Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

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

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62 Reviews

  • Reviewed July 2015
    Graham Busch

    CHIANTI - WALKING AND WINE

    We have ben on several walking holidays with Exodus over the years and this certainly was up there with the best

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hard to pick one moment as there were so many enjoyable experiences, but particularly enjoyed the day when we were led by the local guide Sarah. Her knowledge of the history, wildlife and and aspects of Chianti life was excellent. Of course the day was finished with a wine tasting.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Liz was absolutely brilliant. Very knowledgeable, caring and made us all very welcome. She even came up with a bottle of fizz and a card at very short notice, when she found out it was our Wedding Anniversary. I cannot really praise her enough.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The trip was a great mix of walking, wine tasting and sight seeing. We added on a few extra days in Florence which we enjoyed as there as so much to see and one day isn't really enough.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We thoroughly enjoyed the trip, we were fortunate to have a great group which made the holiday fun and a great leader in Liz.
  • Reviewed June 2015
    Caroline Scraggs

    Fantastic walking, wine and great food

    As a frequent Exodus traveller I was yet to try a walking holiday. The Chianti Walking and Wine seemed to be a good mix of walks, wine tasting and sightseeing and I was not disappointed with my choice. Having only had a few days in Rome before I really enjoyed getting to know this part of Tuscany.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The walk to San Gimignano was one of our longest walks. It was very hot that day and it seemed to be a long way in the distance with more ups and downs. But it was a real sense of achievement to arrive at this famous medieval town and enter through the gateway as the pilgrims would have done. Much better than simply being driven there. After a few hours of free time we enjoyed a delicious wine tasting with a platter of pecorino cheeses, bruschetta, bread and olive oil. Liz organised a picnic on the first day of walking which was a real treat

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Liz was excellent. She was extremely well-organised, had fantastic local knowledge and went over backwards to support members of our group even on her time off! A real inspiration.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I am pretty fit and enjoyed the walking but would recommend a few practice walks before hand to cope with the up and downhill terrain. I was pleased that I had taken my walking boots as I was grateful for the ankle support on the downhill sections which were very rocky in places. The dinners in the Farmhouse were lovely but be prepared for 4 course meals!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Other people in the group had added on an extra night or two at the beginning or end of the holiday. I wish I had done this as I would have loved more time in Florence or perhaps some time in Pisa. I will just have to return to Italy one day.
  • Reviewed June 2015
    Charles Trimingham

    Chianti: walking and wine

    An excellent and relaxing holiday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking through beautiful countryside to arrive at San Gimignano on foot as opposed to being "bussed in" like many of the other visitors.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Liz was really excellent. She has comprehensive local knowledge. She went out of her way to help members of the group. Very professional and friendly. Thank you Liz!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do not expect to do anymore than get a brief overview of Florence in one day. If you want more you will have to go back!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Trip was an excellent mixture of city breaks/ easy walking. On the last day, Liz took the members of the group with an evening return flight to Lucca which was great.
  • Reviewed June 2015
    Ann Docker

    Chianti Walking Tour

    Really enjoyed the week. It was a good mix of walking and wine tasteing with the bonus of old cities and great views of the Tuscan countryside.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Enjoyed the day in Sienna and the wine school trip. We are concious now of twirling our wine glass and looking for "tears".

    What did you think of your group leader?

    A really nice woman, easy to get along with, good communicator and fun.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you enjoy walking about 10kms a day, then you will enjoy this trip.
  • Reviewed May 2015
    Philip Nield

    Great trip

    This was a really enjoyable trip with lots of interesting facets.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking into San Gimignano.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Liz was fantastic. An example of good-natured, hard-working dedication.
  • Reviewed April 2015
    Ghislaine Simonnet

    CHIANTI WALKING & WINE TASTING

    A fantastic mixture of countryside walks and town visits, giving a rather complete view of this beautiful part of Tuscany.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It has to be the view over Florence, but it comes so close to Siena!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    She was very professional, enthusiastic and paying attention to details.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you lead a sedentary life (e.g. office work) do some regular walking before starting this holiday and focus on the "moderate" part of "leisurely to moderate"!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The advice given by the group leader on where to go for "off the beaten track" cafés and restaurants used by the local population was much appreciated and allowed us to keep away from the crowd...
  • Reviewed April 2015
    Pip Robson

    Chianti April 2015

    It was my first trip with Exodus and it more than lived up to expectations. The itinerary was varied; a great mixture of walking, culture and wine-tasting - a wonderful way to visit this fascinating area of Italy. The accommodation was lovely, food delicious and our tour leader was fantastic - she was very knowledgeable about the local area and always went the extra mile for the group. It was a very well organised and interesting trip, I would definitely recommend it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It was wonderful to walk through the Italian vine yards and learn about the local history - we were very lucky with the weather as well which made for gorgeous views across the countryside.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was fantastic - she shared a lot of knowledge about the local area and places we visited, she was organised, very sociable and always worked hard to accommodate everyone.
  • Reviewed November 2014
    Anonymous

    Chianti Wine and Walking

    Everything was excellent apart from the dinners in the hotel we stayed; these were lacking. Served warm rather than hot and unimaginative considering the rich food traditions of Italy. Breakfast was ok but again lacked choice and variety. Warmth of welcome was great but you cannot eat that! Room ok and bed good and firm.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    enjoyed it all.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Good guide and help was there if/when needed.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you have your own insurance cover for mobile phone as the Exodus insurance does not cover it.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Improve the Wi-Fi so that it can be accessed from all areas, please.
  • Reviewed November 2014

    A perfect mix of walking, wine tasting and sight-seeing

    This was my 10th trip with Exodus in 4 years so I am already a fan and it almost provided us with what we'd hoped for. There was a good balance of walking, wine tasting and sight-seeing. The days spent in Florence, Siena and San Gimignano were not at all rushed and we had ample time to do all that we planned. It was also great to be driven in by Simon our wonderful guide. It meant that we spent very little time travelling. Villa Casalta accommodation was simple in a traditional way and our room was beautiful and very clean. We were given a very warm greeting from Roberta on our arrival and she waved us off on our departure however for the rest of the week we hardly saw her. The swimming pool was lovely to sit around but very cold to swim in during October although I did mange it one afternoon. The location is lovely with a pleasant 20 minute walk to pretty town of Castellina along a gravel road.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Tuscan Wine School - great experience and learnt a lot Florence - stunning city with so much to see. I love the Galileo Museum which I'd missed on previous trips to Florence. Siena - another stunning city with a great art exhibition. Enjoyed visiting Santa Maria della Scala, the hospital museum as I hadn't done that before San Gimignano - wonderful frescoes in the cathedral and lots of towers to climb plus great gelato Walking in the local area with a local guide Sarah, so passionate about her locality and informative about its history. Organising our own walk (after a visit to the tourist office) to Radda in Chianti a 25 km round trip via Castellina in Chianti or just do 13 km and get the bus back. Visiting the Etruscan Tomb at Monte Calvario, Castellina In Chianti

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Simon was a great leader, very friendly and well organised. He recommended some great restaurants and activities and he was very sociable during and after evening meals. Great to have him collecting us and taking us to the airport and generally driving us around in the mini-bus. It meant that we didn't waste time travelling.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I would highly recommend this holiday but would think twice before going the last week of October as it seems Roberta is ready to close for the season. We returned to an empty, dark house at the end of a day out which felt very unwelcoming. My husband also had to put the cat out at night as it mewed loudly outside our room. If you go in October be prepared for cool to cold evenings and dress appropriately. The bedrooms are on the cool side and there is only one extra blanket. Also take a torch as the walk into town along a gravel road takes about 20 minutes and is not lit up. Roberta does provide vegetarian food but it is mostly carbs so good to take your own fruit. We didn't see a salad for the whole week. Finally on the days we ate in restaurants in which Exodus were meant to provide the meal our guide gave us 25 euros which was did not buy a three course meal with wine so be prepared that your meals out are only subsidised.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    My review reflects our experience on the last week of the season before Villa Casalta closes and this may explain the discrepancies between my review and the glowing accounts of others. Our experience was clearly quite a different experience to those travelling in the main season. Apparently the hotels in Italy are not allowed to put their heating on before November even when it gets cold at night. I have a few tips for improving the food: serve it hot put a big salad bowl out with every evening meal put some quality extra virgin oil and basalmic vinegar out put a few nibbles out prior to dinner for guest to have with their drinks have a fruit bowl and/or cheese board as an alternative to dessert
  • Reviewed October 2014
    Karen Manson

    Right First Time!

    This was our first actual trip with Exodus and it was all that we hoped for, and more. The balance of walking, wine tasting and culture was spot on! Villa Casalta accommodation was great - simple in a traditional way, owner and Marguerite warmly welcoming and helpful, beautiful swimming pool (used by several of us even though it was end of Sept), entertaining dog (Stella) and cat, with only a slow off-road 20 minute walk to pretty town of Castellina.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The local tour guide on the day of walking around Castellina. Sarah was a gem - very knowledgeable, passionate about Chianti and the Etruscans, she brought the history to life as she shared the experiences of her own family in the locale - and she was delightful.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Liz was excellent - very organised, managed the accident of one of the team members calmly and professionally, worked hard to organize special requests, rearranged some activities to better utilise time and energy

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We're looking forward to planning our next trip with Exodus!