least twenty more 'wow' moments because the tour was that good. Just email me if you want the rest of the list!"
— Mary in Aberdeen, WA
France in 17 Days
"The canoe trip down the Dordogne river was beautiful and relaxing. With the castles on either side of the shore and the beautiful scenery, you felt you were on some movie set instead of in reality. Being out in the markets with the friendly merchants and townspeople was an experience I will always remember."
— Kay in Edina, MN
Turkey in 13 Days
"There were many highlights, but certainly the days spent in the smaller village towns of Cappadocia were unforgettable. Especially walking through the village of Mustafapasha and being invited by a local into his garden, and having lunch at the modest home of a village woman (and her mother) in another small village, and having the chance to talk to these wonderful, warm people, with our guide translating."
— Paul in Palm Desert, CA
Germany, Austria and Switzerland in 16 Days
"Hiking between Murren and Grutshalp, I stopped and just listened: I heard a concert of cowbells. I loved it! The setting was so beautiful, the cows (and people!) were friendly. It was in one of the most beautiful natural settings I've ever seen. It was awesome!"
— Marla in Tacoma, WA
Eastern Europe in 17 Days
"The folk dances at Trojanovice were great! We even danced with the performers at the end. It was obviously a local group--young and old participated. There was an elderly Czech man sitting next to the dulcimer and he enjoyed the performance by swinging his beer to the music and mouthing the words to the songs. Plitvice National Park is breathtaking! The picnic lunches by the roadsides were outstanding! Bled is beautiful!"
— Ann in Okmulgee, OK
Berlin, Prague and Vienna in 12 Days
"Lights coming on at night, illuminating the Charles Bridge and castle in Prague. It was a warm, lovely night, lots of street musicians and people on the bridge. There was a gathering or competition of police bands from all over Europe. We were walking by the river and heard bagpipes...in Prague of all places. Another great police band was playing jazz in front of the Jan Hus statue...not sure he would have approved."
— Diana in Lake Oswego, OR
Scandinavia in 14 Days
"The very best stop was Aeroskobing, and for that matter all of Aero Island. I loved the colors, the quiet, the winding roads, and the tea and lecture by Suzanne. I could have just stayed in that idyllic spot for weeks, with my camera and paints and a journal to write down the poetry inspired by that place."
— Susan in Seattle, WA
London in 7 Days
"Wow" moments, for me, occurred on a daily basis. On Monday morning, as our group exited Westminster station, I looked up to see Big Ben for the first time. The experience took my breath away. In addition, I had an opportunity to "hobnob" with a woman who lived in London for the duration of her life. We had a lovely 30 minute conversation regarding life in the UK versus life in the US. This was the experience I was looking for...interacting with the locals."
— Bonnie in Tucson, AZ
Britain in 15 Days
"I have never had so much fun. I walked in the steps of Roman Emperors, Vikings, Kings and Queens of England and Scotland, and stood in awe at Cathederals that rose almost to heaven. I have eaten with a dagger in Wales, eaten haggis in Scotland, and stood at the edge of the known world 1500 years ago. Life is about breathing, but we live for moments that take our breath away. I had many on this trip. I will miss the bakeries, the incredible gardens, and mostly my new English friends."
— Jack in Westminster, CO
Scotland in 11 Days
"One of the most memorable times I had was traveling to the village of Glencoe in the highlands. Those images of the heavy mists hugging the tops of those rocky giants made all those stories I've read about Scotland come to life. The unexpected waterfalls were beautiful. The chilly, misty weather was even a plus because it set the stage for daydreaming about all the history that unfolded in the region."
— Jholeen in Spring, TX
Spain & Portugal in 15 Days
"Choose a favorite moment? The Alhambra! The carriage ride in Sevilla! The cathedral in Toledo! Salema! But our group's rooftop terrace aperitifs in Arcos and our ride on the funicular in Lisbon the last night were magic! We had a VERY congenial group, encouraged and well-managed by Carlos."
— Theresa in Petaluma, CA