In reading people's trip reports, it seems like a lot of time is spent eating big meals as a group. I am sure it is often wonderful, delicious and adventurous cuisine, but I feel stuffed after reading the reports. Particularly all that eating and then riding in a bus. Is it possible to maybe not eat as much on the tours, or do you get enough exercise and walk it off during the course of touring? I suppose you just don't order as much? I feel like I would need to go on a Dolomite or Alps or Highlands hike after each meal to burn it off.
The group meals are usually dinner.( So no bus ride afterwards) If it is a lunch it is sized as such.
On our 1st trip ( Italy) our guide told us we could eat all we want and not gain weight. He was right; you do enough walking so your activity offsets any 'extra' eating you might enjoy.
you get enough exercise and walk it off during the course of touring
They include all the breakfasts and 1/2 the dinners. The rest of the time it is pretty easy to eat light.
European food is very different than in America. It is more fresh, little preservatives, no high fructose corn syrup ( which I don't think is permitted in the EU- one of my Euro friends told me this) The portions are much smaller. There is alot of walking to "burn it off" but you don't need to punish yourself after eating. Even if lunch is followed by a bus ride, because of the lack of preservatives, sugar, salt, you don't eat and feel trashed.
The itineraries state which meals will be eaten together as a group, also. Meals with others is not mandatory. The tour guides and organizers have found great restaurants for tour members on the tour and have created a fun experience. I've never felt like a prisoner stuck in a boring place or a foie gras duck being force fed when we've had group dinners.
There are no forced feedings on tour--you may eat as little or as much as you like. Although sometimes the meals are large, mostly they are just normal servings.
It's not unusual for people to opt out of a group meal if they just aren't feeling hungry or sociable, and that is fine, too.
Depending on the tour, many of the dishes are offered “family style.” That gives you the opportunity to taste different dishes and also helps with portion control.
Thank you so much for these food portion-positive replies. Makes me feel much better that I won't be having a daily banquet of multiple courses, and that I have choice in how much I am having on the plate!
I just came back from Heart of Italy tour in June/July. Here is our group meal situation. Breakfast are always provided by hoitel in buffet style. They have much more variety than most US hotels. Freshly make cappuccino. Tour includes half of the dinners for group dinner. Each group dinner comes with four courses, appetizer, pasta, main entry (meat or seafood), and dessert. Always unlimited wine comes with each meal. Each course portion is good, not too big btu you can ask for refill if you want more. If it's too much, you're not obliged to finish it up, just leave it on the plate.
If you have certain requirement like food allergy or vegetarian, you can mention it to the guide at first day. The RS guide is very helpful he/she will make sure all the requirements are met. In my group there are a few members with food allergy, vegetarian and non-alcohol drinking. The guide made sure they all have alternative dishes to enjoy.
I definitely gained a few pounds on the Germany Austria Switzerland and Loire Valley to south of France tours, even with all the walking. I think it was all the bread and desserts. Sure I'll be on vacation, but I'm not planning to do the same thing on the Eastern Europe tour!