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The Mediteranean TripI had a fantastic time. I really enjoyed my students, I loved meeting all the other teachers from other parts of the United States, I got to practice my Italian, inspire my students to speak more Spanish. My tour director was very loving and open to all my students. She was patient with all our craziness.
Great ExperienceMy daughter had an amazing time on this tour, it was jam-packed from day 1- never a dull moment. The tour was organized to maximize sights- and kudos to EF for making the whole process easy and seamless.
I would highly recommend this tour.
Once in a lifetime!This was truly an experience that I'll never forget and also an opportunity that came once. I spent a little over a week with my best friends and in turn also made new friends at the same time. Many people can say they've been to Europe but not many people can say they've been to Europe and made the same memories as I did. Our tour director was amazing and I hope that I can meet him again. I hope everyone can take this tour.
Unforgettable experienceMy students loved this trip! Our tour guide was great! He related with the students and it was really hard to say goodbye. Our EF tour coordinator was always available to make suggestions to help make this trip a great experience. The hotels in Rome, Florence and especially Barcelona were perfect. I choose the more centrally located hotels, for a small price increase, and it was definitely worth it. Be prepared for the Ferry Boat trip to Barcelona. We left Cittavecchia and it took 26 hours to reach Barcelona!! Over all, this trip was an experience of a life time for my students!!
Walk Through HistoryOur Mediterranean Journey included major cities in Italy and Spain, and the Vatican. We were able to see Rome, Florence, Assisi, Pisa, Lucca, Barcelona, and Madrid in 10 days.
EF provided knowledgeable tour guides who gave us information not only on the history of the sites and ruins like the Colosseum, but some background on culture and foods common to the areas we visited.
The dinner meals provided were all delicious, and the hotels were adequate for our needs - namely sleeping after energy-filled days. Although the literature did warn us travelers that we would be walking at least five miles a day, we averaged seven. Be sure you have comfortable shoes for all those cobblestone streets. If you go during the summer like we did, hydrate and dress cool-ly. Churches had dress codes requiring your shoulders and knees be covered, but an easy way to accomplish this was to tie a scarf around your shoulders or waist. This keeps you from lugging a hoodie all over town or having to wear pants every day. There will certainly be people selling scarves in every city you visit.
In order to visit as many places as possible, we were kept on a tight schedule. This allowed us to see some amazing wonders, but at first didn't leave much time to process the great works in front of us. Though the churches and cathedrals were all beautiful in their own way, eventually they started running together in our heads. I would be hard-pressed to say why one is more important than another other than in style or architecture. Each had detailed paintings, friezes, and domes, but only a couple had memorable stories as well.
As the week and tour moved on, we had increasing amounts of free time which allowed us to experience the modern culture and peoples better. Some of my favorite places were exploring the public markets and an artisan festival we happened on. Be willing to venture off the main drag instead of automatically going into in the nearest restaurant or souvenir kiosk. Your guide will keep you in neighborhoods where it is safe to check out the side streets.
Although Italy was beautiful, I loved Spain. The people were personable, helpful, and friendly, even when we didn't share a common language. We had more time for museums and parks instead of just churches (though we saw at least La Sagrada Familia which is worth viewing even from the street). I would like to take another trip just to visit that country.
Incredible JourneyThis was by far the best trip that I have ever taken with EF. I have been with EF since 1995 and I cannot say enough about the tour director, the food, hotel accommodations and the locations we traveled to. I have never been on a trip that the beach in Barcelona was just a few blocks aways, walking distance. The hotel in Madrid was equally appealing due to its location. The food was all amazing and the service was wonderful. Again, even the location of some of our restaurants, for example in Barcelona was down in the Olympic Village Area right on the water! It was wonderful to enjoy great food and watch the yachts/ships coming in to port. Everything was well planned and thought out in terms of the tour. Our guides were knowledgeable and gave us lots of good information and enthusiastic.
If there were any downsides, I felt in Italy we were a little rushed due to having to get on the ferry sooner, but it was worth it since we got an entire free day in Barcelona to go to the beach and enjoy the Barcelona "Futbol" Museum. The other part, out of EF's control was the ferry. The accommodations themselves were fine, but who could have predicted such rough seas!(lol)
Thanks EF for making this trip one to remember. I hope that you can meet/exceed my expectations on my next trip in 2017!
Mediterranean journeyHad a wonderful time. I loved my tour director and all the places we saw. I can't wait to go back!!!
Great experienceOverall it was great trip but it was clear where EF was trying to save money. The first hotel outside of Rome did not have hot water one night and then no water the second morning.This made traveling with teenage girls quite memorable. The meals were ok but some were sub par. The last night of the vacation we had to navigate the metro system without clear directions provided to our guide which cause unneeded stress and aggravation.
The most amazing part of our experience was ourtour guide! She was excellent! Adjusted the experience to fit the needs and desires of our students. She couldn't have done more to make the experience memorable!!!
Excellent tour of Italy and SpainGreat experience! Nice variety of sights and activities, days were full but not to the point of exhaustion, provided meals were consistently average to above average (which is tough for large groups) including a few really good meals, accommodations were relatively comfortable, and we had a nice rapport with our tour guide. On top of all that, we had amazing weather from start to finish.
The low point of the trip was the boat ride from Italy to Spain. Some things were presumably atypical (boat was 2-3 hours behind schedule for a medical issue), but other things seemed like normal practice that were less than ideal. It was surprising to find that the boat allows passengers without cabins to sleep wherever they want (stairwells, hallways, benches), and that changed the vibe from hotel to hostel/shelter. The food was pretty bad (to be expected in a cafeteria-style place) and they were very meager with their portions, too. The breakfast was very small, which requires you to pay more for anything extra (like jam), or forces you to buy more food from the cafes on the boat, which are overpriced. All that said, we made the most of it as a group and had a nice time. I wish there was another cost-effective way to make the connection or that expectations were clearer for incoming groups.
Hope the above feedback is helpful. Again, overall we had a great experience and I'm really glad we went. I would recommend this tour, especially for folks who have never been to these places.
As a side note, if you love pastries, keep an eye out for the xoxo de crema in Barcelona. Croissant meets churro, filled with vanilla custard. It changed my life a little.
Lots to see in 9 days!We had a jammed packed tour of Italy and Barcelona, we loved everything except the ferry ride which burned a whole day and we hit rough seas which was no fun. Our tour leader, was amazing. Kids loved the opportunities and excursions she recommended as well.