My 74 yo husband and I are thinking of My Way Italy next year. Please tell me if my thinking is wrong. H's hip was bothering him this year, but he is clearly conquering it. However, as we all know, we can't see the future and we don't really know how active we will be month to month. We are thinking all will be well, but if not, he won't want to or be able to walk the many miles we usually do. We are independent travelers and usually don't like tours, but we are thinking of this tour because we think with the days free we could be as active, or not, as we want. Correct? And, if we find we prefer not to spend time with the other people other than in transit, we don't have to do so. Correct? And we are thinking it might be pleasant for someone else to handle the location to location transportation for a change. Correct? (We are also thinking of adding Paris to the beginning and taking the night train to Venice for the start of the tour and then hanging around in Rome afterwards.) Is my perception of this tour correct? Is there any part of it that definitely requires a lot of walking? His biking is fine…so that might be an alternative. Thanks, Wray
Yes, you're correct on the points you mentioned. With the My Way tours, you'll have to arrange your own sightseeing, and you can do as much or as little as you want. You will be expected to be ready to board the Bus at the appointed departure time. The Tour Escort will leave a printed sheet in the Lobby each night to notify tour members on the departure time and Itinerary for the following day.
I haven't taken that tour, but it's possible there could be some walking from the Bus to your hotel. You will of course have to handle your own luggage, and not all hotels have elevators.
If you haven't tried a RS tour before, I'd definitely recommend giving it a try if you think you can manage.
Read the tour description carefully. Even tho you are free to do as much or little as you like, getting to your hotel room may require walking some distance from bus or train. There are often/usually steps involved. Some hotels have no elevator. You will need to walk to meals on your own, or take a taxi, bus, etc. Simce this is a DIY type trip, there will be lots of leeway in your activity level. You can ask the RS office for specifics. I've been to all the places on this tour; some of the towns are hilly and some have cobblestones (Venice).
You can be social with others or go your own way. Meals shared with others on the tour can be fun. On the tours I've been on I often go off exploring alone but enjoy spending some of the time with my fellow tour members.
Wray, I took the My Way Italy Tour in the fall of 2013, my first RS Tour. Your sense of the tour is correct, at each stop you can be as active or relaxed as you choose to be. Of course you need to make all your own choices and arrangements for any sites, museums, experiences, etc. you want to visit. You may or may not find others who want to do the same things at the same pace. Other than breakfasts, your meal plans are up to you. You might find other tour members who want to plan together with you and share some of the meals. I remember that on my tour, at least a few times, the "escort" would announce "I am planning to go to xyz restaurant for dinner tonight at 7:30 pm, anyone who wants to join me is very welcome," and he usually had a good part of the group join him. Of course each person or couple ordered and paid for their own meal. I would stress though, that for about four of the six stops, the tour bus could not get close to the hotels, and we had to walk quite a distance usually with our luggage. Leaving Venice this included walking from the hotel to the vaporetto, a vaporetto ride, and then from the vaporetto stop to the bus. In the Cinque Terre this meant getting off the bus in Levanto, I believe, then taking a train to Monteresso, and walking from the station to the hotel, then the same thing when leaving. There was also quite some walk between bus and hotel in Florence and in Assisi, coming and going. Of course this might vary at different times, depending on the hotel being used. So, you should not think that you would be able to avoid any significant walking with the group. And some hotels might involve anywhere from a few stairs to a few flights of stairs, with baggage. Finally, and you may likely know this already, often when you get travel insurance, you are required to purchase the coverage within a short time, such as 14 days, of your initial deposit on trip expenses, in order to be covered for needs related to pre-existing conditions. Good luck to you and your husband! I have been through hip problems, so I have an idea what he is going through.
I think you'd be better off planning an independent trip and going to those places in Italy that are flat. You'd ensure that your hotels have elevators. You'll be able to take taxis to your hotels. Except for small towns , there are no stairs to negotiate at the train stations or if there are stairs, there are also elevators. I have found that people are very willing to help the less able lift their suitcases on and off the trains. The tour you mention includes several places (Assisi, Venice, Cinque Terre for sure) where walking will be difficult and there will surely be flights of stairs to climb with your luggage in one ore more of them.
I also note that most of the My Way Italy tours for Sept-Oct this year still have places. If you are well and able, it's quite likely that you can still register for a tour 1-2 months in advance and cancel any hotel reservations in Italy.
Thanks everyone. When surprised with an injury or illness I think it always puts one on guard. He's an extremely young 74 year old who had to go to physical therapy and had a period of essentially no walking just before that. He's up to one mile before resting and is riding his bike 10 miles, so he can handle some walking now, and we are expecting a lot more improvement. These things just make one think 'what if' so I want to make sure he can handle it and that we can do our own thing, slowly, if necessary. My last post makes it sound like we are extremely unfriendly, which is not the case, but set in our travel ways, I guess. This tour might be a good mix of alone and people. It sounds like bus to hotel and stairs at hotel are the only issue if he should regress just before the trip. I think he likes the fact transportation has been planned and someone else other than me is responsible, even though I haven't failed him yet, so that is why this My Way trip is in the mix... or I would plan the whole thing as planning is what I love to do! LOL I'm assuming one doesn't have to walk more than one mile from bus to hotel…correct? Thanks for this input as I don't want to make a poor choice and be the deadbeats of the group! I went on one tour, my first time to Europe, in 1976 in college, and that's when I realized I could do as good a job so never joined a tour again. However, RS tours strike me as different so worth a try, I think. Fall is the arrival of his first grandchild so we're staying put until next year…I think. Thanks all! I love this forum, always full of information! Wray PS. I'll run this information by him.
You will enjoy the My Way tour. We loved it! In our tour group we had a wonderful couple who were in their 90's. They would take a taxi if it was a long walk and meet us at a meeting point. Everyone does their own planning but tends to gather in the evenings for wine and/ or dinner. The walk to the bus was never very far. One of our tour members fell during the tour and our tour leader had solutions. He road with the luggage carrier up to the hotel in Assisi. So I suggest you take the tour!
Hey, Wray! I agree with pfresh3. I think this tour would be a good choice for you and your husband as it seems to fit your requirements just fine. And keep in mind, you can still do the planning for all those days you will have free! Think positively!!
Thanks pfresh3 and Andi (and everyone). The actual experiences of the tour help me evaluate the situation. Examples are usually the best way to figure things out. I think we're going to try the Italy My Way as it will cover our concerns. I think H has to see Italy (I've been there twice before, but not to all of the stops on the tour.)
We did this tour last September and absolutely loved it. In corporate speak it "exceeded our expectations" ! You are basically correct in your assumptions in that you can do as much or as little physical activity as you like. Be aware, though that there are a lot of hills and steps in places like the Cinque Terra if you are going to visit more than just the town in which you will stay. Reaching the five towns is done most easily by train but once off the train in a place like Manarola, for instance, it involves a downhill walk to reach the shops and waterfront. Once at the waterfront you can buy tickets and hop on the boat to reach other villages or go back to home base. The only other alternative is walk back uphill to the train to continue on.
At Lake Como getting down to the dock, where the lake ferries are located involves a hill to negotiate - at least it isn't up hill both ways ! It's well worth the walk though, as the ferry across the lake to the various towns is a great way to relax and view the scenery.
You can spend time just riding the ferry if you wish for a relaxing afternoon. A taxi to the dock from the hotel would also be a possibility. The hotel is located on a nice level square where there are a couple of restaurants and three churches to walk through if interested.
Venice and Florence are both pretty flat and the walking is easy. Quite crowded with other visitors but pretty easy to negotiate.
Assisi and San Gimignano are both hilly but absolutely beautiful ! For us, Assisi was one of the high points of our trip.
In Rome, taxis to popular sights are available everywhere and a thrilling, exciting ride through the Roman traffic is well worth the reasonable fares ! Those taxi drivers are amazing.
At each place the tour stays there will be buses, trains, vaporettos or water taxis to negotiate with luggage so Rick's advice of packing light is timely! We're a couple in our late 60's and had no trouble with any part of this tour.
We would heartily recommend this tour and all the wonderful sights you will see. We still talk about it frequently.