Tours in Review

Thanks to a letter in ITN (Nov. ’04, pg. 82) singing the praises of one Ibrahim Morgan (phone [002] 012 347 6343 or e-mail or visit, my husband, Paul, and I contacted him by e-mail and asked him to arrange a 21-day trip to Egypt for us for March 2-22, 2008.

Mr. Morgan, who earned a Master’s Degree in Egyptology from the University of Alexandria, developed a complete itinerary for our visit.

In crowded and hectic Cairo, the Grand Hyatt became our island of calm. Our view of the Nile River was a welcome solace at the end of each day...


My wife, Darlene, and I traveled to 12 countries, Nov. 20-Dec. 18, 2007, and saw no other foreign travelers the whole time except in Dubai.

Our tour was with Original World (Mill Valley, CA; 888/367-6147) and cost $8,850 for the two of us. We bought our round-trip air through the consolidator Himalayan Treasures & Travels (Pinole, CA; 800/223-1813) at $5,130 for both of us. Other expenses, adding up to $1,700, included taxes, visas, etc., and meals not included in the tour.

We started in Kuwait. The British Petroleum camp is there, and some of the 8,000 US Armed forces...


Bolivia was the only South American country my wife, Virginia, and I hadn’t visited, so we contacted Cecilia at Sol International (Kodak, TN; 800/765-5657, and she arranged an 8-day/7-night trip for us for March 6-13, 2008.

Wanting to give ourselves a chance to become accustomed to the altitude, we chose to fly into Santa Cruz (1,365 feet). Our overnight at Hotel Cortez gave us time to recuperate. The next morning we flew to Sucre (9,000 feet), the judicial capital of Bolivia, where we stayed at a converted town home in the city center, Hotel de su Merced.


My husband, Don, and I and another couple took the “Imperial Russian Waterways & St. Petersburg” cruise-tour, and an optional extension to Kiev, Ukraine, with Vantage Deluxe World Travel (Boston, MA; 866/786-1989), July 13-Aug. 1, 2008.

The tour, including air from Chicago and our upgraded cabin on the ship, cost $6,115 each. The Kiev extension cost $749 each.

After arriving in St. Petersburg, we were driven directly to our ship, M/S Nikolay Chernyshevsky, and shown to our cabins. We had five days in St. Petersburg. On one evening we enjoyed the ballet “Giselle” in a...


Our family of four took a 10-day trip to Egypt, Nov. 16-27, 2006. We booked it with Prem Sharma of Somak Safaris (2700 East Imperial Highway, Ste. N, Brea, CA 92821; 714/985-3456, (We had also traveled through Somak in 2004, to Tanzania.)

The cost of $3,060 per person included round-trip airfare from Los Angeles to Cairo (via Frankfurt), three nights in Cairo (including the sound-and-light show at the pyramids), the flight to Luxor, four nights and five days on the Nile cruise ending in Aswan, two nights in Aswan, an optional trip to Abu Simbel, the return...


Ethiopia and its people are poor. There is malnourishment and there is begging, though it’s not as bad as in India.

Addis Ababa, the capital, is described in the Lonely Planet guide as “massive and incoherent,” which seems apt. Modern, Western buildings are interspersed with shacks with corrugated-metal roofs. Major streets are paved, but the side streets often are dirt lanes.

Around Bole Road, where our tour stayed (at the Central Shoa Hotel — basic but with a good restaurant), there were villages seemingly transplanted from the countryside complete with goats,...


As my husband, Manley, and I are somewhat limited physically, we wanted to see as much of Bhutan as possible but without a lot of physical demands. For a 15-day tour that we took with a friend, April 21-May 6, 2007, we used the superb services of Blue Poppy Tours & Treks (24 Lonsdale Sq., London N1 1EN, U.K.; phone 020 7700 3084 or fax 7609 2029… and Box 1296, Thimphu, Bhutan; phone 00 975 2 333540, fax 333541,

Blue Poppy is co-owned by Mr. Choki Dorji, who lives most of the year in London, and Mr. Karma Wangdi, a resident of Bhutan. Choki, who is...


My husband, Jerry, and I, and our friends Barbara and Harvey Hellering wanted to visit Toulouse, Carcassonne and the Dordogne region of France. Since none of us wanted to drive, we decided to hire someone to arrange the trip and do the driving. Through ITN, we found Connie Wilson, an American living in France and proprietor of France à la Carte (La Chaîne Soulière, 37240 Manthelan, France; phone +33 [0] 247 921 640,

From the first e-mail, we knew that we would be pleased with Connie’s services. She listened to requests and was flexible and resourceful....