Members of our group came from all over the United States--there was even a lovely couple from South Korea. Our group members were young or young at heart, married, single, working, retired, seasoned travelers, novices, yet we quickly became a cohesive unit ready for adventures. It was nice traveling with a group--dining together at lunch or dinner, sharing the day's experiences on the bus or bumping into a familiar face in a strange city. Our group experience enhanced the enjoyment of our trip.
Day 0 - 21
Martin, our tour group leader, was affectionately known as Uncle Martin or Capo Gruppo. On the way to our destinations, he gave us a summary of the history of each area and discussed its distinctive architectural styles. His knowledge on every subject was truly extraordinary. Martin was always, literally and figuratively, one step ahead of us. He was always running ahead for tickets, catering lunches, phoning ahead to check on arrangements, and organizing extra activities for us. He made it seem like he was our very own personal guide. He took the headaches out of traveling for all of us so we could concentrate on enjoying our trip.
John, our driver, couldn't have been more pleasant. His favorite saying was "Ya, ya, ya, ya." His bus was always immaculate and comfortable. His driving skills were awesome. How he was able to back that big, long bus into a tight parking space between 2 other buses, drive down narrow medieval streets, and navigate the hairpin roads through the mountains was amazing. We always felt safe and relaxed with John at the wheel.