Stunning scenery, knowleagable guide and the only way (apart from walking which would take a lot longer) to see Southern Italy. Weather was disappointing but the guide used his experience and knowledge of the area to take appropriate decisions regarding safety and overall enjoyment of the holiday.
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
The incredible experience of witnessing the stunning views around every corner, including the sounds and smells of the countryside (herbs, flowers and fruit) which cannot be experienced in a car.
Also the high quality (and quantity) of the local food and wine which were incredibly good value in an area that I thought would be expensive.
- What did you think of your group leader?
Lievan acted as the perfect guide as well as translator and local area expert on this trip (with the advantage of him being an archeologist). His calm, professional approach and knowledge of the area gave us information/history that lazy people like myself would have had to research to find and also provided much needed breaks on those uphill climbs to point out a landmark or places of interest!!
Lieven was great company during the trip and his support in time of need (searching for medical attention on a bank holiday and acting as interpretor) was very much appreciated.
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Be prepared for the uphill climbs (take your spds/cycling shoes to take the strain off your quads) and make sure you are experienced in cycling on busy roads as it can be quite nerve racking when a coach comes round one of those tight bends in front of/behind you.
The first morning included a challenging 10kms climb in the rain!! The other days also consisted of several climbs (or 'small inclines' as described by our guide). A good level of fitness is required to keep together as a group, however, the back up van is always close by to assist if necessary.
Make sure you take adequate layers/warm weather clothes (chilly in the evening) and waterproof jacket for cycling and sightseeing as we did experience a high level of rain on our particular trip.
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
Don't expect five star hotels. The hotels were very basic and at best 3*. No baths (except on the first night when we were upgraded due to the hotel being empty), no duvets only sheets and one blanket (we had to request heating and extra blankets to take the chill/damp feeling off the room.
Also make sure your bags are easy to transport and not too heavy as there are no porters and you will be expected to climb the stairs with your bags and transfer them to the van. Having said that due to an injury (fall on the first day) I personally got help from a couple of knights in shining armour!!