I am back from my excursion, which was very enjoyable, but I do want
to address a concern I had. In the van on the way back to Dresden, the
two other participants and I discussed this, and we all agreed in our
concerns about the quality of the tour.
First, the good things: the itinerary was excellent! I think we all
enjoyed the visit to Bastei Bridge, the hike up and down from the
Sandstone Arch, and the boat ride through the gorge on the Kamenice
River. Having a beer overlooking the arch, and the lunch in Mezna,
were great. And it was a fun group.
The problem was Alena.
She's a lovely girl, but she is simply not qualified to be leading a
tour like this. And I don't blame her. I blame your company. She has
not been properly trained and is just not qualified.
While we were on our way to Bastei, she called the driver and was on
speaker phone, apparently wanting to talk to us. But she never even
introduced herself, so we weren't even aware who she was.
Once we arrived and the tour was underway, she offered little or no
context about what we were seeing. When I asked her questions, she
generally did not know the answers. She didn't correctly estimate time
or distances or explain the agenda for the day. She knew nothing of
the history of the area nor the botanical and geographical features.
She really provided no leadership or "guiding" at all. In fact, she
told us she had never done the boat portion of the tour before. How
do you put someone in a position to lead a tour that she has never
even been on???
Your website refers to "the medieval ruins of Felsenburg Neurathen,"
but I never once heard any explanation from Alena that we were seeing
such a thing or what it was. Nor did she refer to Pravcicka Gate as
anything but "the sandstone arch." When I went back to your web site
just now, I wondered what Pravcicka Gate was, and I had to look it up
to determine that this is the actual name of the arch we visited.
In addition, I had no sense that she was equipped to handle any
emergency that might have arisen. (Thank goodness nothing did go
wrong.) She doesn't speak Czech, so I don't know how she would
communicate with authorities if that were necessary. At one point when
she was purchasing tickets, she seemed to be having trouble
communicating with the person at the ticket desk.
Alena is a nice girl who has come to Prague to have a great experience
living in Europe. She is not a tour guide. The fact that Uniline Tours
has decided she is qualified to be put in charge of a group of eight
diverse travelers on a ten-hour hike speaks very poorly of your
There were a few other issues. Your website says we will enjoy "an
informative of the passing landmarks" on the way from Dresden to the
park. No such description was provided. After we visited the sandstone
arch, we enjoyed a beer at the on-site restaurant, but it was already
12:30 pm. Alena told us we would have lunch at the end of the hike.
But none of us realized we had a two-hour hike ahead of us. (Your
website states that the restaurant is "within seeing distance" of the
arch. We didn't get lunch until 3:00 pm. And the hike from the
restaurant to the Kamenice River was downhill on a tricky path. I
think your website should do a better job of explaining what the
experience is like.
Fortunately, the experience was enjoyable in spite of Alena's
incompetence and the other issues I've mentioned, but I would never
recommend Uniline Tours to any of my friends or family.