Turtle, Ecuador

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

Here at Exodus we thrive on feedback from our customers. It's the only way we can ensure our trips continue to be the best they can be. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of the trip you're interested in, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.

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  • Reviewed February 2019
    Madeline Russell

    Bolquere, French Pyrenees

    A wonderful week exploring a variety of trails through the forests in the Bolquere area of the French Pyrenees. Snowy trails with snowy trees, whose snow gradually melted during the week so there was more birdsong. An afternoon of steadily climbing up past pine trees with icicles shining in the sun like Christmas decorations. Almost empty tracks and great places for lunch stops including 2 Mountain refuges. Views through the trees, or along the ridges of other snowy mountains. An excellent Exodus leader who looked after us so well and had some wonderful stories! A lovely old French hotel which is very much part of the local village, and served various Catalan dishes. Well organised transport each day. An excellent week blessed with snow and sun to enjoy this area which has so much to offer the cross country skier.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Steadily climbing up along zigzagging tracks to the top of the ridge and seeing the mountains around us. Well worth the steady and well contoured trails. Seeing trees decorated with their icicles sparkling in the sunshine! Watching a young deer leap across the trail ahead of us, and later a group of deer grazing in the forest.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nothing was too much for Bob. He made sure everything was fine in the hotel and when we were out during the day. On his day off when we decided to take the 'Train Jaune' to a nearby walled town, he came down to the station and stayed with us to make sure we got on. However, after an hour, his lengthy phone calls dicovered that 'they' were on strike. Returning to the hotel he organised coffee, accompanied us on the local bus to a hotel for lunch and then brought us back a quieter way through the woods. Due to his experience of being in this area we were able to have 'afternoon tea' when we came back from our skiing, an area to meet for a drink before the evening meal, and wine with it. It was like the icing on the cake!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    No ATM in the village and not easy to access one at the other places we stopped. Euro guidelines in the trip notes were pretty accurate. Bolquere village has 2 hotels a general store and a post office, so no pharmacy. Flask for a hot drink wasn't necessary, but we had good weather!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A great place for cross country skiing!
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Annabel Gaastra

    Good Week

    Just back from a very good week in Bolquere. Good variety of cross country areas, all quite different and some great lunch stops in the local restaurants and refuges. We were very luck with the weather and snow. Bob was a great leader and the organisation of the transport was very efficient. Loved the afternoon tea too. Local guide Claud took the faster group. Shame my skiing was not a bit better. Hotel was warm and friendly.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The last day we went up to a great refuge for lunch

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bob was a very good leader.
  • Reviewed January 2019
    Liz Hammick

    Cross-country skiing in the Pyrenees

    This holiday is ideal for cross-country skiers who don't want it too cold and are prepared to take a chance on good snow. It was my second January visit to the Pyrenees and last year's snow was magnificent, with every trail groomed - this time we were warned that there had been very little snow and to bring walking boots, which were put to good use the first day, with a 12k hike through the woods. Then the snow arrived, lots of it! and once again Bob Mason was an excellent leader, extremely patient and encouraging with this slow and sometimes hesitant skier, while Claude accompanied the faster and more intrepid members of the group. The mid week day off gives everyone a chance to rest and enjoy something different - riding the Little Yellow Train is popular, with spectacular scenery and the interesting old town of Villefranche to explore. Two of our party visited the thermal baths at St Thomas and enjoyed it. By day five we had deep snow, and pushing our way though drifts up to our knees was a new experience - but enough of the tracks had been flattened (but not loiped) to make skiing a bit easier. Brilliant blue skies made a memorable holiday, along with lunches of the best pizza ever at Bolquere 2000, and as a complete contrast, the lovely refuge at Col del Torn, where a warm welcome and baked potatoes cooked on an open fire awaited us. Mini-bus transport was to and from the ski areas was very efficiently organised by Claude, and our hosts at L'ancienne Auberge looked after us well; the four-course dinners were something to look forward to, with a good variety including salad, fresh fruit and regional dishes. Rooms were basic but comfortable, with plenty of hot water for showers, but if you like an early cup of tea or coffee, bring a travel kettle and adapter. Despite challenging snow conditions, this was a wonderful holiday, well organised and with very friendly, interesting company - thanks again Bob!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The beautiful blue sky and the snow...

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He's amazing!
  • Reviewed February 2016
    Howard Parvin

    Cross Country Skiiing in the Pyrenees

    Despite lack of snow (all the locals said they had not seen a season like it in 30years!) I got 4 days excellent skiing. It was limited to an area next to the downhill slopes where lying snow could be supplemented by artificial, but there was a good variety of terrain with plenty of opportunity to practice existing and new skills and both our leaders were excellent instructors. The Auberge was a bit basic but comfortable, the food was excellent and plentiful, and the Catalan wine and beer excellent value. Marcel and Ghislane were excellent hosts and very accommodating about my wife's allergy to mushrooms.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    On the 5th day I decided not to ski and went on a walk in the Ceranca Gorge lead by Claude. It was magnificent with spectacular scenery, rope bridges over rushing torrents, and vertical ladders leading to narrow ledges along the cliff face where we walked with a dizzy drop on one side, and a vertical wall with a rope to hang on to on the other. Even if the snow had been perfect for skiing I would not have wanted to miss what was one of the most memorable walks of my life. Not one for anyone who does not have a head for heights though!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had 2 leaders, Anne Ford and local leader and driver Claude Huert; both were excellent. They had a difficult task because lack of snow meant the area available for cross-country skiing was very limited. They responded magnificently making the very best of the pistes available . I had 4 excellent days skiing over varied and stimulating terrain and snow conditions and improved my skills considerably under Anne's and Claude's excellent tuition. They also had several excellent options for us to do on our 'rest' day and as an alternative to skiing if we wanted it.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Check the snow conditions before you go and take good walking boots. Also take layered clothing since it can get very warm in the sun, but be freezing cold in the shade and especially on the ski lift! On your day off the trip in Le Train Jaune to Villafranche is well worth doing, but don't expect much to be open when you get there. If you have a chance to walk the Ceranca Gorge take it, but not if you don't like heights!
  • Reviewed February 2016
    Anonymous

    Cross country skiing in the Pyrenees

    A great week which I really enjoyed.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Working on improving my skiing in a lovely landscape.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Anne was great - very organised and efficient, whilst friendly and chilled out! Having two guides (one with very detailed local knowledge) was a real bonus, and I felt the instructions and coaching were really helpful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The hotel is fairly straightforward but very nice and the food was good; Bolquere is quiet but also nice.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    As it was unseasonably warm everywhere, the snow conditions meant we couldn't ski by the fourth day. We did a couple of good walks to round the week off, and Anne & Claud did everything to make sure we got as much out of the week as possible, with and without snow. It was a great bunch of people too.
  • Reviewed February 2015
    Catherine Colam

    Cross Country skiing at Bolqueres, Pyrenees

    An excellent holiday with superb snow conditions and lots of variety of skiing terrain. I'd highly recommend this holiday to anyone who has mastered the basics of cross country skiing and wants to experience both beautifully maintained loipe and more demanding untracked paths through extensive woodland.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Skiing across trackless grassland as spindrift blasted past us filling our tracks and the sun shone down from a cloudless blue sky. Final days skiing under wonderful blue sky - after a steady climb to Pic de Calm we enjoyed a sweeping descent down a series of steep bends followed by a more challenging and technical liaison path back to Pyrenees 2000 - a wonderful climax to the week. Lunch in the Refuge du Col del Tom - home made soup, sausage, baked potatoes, wine and cheese plus wonderful tomato and garlic relish all for 12 euro!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent leadership. It was particularly useful to have an additional local leader (with minibus!) who knew the area like the back of his hand so that we could be flexible as to which area we chose for skiing each day.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The Pyrenees may not be a place you automatically think of for cross country skiing but here you will find well over 100km of well cut loipe as well as other tracks at high elevation - we went up to 2200m. Come and enjoy it!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Accommodation was a welcoming auberge - relatively basic ensuite accommodation - bring your kettle and hairdryer! Food was good and varied but no choice other than a vegetarian option.
  • Reviewed February 2014
    Anonymous

    CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING IN THE PYRENEES

    A very enjoyable week with good skiing in lovely scenery, based in an excellent hotel.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being able to ski at a high level. Arriving at Roc de la Calme on skis whilst the downhillers arrived by lift! Skiing down the downhill nursery slope in control.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Anne is an excellent leader, efficient and good fun. She offers advice and encouragement without pressurising you for perfection! I very much appreciated that she gave up her day off to give us a full 6 days of skiing. If you can only go for a week a year, you want to cram in as much as possible!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The ski area is a little limited and you will cover some of the same ground most days. Transport is also limited. Bolquere village is a lovely old traditional village, but if you want nightlife, it's not for you! However, if you're happy to spend your evenings relaxing in a comfortable hotel enjoying good food, wine and company, it's the place to be.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Wonderful hotel; friendly, welcoming people, excellent food.
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