From tucked away café spots in Provencal cities to incredible vistas painted forever in their memories, our tour managers have totted up hundreds of air miles, memories and of course stories along the way. In a time where we’re all longing to catch up on travel, we asked them about their favourite places, and where they can’t wait to return to.
“Victoria Falls, Botswana Safari and Cape Town is the most wonderful tour I have ever done. The “Smoke that Thunders” is awe-inspiring. Walking along the edge of the Falls is just amazing. Safari in Botswana is a unique experience, there’s nothing like sharing the bush with the animals in such a remote area of the world. Watching the elephants swimming in the Zambezi is second to none. As for Cape Town, well, I just think it’s a beautiful city, with so much to offer and in a stunning setting. The hotels are beautiful too, especially Mowana Lodge, in Botswana. Can’t wait to go back!”
– Manuel Alarcon, Classical Spain
“Many years ago, at university, one of my Spanish lecturers appeared in his spectacular doctorate robes of Salamanca University. His subject was South American literature, but at every opportunity he would extol the virtues of Salamanca and encourage his students to visit. It took me 25 years to get there for the first time and 25 minutes to understand why he was so keen for us to go.
“You don’t need to spend a fortune to eat and drink in the most beautiful town square in Spain (sorry, Madrid); you don’t need to work out the bus timetable as you can walk to all the beautiful Renaissance buildings on your list; you don’t need a list of areas to avoid, it’s remarkably safe and friendly in the town. New and old buildings are harmonised by glorious local honey coloured stone (it’s still obligatory to face new buildings with it). If you’re cultured out you can take a peaceful riverside walk. After more than twenty years with Riviera, I’ve often been asked which is my favourite tour: the honest answer is I enjoy them all, but favourite city to visit, that’s an easy one.”
– Keith Hulse, Portugal, Classical Spain, Madeira and Peak District Tours
“I never get tired of going back to India. It is a feast for the eyes. Historic buildings, beautiful scenery and bustling cities with the friendliest people. My highlight is the Taj Mahal as it truly never disappoints anyone and I love to see the facial expressions of those seeing it for the first time.
I also can’t wait to go back to the Navajo Indian Reservation in the USA. It is a privilege to stay on the reservation and experience their unique culture first-hand. A main highlight is the iconic Monument Valley. It’s not just a screen saver. It’s heartstoppingly magnificent.
Lastly, when I go back to Seville I love the iconic Moorish and Christian architecture, traditional Flamenco, the opportunity to cruise the Rivier Guadalquivir and also enjoy fabulous local food and wines.”
– Patricia Shield, USA Tours
“I am always excited to sail to Arles. It always surprises, depending on the time of the year and the light. From our mooring under the remains of the Lion Bridge with its impressive statues in soft cream coloured Provencal stone I walk up to the road and pass the place Vincent Van Gogh sat and painted Starry night on the Rhône. I walk a little further along narrow streets full of houses with Provencal blue shuttered windows then I catch a glimpse of the enormous Roman Arena standing proudly.
Finally I stop for a coffee in the Cafe du Nuit by the statue of Frederic Mistral – guardian of Provencal culture and my head is full of images of Provence, Vincent Van Gogh and the Romans.
I also love visiting Arromanche during our Normandy beaches excursion. I take a walk along the beach and see the remains of the Mulberry Harbour and marvel at the ingenuity and bravery of the young men of the D-Day Landings.”
– Mandy Kinnell, French River Cruises
“The country that I would most like to go back to is India! Anywhere in India! I first went there many years ago when, more or less, doing the “hippy trail”.
“It is an absolutely stunning place and even on recent visits I can never get over the sensation of complete culture shock when I arrive there. A true assault on all the senses. The noise, the colour, the aromas – both good and bad, the amazingly kind and happy people. There is remarkable scenery, wildlife, sites to visit, spectacular beaches. A truly different culture to explore. The variety of food to discover! A trip to India is quite unforgettable and completely changed my outlook on life. Particularly in a spiritual sense. The extraordinary peace of the ashrams is something that, one day, I intend to experience for a longer period of time. There are many places I could return to and many more to see- but India will always be right up there!”
– Susan Anderson, Classic Greece