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 Post subject: Where shall we go? Small group tour or no?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:49 pm 
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WRETCHED
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So I've been wanting to travel and although flight prices to Europe are depressing, I think it is the most likely place.

I want a fairly short flight from East coast US (I've been to Asia and Southern South America, don't want another long trip for a while)

The trip will be fairly short (10 days or less)

English optional (I know my way around romance languages but I've done wonders even in China and a portable dictionary)

Don't want to go somewhere that is American focused (I know this happens a lot in the Caribbean)

I am also interested in comparing the idea of winging it ourselves and a small group tour such as G-Adventures, formally GAP. So any experience there would be helpful. My primary concern is about being vegan friendly and a tour company but I'd discuss with them prior to going.

We are pretty easy going. I've been to Switzerland, Germany, Greece. My husband and I have been to Montreal, Belize, China, South America/Antarctica.

We aren't party people (minimal if any drinking), we aren't sit at the beach people although a day at the beach is not something we'd turn away from necessarily.

We like wandering cities, looking at architecture, doing some fairly easy hiking (aka 3-4 miles is good, 10-20 is a bit much)

Hot, cold, weather doesn't matter much

Not cruise people but we don't mind boats for a short period of time.

We aren't whirlwind tour people, I wouldn't mind going to just 1 or 2 cities, but I don't want to see 7 countries in 7 days. Any tours would really just be something that focuses on a small number of cities, possibly 4 max. Major cities obviously have more to do but wouldn't mind a mix of big and small cities.

Timeframe is almost anytime next year, considering spring/early summer.

Potential locations I am considering:
Ireland (my husband is Irish although has no Irish cultural identity)
Scotland
Spain
Morocco
Italy
Almost anywhere else in Europe really. We'd consider South/Central America but we've been there in the last few years. Not really a Caribbean interest, at least not until we can go to Cuba freely.

Any insights? Basically we wanted somewhere where we can go, do some walking, enjoy some food, see some interesting sites, maybe go to some museums, etc, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Where shall we go? Small group tour or no?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2013 5:53 pm 
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Hello? Glasgow! 'Bang it up in style!

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Dessert is currently a big bowl of sanctimonious, passive aggressive vegan enduced boak. Fezza
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 Post subject: Re: Where shall we go? Small group tour or no?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2013 6:19 pm 
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I thought you were going to say Florida, although I am wondering if we should postpone europe in favor of Acadia... puffins are a big pull

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 Post subject: Re: Where shall we go? Small group tour or no?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:29 pm 
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I loved Spain and Portugal, if you only go to two cities you could totally do it in 10 days. Lisbon is beautiful. When we went we did Madrid, Seville, and Lisbon, and did one switch by train and the other by rental car.

Paris?

Morocco would be cool. How about Turkey?


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 Post subject: Re: Where shall we go? Small group tour or no?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:34 pm 
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I like the idea of Turkey but I was also kind of being a wimp about longer flights. I think we may be strongly leaning toward Ireland but if I keep looking, I'll probably fall in love with the idea of elsewhere. Southern Spain sounds fascinating as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Where shall we go? Small group tour or no?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:48 pm 
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I loved Morocco. We hired a car and driver through an agency that also set up some wonderful hotels for us. It was very low pressure and lovely. And it was so easy to find vegan food.

I've never been to Ireland, but it seems breathtaking.

Really, I would go anywhere on the list and I am pretty sure you'll have a great time wherever you go!

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 Post subject: Re: Where shall we go? Small group tour or no?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:51 pm 
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Semen Strong
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I loved Morocco. We hired a car and driver through an agency that also set up some wonderful hotels for us. It was very low pressure and lovely. And it was so easy to find vegan food. There are a bunch of good threads on it here and amey's blog post was very helpful.

I've never been to Ireland, but it seems breathtaking.

Really, I would go anywhere on the list and I am pretty sure you'll have a great time wherever you go!

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 Post subject: Re: Where shall we go? Small group tour or no?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:56 pm 
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you can do a fair bit of the major chunks of Spain/Morocco or Spain/Portugal in 10 days. they'd be my pick for sure. I flew from Spain to Morocco for like €70, and went overland back up to Spain. mad cheap, really fun adventures, lots of gorgeous diversity. and warm.

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 Post subject: Re: Where shall we go? Small group tour or no?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 8:36 am 
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I went overland/on boat from Spain to Morocco, and flew back up. I would probably just fly both ways next time since it's so cheap and the ferry ride is really less exciting than it sounds. But you can definitely see a lot of different stuff within that timeframe. Granada and Marrakech were both great and I totally recommend them. Chefchaouen was really cool but it was a major headache getting to and from there, so it might not be a great choice if you don't have a driver.

I've done a couple of small group, backpacking tours before in South East Asia and Sri Lanka, but I wouldn't do it for Europe. They've been good for me when there's a lot of overland travel to places that would be difficult to get to otherwise. But Europe is so easy to get around that I'd much rather have the flexibility to go where I want, when I want. If there's somewhere trickier to get to that you're interested in, you can always book a day tour when you're there- we booked one to go out to Aït Benhaddou from Marrakech and it was really easy to organise, and pretty decent value. Best of both worlds!

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 Post subject: Re: Where shall we go? Small group tour or no?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 3:28 pm 
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Vantine wrote:
Hello? Glasgow! 'Bang it up in style!

Right?

Also, we have puffins. I mean, not in the city. In the city it's just Venger and Satsuma La Roux. But still, if that's not a draw I just don't even know.

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 Post subject: Re: Where shall we go? Small group tour or no?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 7:45 pm 
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interrobang?! wrote:
Vantine wrote:
Hello? Glasgow! 'Bang it up in style!

Right?

Also, we have puffins. I mean, not in the city. In the city it's just Venger and Satsuma La Roux. But still, if that's not a draw I just don't even know.

You, Venger, Satsuma, and Bourbon milkshakes. What the fork else do you need?

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A whole lot of access and privilege goes into being sanctimonious pricks J-Dub
Dessert is currently a big bowl of sanctimonious, passive aggressive vegan enduced boak. Fezza
You people are way less funny than Pandacookie. Sucks to be you.-interrobang?!


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 Post subject: Re: Where shall we go? Small group tour or no?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:22 am 
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I definitely recommend Edinburgh if you like walking, architecture and museums! Plus I do couch surfing, so if you want to come stay on my sofa bed you'd be very welcome :) It's also a good place to explore other places in Scotland and the UK from too.

Prague in the Czech Republic is a fascinating city as well, which I would highly recommend.

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 Post subject: Re: Where shall we go? Small group tour or no?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 6:39 am 
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I looked at Prague quite a few years ago and wanted to go!

Anyway, I think we are settled on Ireland fairly firmly for late spring/early summer next year. The part that wins out really is that both my husband's parents are Irish and I think he should really see Ireland.

The Irish tourism site is great and even has suggested itineraries and such
http://www.discoverireland.com/us/

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 Post subject: Re: Where shall we go? Small group tour or no?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 2:16 pm 
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Groupon had a nice deal for Ireland. http://www.groupon.com/deals/ga-great-v ... nd-castles

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