Anyplace, including returns to places already visited!
Tell us about one of your favorite places to stay on an Untour. Do you have a favorite host? Apartment? Village?
Loved the Fenice apartment in Venice, with its walled courtyard full of flowers. Also loved the Martyrs apartment in Paris--antiques, books, on a neighborhood shopping street where we could pick up a quick dinner by stopping at various shops for a little of this and a little of that (if you buy something that should be eaten warm, they'll even heat it for you and double-wrap it in foil to take home!).
Do you have any special interests or hobbies that you follow when you travel?
First we hit all the "must-sees"--Sainte-Chapelle, St. Mark's, the Vatican--and plan our daytrips to nearby interesting spots. But most of our time is spent wandering wherever our feet take us--back streets, country lanes, small towns, etc.--to see what isn't in the guidebooks. One of our favorite activities in Switzerland is hiking, with sandwiches, chocolate, and wine in our backpacks for a picnic when the view is so spectacular that we just have to sit down and admire it for a while.
Which Untours have you already done?
Switzerland (Heartland 3, Oberland 1), Rhine, Paris (2), Provence, Spain, Austria (4 weeks), Venice
What advice would you give others considering an Untour?
DO IT! Don't worry about not "knowing how" to vacation in Europe on your own. Don't worry about not speaking the language (but do learn some basic politeness phrases--and use them). Don't worry about things not being like they are at home--of course they're not, but "different" is always interesting and sometimes is better. Switzerland is a particularly easy country to start with--great scenery, terrific transportation (no foreign road signs to read), friendly helpful people, relaxed atmosphere.
I noticed that you mention getting off the beaten path and going places guide books fail to mention. I just started a discussion on books in the new Book Forum. Do you want to join? I often find that fiction and non fiction books set in the place that I am traveling to inspire me in different ways than regular travel guides. I'd love to hear any recommendations you have!
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