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Turtle, Ecuador

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Your Words - We tell it like it is! Holiday Reviews by previous Exodus travellers  

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  • Reviewed September 2019
    Tony Chau

    What a nice surprise!

    This is our 10th Exodus cycling trip and because we were both very busy in the summer, we didn't have a lot of time preparing and read up about the trip. We knew next to nothing about Albania and just managed to read the trip notes once so that we know how many days to pack for and that was it. The trip turns out to be a great pleasant surprise. We thought Albania will have poor infrastructure with lots of pot holes (like Cuba or Romania) but the back roads that we rode on were great. Most of the cars are Mercedes (surprisingly) and the hotels were great European standard (most have good fast WiFI except in the mountains). The food and drinks are cheap (even with the £ being so low because of Brexit) and the old city of Gjirokaster and Butrint were amazing. The quality of cycling is also very good. There are quite a few climbs (especially the one on the last day) but we are never in a rush and with our keen leader encouragement, we managed most of them.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We had mountains / lakes / coastal scenery; great cycling with nice climbs and descents; UNESCO sites; swim in the Med. or a modern pool and even natural thermos pools + fresh cheap food and beer. Just about perfect!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Erlis was our leader and since he did the trip more than 40 times, he knows everything there is to know. The organisation is amazing and we never have to wait for anything (coffee stop, water, food, sites, hotel check in....). Everything is time to perfection and he explains the routes (with the best maps including the profiles) everyday so that we know exactly what to expect before hand. He always brief us and ensure that we are safe. The whole group felt that we were being extremely well looked after and the food was always fresh local produce which is great (and the prices are very reasonable compare to UK!).

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I didn't prepare for the trip but it would be more enjoyable if I did a bit more cycling before hand. A nice saddle is a good idea as the climbs can be long. Also, do try to spend (or exchange) your LEK before the airport since the banks/money exchange at the airport may be closed (may be it is open at the arrival hall but we were too lazy to go and find it). We had 6000 LEK left and had to buy a few bottles of expensive wines at the duty free (not a bad thing :) ) to spent it all!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just book this trip :)
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Mark Walker

    Absolutely fantastic Portugal

    This trip was an amazing experience with absolutely stunning scenery, around every bend was a picture postcard view of the ocean. The guides were excellent and their spoken English was great. This being my first premium trip I was very impressed with the hotels and watching the sunsets over the Atlantic from our hotel balconies and resteraunt tables was a highlight for everyone. The cycling was a bit harder than I anticipated, the trip is graded a two but is as hard / a bit harder than the indochina trip I did earlier in the year which was graded as a three. The first few days are definitely leisurely, but on later days there are a couple of hills one long climb and one short but steep one, the last day is more undulating. I wouldn’t let these put you off though they are manageable by anyone that’s done a bit of prep or cycles regularly and there’s always the van or an ebike. The bikes were trek dual sport 3’s and were excellent hybrids with hydraulic disc brakes giving confidence on the way down. The trip was mainly on excellent quality cycle paths with only a limited amount of road riding to link them together. We were generally in the hotel for 330 each day with most starts about 930

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Eating a group dinner after a hard days cycling on a cliff top resteraunt as the sun set over the Atlantic & getting to the top of the hill with a smile in my face.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Paulo was excellent, really great full confidence in his abilities and adjusted the plan to cope with hotter than expected days and when we wanted to stay loneger in the town or wanted an extra coffee break.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack light, I took way too much stuff
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Ken Plumb

    Cycling through Transylvania

    Another super Exodus trip with a great group. The countryside is lovely and most of the cycling was on minor roads and tracks - so peaceful and calm. The cycling has quite a few climbs to increase the heart rate but nothing too severe. The accommodation was varied, clean and comfortable. We were clearly mixing with the local communities and we received smiles from everyone we met. Food was good and locally sourced. All in all a great trip

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Umm - for me there is nothing that stands out from the many great times I had. The church service in Vulcan, the fascinating fortified churches, the rural communities , the peace and quiet of the cycling, the homesteads we stayed in - they all combined to make an enjoyable holiday

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Madalina - what can you say … such enthusiasm , organisational skills, personnel skills, knowledge and a smile that lit up the room. Always willing to help and it was pleasure to have her as our leader . A great lady !

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You need to be reasonably fit but nothing special. There are few places to change money during the trip so get money either in your home country or from the airport ATMs. You don't need that much cash as almost all meals are included. Don't drink the local water and use hand gel before eating. . Its a great trip that brings you close to rural Romania.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Its just a very peaceful and interesting place to visit ( except the tourist infested Bran and Peles Castles !) . Go for it !
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Rebecca Hill

    Sunny Baltics

    The trip was very interesting with lots of variation, capital cities lovely little fishing villages. Lots of culture and history and easy cycling. Excellent food. Andries was a really great tour leader with a great sense of humour.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The villages around Peipsie lake .The hill of crosses . Cycling around Vilnius. Swimming in Trakai lake.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Andrius was a great tour leader with a brilliant sense of humour. He was very knowledgeable and a great story teller. He definitely went the extra mile nothing was ever to much trouble and some special little surprises .

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just do it you will have a great trip.
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Jan Rae

    A wonderful trip

    A thoroughly enjoyable and interesting trip. The Baltic states are great places to cycle with lots of dedicated and well maintained cycle paths away from the main road. Cycling through beautiful forests and by lakes and the sea, we also had time to sample the culture as well. Very good food too. Highly recommended.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Almost too many to mention but top days included: Cycling through Laheema National Park and Curonia Spit National Park plus the Witch Wood; smoked salmon lunch in the museum; onion soup cafe!; Trakai Castle; swimming in the lake by Trakai castle; organ recital in Riga Cathedral

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Andrius was a great group leader - great sense of humour, enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the Baltics and through his story telling skills bought the history of the country to life. Was alert to the needs of the group and ensured that were able to do our choice of activities whether minority or majority. We were lucky to have him take us this beautiful region.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be relaxed, follow your guide's advice, go with the flow and take a swimming costume
  • Reviewed September 2019

    Amazing Manali - Leh Cycle, led by Valerie Parkinson!

    I had been wanting to do the Manali - Leh cycl for some time, having done several treks in Ladakh, and it lived up to its reputation as a tough, but spectacular challenge! We were lucky to get the bad weather out of the way at the start, and as we crossed each successive pass, the weather got better and better. We had a really friendly group of 12 cycling, and under Valerie's expert leadership we enjoyed an unforgettable trip. The scenery was spectacular, and made the long climbs, rough stretches of unsurfaced road and river crossings all worthwhile. The team of camp assistants and cooks were brilliant, and always so kind and helpful.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Crossing some of the highest road passes in the world with breathtaking views, and arriving in Ladakh entirely leg-powered from Manali!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    In a word, brilliant! Valerie's experience is second to none, and she gives confidence to everyone in the groups she leads. Her care of everyone in the group, especially when people are not feeling great, is wonderful, and she enable people to come through and complete treks where they might otherwise not succeed.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you are really fit and ok climbing for several hours at a time! The rewards make it all worth it!
  • Reviewed September 2019

    Amazing Manali - Leh Cycle, led by Valerie Parkinson!

    I had been wanting to do the Manali - Leh cycl for some time, having done several treks in Ladakh, and it lived up to its reputation as a tough, but spectacular challenge! We were lucky to get the bad weather out of the way at the start, and as we crossed each successive pass, the weather got better and better. We had a really friendly group of 12 cycling, and under Valerie's expert leadership we enjoyed an unforgettable trip. The scenery was spectacular, and made the long climbs, rough stretches of unsurfaced road and river crossings all worthwhile. The team of camp assistants and cooks were brilliant, and always so kind and helpful.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Crossing some of the highest road passes in the world with breathtaking views, and arriving in Ladakh entirely leg-powered from Manali!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    In a word, brilliant! Valerie's experience is second to none, and she gives confidence to everyone in the groups she leads. Her care of everyone in the group, especially when people are not feeling great, is wonderful, and she enable people to come through and complete treks where they might otherwise not succeed.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you are really fit and ok climbing for several hours at a time! The rewards make it all worth it!
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Dave Tweedie

    Cycle the Baltics

    Easy cycling with mostly flat terrain throughout. The three main cities, Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius are all a very interesting but quite different. The climate drier and warmer than I expected but maybe we were lucky. Food and drink really good.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling the Curonian Spit and I really enjoyed the folk night in Vilnius contrary to expectations

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Andrius held my interest from beginning to end with his extensive knowledge and great sense of humour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take your swimming trunks and have the smoked salmon at the fisherman's museum.
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Ian Archbold

    Enjoyable trip cycling through the Baltics

    Overall this was a very enjoyable trip, visiting the Baltic capitals and countryside, learning about the history of the countries and enjoying some very good local food. It is a relatively flat route through the countries on some very good quality cycle paths and roads (compared to the pot holes in the UK) and the distances are not too challenging.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There was some enjoyable cycling, interspersed with some unusual but very interesting sights such as the Hill of Crosses and the Nuclear Missile site in Lithuania, which were about as different as you can imagine but both worth seeing. The nightlife in Vilnius was also a lot of fun!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Andrius was an excellent group leader, with great local knowledge, a sharp sense of humour, and able to tell interesting stories about the history of the places we were visiting. He was well organised, and coped well with a couple of first aid incidents! Food choices were good (the smoked fish a personal highlight!) and having a plan B on the only day it rained was great as well, as it meant we cycled an alternative route, while still heading in the right direction for the final destination, which the group appreciated.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go with the flow and you’ll have a very enjoyable trip
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Felicity Jones

    Lovely Baltics

    Our trip was full of surprises, it was warm and sunny, the Baltic sea wasn't freezing, there were flowers everywhere, the food was great for a vegetarian and it's not boring cycling through a forest. Andrius was a great guide and storyteller, lots of jokes, folk tales, history and local information. We ate as many local specialities in unique locations as he could track down. On our one wet day he came up with a brilliant alternative of cycling round Kaunos instead which was lovely. A great holiday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling through the villages around Peipsie lake

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring your swimming costume.