Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

Your Words - We tell it like it is! Holiday Reviews by previous Exodus travellers  

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62 Reviews

  • Reviewed June 2018
    sally ashton

    excellent trip

    Wonderful combination of walks, wine , villages and cities, with a nice group of people. Weather sunny but not too hot, allowing half day hilly walks in comfort and the scenery was even better than anticipated, thanks to previous spring rain. The planning was excellent, but there was enough time to do our thing .

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Siena. The local guide was charming and painted a lively picture of rivalry between the communities for the Palio. The Campo is stunning

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Liz was great- energetic, well organised, knowledgeable, thoughtful and fun

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We paid extra for a guided tour of Florence. The city was very crowded , and following the guide in a group was not worth the effort, though she was very (too?) informative. There is not time to view all Florence has to offer in a day. I would advise strolling round to see the Ponte Vecchio, the Duomo, the Piazza della Signoria , then a leisurely lunch followed by a visit to the Boboli and Bardini gardens. Or perhaps a week's stay in winter!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    My third Exodus trip. All have been great
  • Reviewed June 2018
    Malcolm Conrad

    A very enjoyable holiday!

    A very enjoyable week away. Comfortable rustic accommodation with friendly staff set in the beautiful surrounding Chianti countryside. A relaxed balance of healthy moderate walking, interesting wine tasting and well planned city visits.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The outstanding beauty of the Chianti region, in particular the magnificent views experienced on our glorious summer day's walk to San Gimignano. Also discovering a taste for the 'rooster label' Chianti wine.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Liz Proctor our group leader was excellent. With tireless energy she worked really hard to ensure that everyone enjoyed their holiday experience to the full.
  • Reviewed June 2018
    Martin Butler

    Beautiful Tuscany

    We had an amazing time walking and sampling wines that we had never tried before but are now fans of. Our leader Liz Proctor was excellent, knowledgeable, tirelessly helpful and made our first walking holiday a pleasure. The villa Casalta was rustic and beautiful. The only problem that we had was the plumbing in room 22. The shower diverter was broken. we reported it and they said yes it is broken and did not fix it, also no hot water in the evening after a long day walking. This needs to be rectified. Meals were good apart from the first night where the main course was a sla b of cold pork with gravy!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The country side and the walks.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Liz was amazing, looking after everyone checking people were ok on the walks bringing out treats along the way. She arranged for a cake and bottle of wine for my wife’s birthday which was a lovely thought.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The walks are at a pace where most people would be comfortable with.
  • Reviewed June 2018
    Sally Chandler

    Good

    Really enjoyed the trip as nothing was too much trouble for Liz our leader. The pace was leisurely throughout but thought the terrain warranted a grade of more 2-3 as very hilly at times, and sometimes hard for even for experienced walkers in our group. This should be included in the description/information of the trip details so other walkers are aware. The farmhouse was lovely and very rustic. Food was excellent and three courses for dinner! The only criticism is the showers - they were not hot and after a long day walking and travelling, you definately need a hot shower. Overall, I would definately recommend Exodus.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Definately the scenery. Tuscany was very beautiful.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Liz was exceptional and nothing too much trouble.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Any future travellers should be used to walking up and down very steep hills and in the heat.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Would definately book through Exodus again.
  • Reviewed June 2018
    Richard Moore

    Beautiful Tuscany

    This eight-day trip to Tuscany took place in the Chianti hills some 2,000 feet above sea level, just outside Castellina. Our base was Villa Casalta, a beautiful converted farmhouse which boasts extensive views in all directions and an unheated swimming pool that provided invigorating dips at the end of the day. There were three lovely walks during the week, ranging from five to seven miles in length, over a variety of terrain, all finishing at local mediaeval villages, such as Greve, Radda and San Gimignano, and there were day trips to Siena and Florence, which were enhanced by excellent local guides. On each of the first three days there were also fascinating wine-tasting sessions at different locations. On our final day we had three hours to explore Pisa before our flight home.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many inspirational moments. Here are a few: 1. the panoramic views on our walks 2. the Duomo (especially the Piccolomini Library) and the Piazza del Campo in Siena 3. the views of Florence from San Miniato al Monte, plus Giotto's Campanile beside the Duomo in the centre of the city 4. the frescoes in the Collegiata church in San Gimignano

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader, Liz Proctor, was exceptional in every way. Her briefings before each day's outing contained all the information we needed, and her advice was always very sound. She seemed to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of all the Tuscan roads, tracks and paths we travelled on, as well as restaurants and other places of interest when we arrived at our destination. She was an excellent driver, and we always felt in safe hands. She was very patient with those who walked more slowly than others and concerned for everybody's welfare. Her fitness was such that she was able to retrace her steps with apparent ease at the end of a walk in order to retrieve the minibus (while the rest of us were having lunch and looking round the place we'd arrived at!).

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Our weather was pretty mixed, so an anorak was an essential piece of clothing, and there were moments on some of the muddier, rockier paths of our walks when we would have been happier wearing walking boots than simply trainers.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The food at Villa Casalta was generally good, but we did feel there was a lack of fresh fruit and vegetables on the occasions when we had supper there.
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Michael Littleton

    Great Experience

    This was a wonderful trip through the countryside of Tuscany. The Villa Casalta owner and her staff member was friendly and caring.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I really enjoyed the hiking. The countryside was beautiful! It reminds me of the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in NC.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Liz Proctor was a great group leader. She is a very good organizer and "den mother" for the members of the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We boarded the wrong train going to Pisa before the start of the tour. It was on the same track and approximate departure time for our train. We had tickets for a regional train and it was a express train. The conductor charged us the cost of the ticket and 50 euros penalty for each person. It appears to be a money generator from the unwary!
  • Reviewed May 2018
    James Kearney

    Tdc

    From sign up to last day this trip was fabulous. Our guide worked tirelessly to insure that our group of 16 was always taken care of on the hike and at the villa. Liz Procter was a completely professional guide who made everyone feel comfortable!! The scenery in Tuscany was gorgeous, and Villa Casalta was a treat to have as a base for the entire week! Hope to use Exodus Travel again and soon!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Just viewing the wonderful Tuscan hill and valleys.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Incomparable! Liz was the BEST!!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Come and enjoy!!
  • Reviewed October 2017
    Alex Henderson

    Best decision ever

    Exodus tours were recommended to me, and as someone who knows little about wine but loves to drink it I was keen on this trip. I also fancied some exercise and activities thrown in. I was slightly dubious about going alone but soon realised when I got there that exodus caters for people like me. I would say the trip is scaled correctly in terms of activity level, I particularly enjoyed the panzano and San gimignano walks. There's also loads to do on your free day, I rented a vintage fiat from castellina, some of the group went riding and others cooking so plenty of options. Couldn't recommend this trip enough.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    All wine tastings are inspirational.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was amazing. There was (which I'm told is quite common on Exodus tours) a very diverse group of people of different ages and interests. Mark made sure everyone was looked after and entertained, he was also great at pointing out particular spots of interest (museums, gelato shops, enotecas, city tours) that made sure everyone got the most out of the time we had. He was also great with the walks, found the group pace early on so no one felt left behind.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you're going in mid sept as I did, dress like an onion. It's boiling in the direct sun and goes down about 10 in the shade and in the evenings sometimes. Still pleasant though, light jumpers are your best friends.
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Diane Leaver

    Chilled week in beautiful Tuscany

    Just returned from a really enjoyable trip. Stunning scenery, picturesque hillside towns, delicious food and wine and a great group of travelling companions. Mark our group leader was a lovely guy, whose 'can do' approach, knowledge and personality added to the overall enjoyment.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The vista over Florence from the arrival point was stunning.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Mark was a really efficient and knowledgeable leader with a great personality. I felt that he'd handle difficult situations well, although thankfully there weren't any!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The accommodation is in the hills and it can be a bit chilly up there in the mornings and evenings. Although the pace of the trip was chilled, we still packed a lot in, so you will probably welcome the free day.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Mark fitted in an extra wine tasting for us which was welcomed by the group. Perhaps this could be added as part of the itinerary.
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Maggie Burghuber

    Chianti walking and wine

    The setting in the converted farmhouse is absolutely idyllic - but remember that September is the beginning of autumn and the altitude is high, so you really need to pack something warm for the evenings. The staff are really friendly and very helpful and the accommodation is clean. I did find the twin beds narrow and the shower a little cramped : but then you get used to it. The meals at Castella were excellent, especially the antipastas, and the buffet on the first night was to die for - but overall I was disappointed at the vast amount of meat and the lack of fresh salads/vegetables. We found the same trend even when eating out ..... meat, meat , meat. Perhaps the wine compensated for it? I'm sure I got my 5 -a-day from the wine alone!! it flowed! Oh, and don't forget the gelatos! I must say we had a fantastic guide- nothing was too much for him. We'd slog away at the "undulations" (the in-word on our tour)and spent 2-3 hours relaxing in the town, while he'd WALK back again to pick up the minibus. And the wine-tastings were brilliant: we've all learnt about chianti classico. Fantastic cheeses and delicious olive oils were provided. No tasting was the same! Honestly, we all got on so well. Thanks Mark for making our tour so enjoyable and such fun.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The scenery was so beautiful. Vineyards and olive groves lining the hillsides. Tall, slender Cyprus trees pointing their way up to the sky - hilltop villages, many of them walled. While walking the vistas would open up, one after the other and I never grew tired of taking them all in

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Mark was fantastic. He had so much energy : was up early, kept the timings so that the full itinerary was completed and more; his sense of humour was encouraging. We all know the Italian for "undulating" now - some of them were "cheeky undulations" - or a "little bit of an undulation". What I really found good was the way Mark would drop back and walk with the slower people to encourage them on. After we had walked 9 or 12 km he'd leave us at a town, so we could get a bite to eat, while he'd walk back to fetch the minibus up. Or he's run on ahead to bring the bus down to a meeting point. Incredible- he must be so fit. And whilst out on the walks he carried extra supplies of snacks for the group, so we could up the sugar intake and find our energy for the next etappe. I couldn't believe the extra mile he went to deliver pizzas on his day off. We were sitting in the town and saw him bent on a mission - staggering out with a pile of pizzas for those who chose not to leave the villa His planning was meticulous and he was so knowledgeable about the area. I would say he helped to make the tour so enjoyable

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack rainwear - Pack a torch Take something warm to wear in the evenings

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just thank you to all who contributed to making this tour happen