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Why a Fodorites' trip? and who would want to go on one?

Why a Fodorites' trip? and who would want to go on one?

Apr 27th, 2001, 02:43 AM
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Why a Fodorites' trip? and who would want to go on one?

Many of you have no doubt seen references I have posted, here and there, to "our" fall Fodorites' trip to the south of France, tentatively planned for September 19-October 2, 2001. I believe that this will be the first "true" Fodorites' trip - - that is, a trip suggested "in" a message "thread" here - - and evolved entirely through Internet communications between people who know each other solely through this forum. Of course, eventually others ("non-Fodorites") may end up among the participants. But for now, this is an "all-Fodorites" endeavor.

Let me repeat, and I hope that other prospective participants will confirm this - - this trip is totally non-profit, and no financial advantage will exist for anyone planning, leading or participating in this trip, myself included. I will pay an identical, and equally divided share of all trip expenses with every other participant. I am NOT in ANY "business" of small group tours. Small group tours are my hobby and a passion of mine.

A few people have even raised the question of excessive self-promotion, or my "hogging" the board to bring attention to this trip.

To that end, I feel certain that a web page will be the best way to communicate certain kinds of information to other Fodorites' - - especially prospective participants - - but equally to onlookers who are simply curious as to how "our" little experiment is progressing.

I am no HTML wizard. I understand a few fundamentals about creating and uploading simple web pages that are mostly (or entirely) text, or simple pictures, and maybe some combination of the two (especially modifying a web page that someone else created, for example).

I intend to create a web page (more accurately, a series of web pages, I guess) on http://www.geocities.com to provide more detailed information about the trip. I will add links or any other pertinent information whenever suggested or requested. Based on the way Geocities operates, I don't think I can make it possible for anyone else to add to the page. But let me know, and I will upload any other info that might be relevant.

In the message immediately after this one, I am placing a first draft of what I plan to use as the "home page" to what I plan to put up on Geocities. I will probably plan to actually put this up in the next few days, after some feedback - - either from the "public" here - - or via e-mail, from my "mailing list" of interested parties and prospective participants.

Best wishes,

Rex Bickers
Westerville, Ohio
Apr 27th, 2001, 02:44 AM
Posts: n/a
Here is the first draft of my "home" (web) page for the ("first ever?")fall 2001 Fodorites' trip - - to the south of France and northern Italy.


The "Fodorites' trip" - - a small group trip to the south of France and northern Italy
September 19-October 2, 2001

Introductory paragraph

What is a Fodorite? And what does that have to do with this trip?
Why a Fodorite trip? And who would want to go on it?

What is the itinerary of the trip?
Does it include air travel to Europe? From what cities?
How firm are the dates of the trip?

Is there any more info about the "villa stay"?
What is there to do and see in the Lake Garda region?

Who is going on the trip?
What will it cost?

Links, related websites


For starters, I already HAVE uploaded "Why a Fodorite trip? And who would want to go on it?"

You can read it at


Please note that upper and lower case is essential (must be typed in exactly as shown - - or better to cut and paste) to access this page.

I hope that this serves a useful purpose - - to let people know info about "our" trip without using this board to post information that would take up too much space and be too much "in everyone's face".
Apr 27th, 2001, 03:19 AM
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I am tired of reading about your trip. Maybe when you go on it you will get lost and not return to a computer keyboard.
Apr 27th, 2001, 03:32 AM
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Rex--- I will be travelling to Rome in Nov, if not, I would seriously consider joining your group. I hope you have a good time putting this trip together, and even a better time, once you get there.

Please let us know once in a while how's everything going
Apr 27th, 2001, 03:33 AM
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Thank you for your kind words of encouragement, Dino-Mike. It's people like you that make this board such a pleasure.

But I am curious. Why did you stop on this post to read it? Let alone add your own cheery message?
Apr 27th, 2001, 04:11 AM
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mike/dino which is it? didnt your mother ever teach you if you have nothing good, to say then say nothing? i think its great that rex is undertaking the task of trying to put a trip to italy together. this is no small task trying to get a group of people together from all various parts of the country; and then to have them all agree on the itinerary. i am so glad for rex and people like him who are willing to do put a trip together of this magnitude w/o knowing any of us. thank you rex and don't let the dogs get you down.
Apr 27th, 2001, 04:46 AM
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Hi Rex,

I have had many “fodorites” luncheons with many others from this site. This group lives in the DC/MD/VA area. My first get together was in 1999 in Paris and was the first (I believe) fodorites get together. Six of us met at Café de Magots and we all had a great time. I know this has spread out to other states such as CA, FL, NY, and KY. Since then, a couple of people from “my group” have mentioned that we take a trip together. I think it’s a great idea and I think your plans for one in Sep/Oct is great. I hope you have a good turnout! And to share my fun times with you and anyone else interested, my travel page has some photos from my luncheons: http://www.luvtotravel.homestead.com/home.html.

Maira, Dawn (another fodorite!) and I will be in Italy in November. We’re planning to be there the first 2 weeks. Maybe we can meet you someplace. Miriam (another fodorite from Germany) and her husband may meet us in Venice!
Apr 27th, 2001, 06:49 AM
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Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed how docile Rex has gotten since he started advertising his Italy trip? No more nasty, condescending responses to neophytes, no more holier-than-though one-upmanship... Personally, I think it's wonderful that his "hobby" is including a bunch of strangers on an overseas trip with no financial benefit or break for himself... hmmmm... He says he'll pay "an equal share of the expenses." Expenses usually means food and lodging. Who's covering his airfare? Anyone else notice that he said "of course, eventually non-Fodorites might may end up among the participants." Also says he's putting up a Web page about this (which is where he'll attract the "non-Fodorites." Kind of puts that in the Travel Agent category that Fodor's says is not allowed on this forum...
Apr 27th, 2001, 07:09 AM
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Please don't make me get mad like this. I'm paying my own air fare, dammit. I am NOT a travel agent. Any "non-fodorites" would be anybody I know who doesn't visit this site. Whic is everybody I know in real life. I have never met one single person who knows me in real life here.

I am furious that I have to keep answering anonymous attacks like this. But I will defend myself aslong as I breathe.

And if you have even ounce of self-respect, you'll identify yourself and apologize.

Seething here...

Apr 27th, 2001, 07:22 AM
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First, to all you "Can't Stand Rex'ers" out there I'd like to say that these internet message boards are an imperfect medium for communication and sometimes people who are naturally loquacious and know a thing or two about a thing or two come across as pompous and arrogant. Iin Rex's case, all you'd need to do would be exchange emails a couple times with him and talk on the phone to see he is just a truly nice, regular family guy who happens to have a BIG interest in European travel, especially group European travel. Gee, for a M.D., he's downright humble and also totally not stuck-up. He's working hard on this trip.

As of this date, we have two people comitted to the trip, Claye and myself. Claye is a well-read Georgia fellow in his early forties whose been to Italy before and this will be my first trip (though not first to Europe). We have something like 15 people who are interested but not comitted. If 11 people inhabit the villa (6500 sq feet)the lodging cost for 7 nights will be approx. $230 and naturally the whole trip will cost less.

I'm not normally a big group person: I've traveled solo to England before for a month trip and haven't been on a tour bus since I was 14, but I know this sort of group trip will be a lot of fun. People, naturally, can branch off and find there own ways to explore Northern Italy's history, landscape and cuisine. I'm thinking about a mid-week overnight trip to Venice, seeing Verona, the Sigurta Gardens, Mantova's Palazzo Ducale...My apologies if this message is too "in your face" but I can't think of any other way to call all interested Fodorites to Italy!
Apr 27th, 2001, 07:25 AM
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Just don't understand why people continue to harp on this ... Rex appears to be putting in a great deal of time and effort to put together a trip and I think it most unfair for some posters to keep "hinting" and making allegations that this is for financial gain. As the saying goes "put your money where your mouth is" and prove your allegations or keep them to yourself!
Apr 27th, 2001, 07:35 AM
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Rex, I hope that your trip goes well.
To all others, when I first suggested a group trip to Poland and Romania, Rex contacted me with interest but we couldn't seem to gather any other interest. At that time Rex fully stated that he would pay his airfare and his full part of the cost of the trip. Never did he try to do anything to benifit himself other than trying to help put it together.
Rex, by the way, yours may not be the first fodorite trip. I now have one confirmed and a 2nd possible for my trip leaving for Poland Sept 9th.
Apr 27th, 2001, 07:41 AM
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Rex, you boobed....NEVER let a troll know it has upset you.It's how they get their kicks.
Just remember they don't actually believe the tosh they write & are tickled when you do.
EG if mike/dino was truly "tired of reading about your trip" he wouldn't be doing it, so it's lying QED.
(trolls are always "IT" in my book)

Seneca said that anger was caused by not accepting the world the way it is.This may mean we have to accept that these creeps are about, but I too find it difficult.Mind you, he worked for Caligula & had a lot to put up with, so if it worked for him.....
Apr 27th, 2001, 09:37 AM
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Rex, I just read your website and I think you gave a very creditable justification for your trip; however, I really think no justification is necessary. I'll never understand people who feel they must criticize what others like or want to do. To each his own, live and let live, one man's meat, etc..

That said, one thing I find very appealing about your trip is the villa stay, for that is something we would never be able to do on our own--plus we are not very knowledgeable about Italy. It also affords to opportunity to branch out on your own (away from the group). If we were not planning Maine/Quebec/Gaspe in September, we would surely be interested (and may still be--plans can change). Good luck!
Apr 27th, 2001, 10:56 AM
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It's been my dream to spend time in a villa in France or Italy. Have you done this before? I'll be anxious to hear what everyone thinks!
Apr 27th, 2001, 11:38 AM
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Rex, sounds like a great idea. Coincidentally, my girlfriend & I are thinking of returning to the south of France -- specifically Provence/Cote d'Azur -- sometime this fall, as part of a Barcelona-to-Rome trip and perhaps when you have an itinerary nailed down (and if we decide to go for sure) we could briefly rendezvous with you guys somewhere.
Apr 27th, 2001, 11:42 AM
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Yes, Mel, four times before; twice in France and twice in Italy:

First time was in Tuscany, my wife and I with 11 teenagers (our 3 daughters, 6 cousins and 2 boyfriends). A "villa" is a "catch-all" term for all kinds of "free-standing rental house" properties. This one was a "farmhouse" (?) that may have been originally 40 years old or 200 years old - - somewhat hard for me to say. It had a swimming pool that was three MONTHS old - - there is a lot of competitive pressure to fix up "old places" in Italy - - and to make places that are NOT so old "seem" old, quaint and historic. This one was a great price ($1700 for the week, in June 98), but its location was "so-so" - - not at all close to anything - - even 12 km to a grocery store.

In Sep 99, my wife and I stayed one night in a "castle" - - this one "authentic" to the 12th century, supposedly (I feel reasonably that its footings were that old at least) - - we were offered the opportunity to a "test night" there for only $75 as we were considering it for a group in summer of 2000. Its owner is still very much "in progress" bringing it back up to snuff - - which makes it interesting to me, but I notice that the agent who put us there has since dropped listing it.

The following months I stayed at a fantastic "chateau" in the south of France (near Grasse) that was formerly owned by Mr. Christian Dior (from the 1930's to the 1970's) with a "small group" (my dad and a friend, plus a family of four from Switzerland) for four days - - it was outside the normal season, and it was offered to us at half price.

I returned there last summer with my biggest group trip yet - - 14 adults plus my wife and me. It was a glorious week.

I look forward to our week at Lake Garda to combine some features of my first Tuscany stay (somewhat more rustic, more "low-key") - - with the more adult (but not "adult" as in XXX) camaraderie that characterized the trip I led last summer.

May I assume that I can add you to our "mailing list"? Write me, or just acknowledge here.
Apr 27th, 2001, 12:42 PM
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To Capo:

The portion of our trip in "the south of France" will almost surely stay in the very most eastern part of "PACA" (Provence-Alpes Maritimes-Cote d'Azur) - - ranging not much further west than Nice itself, and focusing instead (perhaps) on Memnton and the region between Monaco and the Italian border. Perhaps, we will take in (by day trip) St Paul de Vence (finally! - - I have never actually been there).

and I am virtually certain that these two nights will be there (as far as where we stay) - - September 20 and 21. There MIGHT be some interest in an arrival one day earlier for SOME of the participants. I will clarify all this long before the actual departure.

As far as connecting up IN Italy, I'm sure there are possibilities, but that's a whole lot more wide open right now - - both the villa stay portion and any days after.
Apr 27th, 2001, 01:09 PM
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Thanks, Rex. If we go, the 20th & 21st in that area might be perfect timing, since we were thinking of starting in Barcelona in early September. I love that area around Nice...and the first time I visited Menton, I was quite taken by it (the view of the pastel-colored buildings in the old town from the jetty is one of my favorites on the Cote d'Azur.)

I look forward to perhaps meeting up with you and some fellow Fodorites.
Apr 27th, 2001, 02:09 PM
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Rex may not be pocketing actual cash from all these oh-so-willing to be led group members of his, but he's profiting all right. Book ten rooms in a hotel and ask for one room to be comped, since you're bringing in so much business....guess who gets the comped room? Find restaurants which are willing to comp your meals in exchange for the group business you bring them. Hire transportation for a group, make sure they give YOU a free ride.

Travel agents get perks and freebies like this all the time. All this planning and effort just out of the goodness of lil ol Rex's heart, huh? He just loves to take groups and spends every day on Fodor's site soliciting business. Everyone should get in on this business!! Promote yourself as a "hobby traveler" (sure is an all-consuming hobby for the guy, isn't it?), gather a bunch of suckers who will follow you wide-eyed, and arrange a free trip to Europe for yourself!

Fodor's will allow you troll for customers on their site unfettered, so you have a target market, and you don't have to pay to advertise. What could be easier? Now, start posting a bunch of fake support/interest responses to your ads, just to show that you really do have a following and everyone loves you. What could be more legit than a stranger on the internet who wants to "plan" your trip for you? Especially when soooooo MANY other total strangers are posting in support of it?

Whatever you do though, don't MAKE him get mad!! See, he doesn't control his own behavior and emotions, YOU do! Now, isn't that just the kind of tour guide you always hoped you'd find?

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