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Anyone ever flunk out of a Grand Circle tour?

Anyone ever flunk out of a Grand Circle tour?

Old Jun 14th, 2014, 05:57 PM
  #121  
 
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TWOTEACHERS, so glad you made it. What a day! Hope that all your pics come out great. Where did you say you will be spending your time before the next tour starts?
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Old Jun 14th, 2014, 07:24 PM
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The second tour looks so much easier, with more free time. If you cannot get your money back, seriously consider staying and get advice from people here on how to make the best of it. The next td could be wonderful.
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Old Jun 14th, 2014, 07:57 PM
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Good for you! Spirited women - love 'em!
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Old Jun 14th, 2014, 09:24 PM
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I have some empathy for the OP but i fail to understand why a well-traveled person who KNOWS they will take more time than what looks to be the standard, would fail to get this in WRITING that her pace would be OK.I also never understand why travelers ask for help here AFTER they've made their expensive decisions.... I have a feeling there is more than one side to this story.
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Old Jun 14th, 2014, 11:30 PM
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Newtome: There's always two sides to a story however in this case, I think it's important to help the OP as much as possible because of the situation. We'll be doing the OP, the tour company and the members of the tour a big favour.
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Old Jun 15th, 2014, 01:16 AM
  #126  
 
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Duh...of course there's more than one side to every story but the point of this post is not to whine and be a victim but to engage this community in helping and supporting her and offering options for her trip.
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Old Jun 15th, 2014, 07:17 AM
  #127  
 
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Of course the reality lies somewhere in the middle, and we all hope the OP is working through the issues with the tour. The second tour concerns me; why would it be any less strenuous than the first? Or more to the point, the pace will be equally fast and impersonal; no long photo stops, on and off the bus, walking etc.

The OP describes herself above as mobile, not agile, but in other posts and on other threads she says she has two bad knees, two repaired shoulders and bad sciatica which makes walking long distances painful. She has a cane. If this is the description that GCT gave to the tour director, then the offer to cancel and refund before the tour began makes more sense.

I admire her spirit but there is a certain naïveté about relying on other people that has obviously fallen apart on this journey. Yet she has plans to navigate Venice on her own with luggage, and has booked several trains to get from tour 1 to tour 2. Still wishing her the best but the company's concerns are more clear to me now.
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Old Jun 15th, 2014, 01:43 PM
  #128  
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I don't know where to begin. For one thing, I do not use a cane at home, but bought one with a folding seat for this trip, which, yes, was mentioned and I was just told that is an excellent idea. I do not think I Iam a. Seasoned traveler. I have been on 2 independent trips ever before this trip, and naively saw a tour as a way to relieve me of all the logistical hassle. I honestly had no idea they were so intense. I carefully booked a hotel in Venice near the station and a vaporetta stop and have been assured of a low floor room.... Of corse I am concerned about hauling my luggage, but I do have someone to meet my train both in Zurich and in Paris, so I have tried to cover my butt, as they say. It is hard to get a chance to talk to the td although I néed to and have asked to, especially she is gone all days on tours I am not on. I will probably cancel the second tour, but i still haven't gotten a straight answer about the air arrangements....


Today was very nice with a beautiful drive and then short cruise along the fabled Amalfi Coast. I did have camera problems with batteries not being charged long enough because I got in so late last night, but, alas, when I got back to the hotel , i discovered many poor pictures, partly because of taking pictures out of moving bus or boat and often, frustratingly, being on the wrong side of the bus, partly because of weak batteries, and partly because of a wrong camera setting. Along with my cold worsening, I am trying to stay upbeat....
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Old Jun 15th, 2014, 02:12 PM
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I think the second tour will be easier for several reasons.

First, both tours say you will have to walk on cobblestones and uneven ground, but the first tour added that you also needed to be able to walk two or three miles a day. The second tour does not include that warning.

The first tour went to several sites like Pompeii and Herculaneum that offer no places to have a break and rest and are situated away from other places so you could not easily leave, take a break and return. The area of the sites is large. Depending on where the tour bus parked, walking into Siena is a long hike. The trips were mostly all-day excursions.

The second tour is primarily cities and the hotels are fairly central, so if the OP is out with the group, she could leave the group and take a taxi back to the hotel or stop at a cafe and catch up with the group later.

Most of the tours seem to be only two or three hours with the rest of the day free for participants to do as they please, take a nap or a walk or a museum, etc.

Except for a couple of terribly long days on the bus, this tour seems much less strenuous.
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Old Jun 15th, 2014, 02:33 PM
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For some reason, GCT has issues with twoteachers doing parts of tours. For example, she wasn't allowed to do the walking tour of Sorrento. She needs to address this matter with them before continuing.
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Old Jun 15th, 2014, 02:52 PM
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I am on pins and needles waiting to hear of your hotel choice near Santa Lucia station and vaporetto stop.

Are you sleeping at Hotel Abazzia?

Thin, loves the drama of it all
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Old Jun 15th, 2014, 06:57 PM
  #132  
 
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I just looked at the itinerary for the second tour. If you can get a full refund for that tour I would do it. You're covering a lot of territory with a lot of bus and train time and seeing very little of any place.

BTW - GCT is not an intense tour company. If you were on a Globus tour you'd be changing hotels every 1 to 2 days and spending most of your time on a bus.
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Old Jun 15th, 2014, 07:04 PM
  #133  
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"Along with my cold worsening, I am trying to stay upbeat...." -- Wishing you a speed recovery from your cold and from the moments that are even more wearing than the others Know that you've got a huge group of Fodorites cheering you every step of the way!
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Old Jun 15th, 2014, 07:24 PM
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I think you should take a refund and go home. I'm not trying to be cruel, I just think you didn't understand how tours like this work. People have to be up and ready and prepared to be alacritous every day. You can't be. and that's fine. So just go home and start over again.
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Old Jun 15th, 2014, 11:45 PM
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Dear twoteachers,

My heart goes out to you. Do what you feel is best but whatever you do, you're not flunking out or passing. You're making a decision that's best for you and that can only be a sign of a healthy psyche.

Your experiences offer a fantastic learning curve, especially for those with mobility issues, on what to expect from tours. Thanks for posting and good luck!

PS: I'm with Pepper on this: it's a great read and could be made into a film or novel. I don't think I've ever seen this subject covered before.
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Old Jun 16th, 2014, 06:36 AM
  #136  
 
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I am sorry for the outcome of this tour for TwoTeachers, but travelling to some of these sites IS physically demanding. Little by little, we have been apprised of TT's physical limitations and a tour almost of any kind sounds very iffy for her--and should have been recognized at the beginning with the offer of the refund IMO.
We have been on tours with civic groups and have been disadvantaged by those who shop--which we don't "forgive"--and those unable to keep the pace, which we do as much as possible. But there is a tipping point, and the TD has to say what is best for the 30+ also on the same tour, expecting the itinerary to be met.
I thought Lauren's comments were mostly productive--not blaming. Maybe a little long, but ......
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Old Jun 16th, 2014, 07:08 AM
  #137  
 
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Dear twoteachers, you sound like you are exhausted from the traveling; perhaps it is a good idea to consider taking the GCT offer to refund the second tour. Even for those with more physical agility, two separate tours, with time in between, is a lot of time on the road. Having never traveled in this manner, you have learned that this type of travel and you are not well suited, but do not consider this 'flunking' or 'failure', sure it has been a struggle and sure you were not treated well by the tour director, but put all the wonderful places you DID see in the plus column, and go home. Plan another trip, with a different mode, and do a lot more research here, and other places, before you write the check. Good luck.
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Old Jun 16th, 2014, 07:33 AM
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Wow, guys, this has turned out to be an interesting thread!

2teachers - we are all proud of your perseverance in this difficult undertaking. Way to go for doing both Pompeii and Herc! Amalfi Coast is so beautiful, we loved seeing it.

Hang in there for the rest of this tour! I think u will be glad that you didn't give in. As far as the 2nd tour and cancelling it, only u can decide. I do agree with Sassafrass tho, the worst may be over as far as walking, etc. And you can always just hang out while others tour if it's too difficult for you. We have done tours and those that had difficulty walking just stayed behind. Bring a good book.....

Good luck!
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Old Jun 16th, 2014, 07:36 AM
  #139  
 
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I would not go on the next tour but I would not go home.

I would find a place to base yourself for several days and just enjoy exploring the area around that base. Pick a place and go there.

This is on my bucket list.
http://www.letorri.com/

It would not work for you because you would need car transportation to explore the area but read about it and see if you can find someplace similar to enjoy.

The slowtravel website may be a good resource. It's where I found the first reference to Le Torri.

Ditch the next tour but create your own better adventure!
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Old Jun 16th, 2014, 07:36 AM
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The only "problem" with continuing her trip is that she is couch surfing before the next tour, and has luggage tailored to her tours, and not necessarily her abilities to handle the luggage. Something to consider.
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