Tours in Review

I was quite surprised at the modern Beijing. There are skyscrapers everywhere. The city will host the 2008 Summer Olympics, so there is construction everywhere too.

My 20-day tour with JMG Tibet Tours (Lauderhill, FL), Oct. 5-24, 2005, was wonderful and cost $3,100 including air from Cleveland. (In 2007 this tour is offered as an 18-day tour, air not included, for $2,895, with single supplement $550.)

Our 13-person group spent four nights in Beijing seeing the usual sights, with an all-day excursion to the Great Wall — impressive! We took a cable car up to where we could walk...


My husband and I had never done a customized tour before, but we couldn’t fit a regular tour into our schedule. For a trip we took Nov. 23-Dec. 9, 2007, Eliu Campos of ECS Travel (Los Pinos St. 156 Of 502, Miraflores, Lima, Peru; phone +51 1 2429716, fax 2428671, www. made all the arrangements, and there were no glitches at all! Eliu answered all my pre-trip questions via e-mail, which I have found to be a rare thing.

We were met in Lima at the airport and escorted to our hotel (I had a hand in picking all our hotels), and from then on all our transports, tours,...


A query in ITN’s “Person to Person” section led to a deluge of recommendations for Africa 2000 (P.O. Box 1204, Hilton 3245, South Africa; phone +27 33 3433911, fax 3431786).

My husband, Frank, and I and three other couples (a very nice group size) worked for many months with the Africa 2000 owners, Gill and Graham Maskell, to develop a trip which suited all our interests and budgets. The result was the trip of a lifetime, March 25-April 17, 2008.

The cost, including our airfare from Phoenix, was about $28,000 for my husband and me. Everything was included except lunch and...


“Basque Hills and Coast” was a wonderful guided hiking holiday in Spain that my husband and I took with Alto Aragón (31 Heathside, Esher, Surrey, KT10 9TD, U.K.; phone +44 [0] 1869 337 339 or visit

Our tour, Sept. 17-24, 2006, began and ended in Bilbao. The cost of approximately £875 (near $1,696) per person included airport pickup and dropoff, very nice hotels, great food (all meals were included), wine and, most importantly, the services of Richard Cash, who is an excellent and accommodating guide.

Richard and his partner, Nicola Forsyth, are English...


To celebrate their 10th anniversary as a company, Orient Odyssey (1385 Gulf Rd., Ste. 203, Point Roberts, WA 98281; 800/637-5778, offered a 10-day trip for September ’06 that I could not resist. It was to Guizhou Province in southeastern China, and the price was $1,430 from Vancouver, B.C. (In 2007, Orient Odyssey offers this trip as a 12-day itinerary for $1,990 from Los Angeles or New York.)

Guizhou is a place of beautiful scenery and 48 ethnic minorities, many of whom still maintain their original lifestyles, dress and unique cultural traditions. Now an...


One of the most beautiful parts of Italy, the Ligurian coast, was the setting for the 10-night “The Gulf of Poets and the Cinque Terre” program of Elderhostel (11 Ave. de Lafayette, Boston, MA 02111; 800/454-5768, The land price for the tour, April 24-May 2, 2007, was $2,568 plus a single supplement of $330.

Lerici is a small resort town situated at the entrance to the Gulf of La Spezia. It has several beaches and many outdoor shopping opportunities along the palm-tree-lined walkway to the north.

For all 10 nights, our group of 27 and an Elderhostel...


The ms Tolstoy was our home for a wonderful 2-week adventure in Russia with Amadeus Waterways (Chatsworth, CA; 800/626-0126,

Our cruise, Sept. 28-Oct. 10, 2007, cost $2,450 per person and included most of the tours. We spent an additional $800 for personal expenses, souvenirs, tips and optional tours. Our flight from New York on Austrian Air cost $993 per person.

The Tolstoy is a small riverboat, carrying 200 passengers and a crew of 100. The all-Russian crew and staff were some of the hardest-working people we have ever met in our travels. We once...


My friend Kathleen and I traveled to Iceland with the Colorado Mountain Club on a hiking/walking tour, “Mountain Highlights,” with Borton Overseas (5412 Lyndale Ave. South, Minneapolis, MN 55419; 800/843-0602, The land price for the 12-day tour was $3,200, and airfare on Icelandair from Baltimore-Washington International Airport was $1,178.

This excellent tour, June 24-July 6, 2006, was well organized. Oskar Bjarnason, our guide, was knowledgeable. The 27 other travelers on the tour were from Germany, Luxemburg, Australia, France and the U.S.