Subject: Bus trip in Europe
Hi Ziners,

Pat from Ontario mentioned taking a Trafalgar Tour. My husband and I took a 19-day Trafalgar Tour in 2003, our first European trip. (We extended our stay by 4 weeks, leaving the tour in Paris and driving back through France and Italy with friends).

I'd certainly recommend Trafalgar for any first-timer to Europe, or to anyone pressed for time and wanting to see the highlights of an area. The ability to have priority entry to places like the Sistine Chapel is invaluable during peak season, and can save hours of queueing. We know now where we would like to return, if time and money is available.

We found most of the "optional" excursions offered excellent value, including some quite wonderful meals. Our tour leader didn't pressure us to take any extras, and was most pleasant and knowledgeable. She told us lots of information as we travelled, we enjoyed being given the info, but we are the sort of people who voluntarily join tours in areas to learn more about what we're seeing. Others on the bus were less impressed.

Trafalgar has a chat group on their home page, which we looked at before we went. Honestly, it's full of people whining about this and that so we were expecting not to have a very good time on the strength of the comments and found none of the issues others were complaining about.

Accommodation was good quality, but what I'd call bland. I can barely remember the interior of the rooms we stayed in, all modern and comfortable, but I can describe in detail all the quirky B&Bs and hotels we stayed in when we travelled independently in the UK in July/August.

Carol is right about going off even for a short time on your own. It's when you have the sort of travel adventures that make trips memorable. It can be easy to be too dependent and insulated on a bus trip, but I wouldn't hesitate to take another organised bus tour if I wanted to see a lot in a short time.

Cheers, Sally (Sydney)