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

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  • Reviewed June 2019
    Nandita Nelson

    The Road to Rome

    A wonderful point to point stroll through olive and hazelnut groves, old roman roads along an old pilgrimage route that ends in Vatican city

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    All those wild flowers in bloom, the fragrant jasmine, the sunshine, Italian food and wine. Hilltop villages and the beautiful crater lake Bolsena--the largest volcanic lake in Europe. And of course the delights of the eternal city.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Not applicable, this was self-guided.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Yes, plenty of sunscreen--long sleeves and hat, sunburn is painful. Also, be aware that EVERYTHING shuts down between 12 and 4 pm, so it is best to SMS your accommodation an hour before your expected arrival. It also seemed to take an age for messages to get through via a UK network. In the villages, very little English is spoken. Make sure you can manage a few words of Italian--very rewarding. We did not really need services like pharmacy or banks, because we had gone prepared, but away from the big towns this could be problematic. If you enter into the spirit of the pilgrimage, it is far more enjoyable. We met loads of "pellegrini" who had journeyed for weeks, often solo, walking every day, a truly inspirational experience! We also bumped into them in Rome, and it was wonderful to exchange stories and to feel we had all managed our personal journeys there.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you like long distance point-to-point walking, good weather and good food, there should be nothing holding you back.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Lynda Hine

    Self guided La Palma

    Over all we really enjoyed this trip. La Palma is a bio-reserve so that once you are away from the banana and tobacco plantations around the main towns, most of the island still contains the natural vegetation. Going in May as we did, we walked all day and saw no one on the coast path other than the occasional local working in their fields. We saw more people on the Caldera and and Cumbre Vieja, but still very few. The geology, scenery and vegetation is amazing and well worth taking time over. Santa Cruz de la Palma is very pretty and worth exploring.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Two main ones stand out. The views from the rim of the Caldera de Taburiente and seeing a 'giant' lizard at the bottom of one of the barrancos (valley) which is actually believed, by some, to be extinct! (By giant, it is actually about 13 inches long, we are not talking Jurassic Park here).

    What did you think of your group leader?

    As we were self guided this is not relevant. That said Alberto, who was our contact on the island, was very helpful and answered any questions we had quickly and efficiently via texts.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Allow yourself more time than the information gives you. The time stated is fine if all you want to do is walk, but if you want to stop and look at the plants, rocks, scenery, banana plantations etc. then you will need longer. This is particularly so on the Cumbre Vieja day, yes one could power walk it in the 4 - 5 hours given, but stopping to look at the incredible views, examine the volcanoes, including diverting off the main route to 'summit' many of them and so on does take time, but is well worth it. We allowed 6 hours but still ended up having to rush the last few km. Be aware that, as it is unspoilt, you are only staying half board in a hotel for three nights. Other nights are in apartments where you will have to go out for the evening meal (Exodus do arrange this very satisfactorily) and you will need to walk a bit for this. Also, one morning you have to walk for your breakfast. (This is not really a problem, it is part of the adventure, though the bar was shut the day we were supposed to visit it).

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It would be really helpful to receive other information about the island in advance. It was not until we were flying home that we realised we had almost walked passed some interesting cultural and geological 'museums'. Had we known, we would have made time to visit them. (Again, if you are just going to walk from a - b as fast as you can, then this would not be an issue for you, though you will miss so much). We will return to La Palma now we have been introduced to it as there are so many bits we could not see in the time, e.g. the whole of the west side.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    David Bruce

    Francigena Way

    The walk was a tremendous experience and I would recommend it to anyone interested in seeing the 'green heart of Italy'; the medieval quarters of the hill towns were fascinating. Support from Exodus (pre-departure) and their local agents Mandala (in-country) was excellent. Walking notes were comprehensive and the Way is exceptionally well signposted. All of the hotels/B&B's selected by Exodus had individual characters and this added to the enjoyment and experience. Enthused by walking the lower portion of the Francigena way, we are now considering walking a northern portion from Lausanne to Aosta and hope that Exodus introduce it to their range of itineraries.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The range of flowers and their scents as we walked through quiet countryside.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    N/A as it was self-guided.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    A poncho was invaluable for keeping dry during intermittent heavy showers. We did not need the insect repellent that we packed.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thankyou to everyone at Exodus and Mandala.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Matthew Grimes

    Awesome and varied walks

    A really fantastic 6 day walking holiday. It is fairly relentless as there are no real breaks, but the scenery is stunning. From the black rocks and sand of the coast line to the lush banana plantations, dense mountain forests to the moon like surface of the volcanoes it had something for everyone. It is definitely a grade four climb and you need to be comfortable with heights and mountain footpaths with no safety barrier. The island (especially in the north) remains relatively untouched and this island is so different to the others in the Canaries. May was a great month to walk and we hardly saw anybody on the routes we had. A strong recommendation!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I think some of the views into and out of the ravines on days 2 and 3. The volcano walk is also awesome. What is great is that the North of the island is very unspoilt.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    N/A

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take your time - don’t rush the walks. We generally took an hour extra each day than the guide book suggested to really suck up the views. We also managed to get much cheaper flights going via Madrid and Tenerife, than a direct flight. It takes longer of course, but we saved over £400.
  • Reviewed January 2019
    Harvey Trop

    Bermuda in Seven Days and One Pair of Shoes

    This was an fantastic trip. If you like sandy beaches, azure waters, history, and good walking/hiking, this is great adventure. In seven days, you will see most of Bermuda and the daily itineraries can be rearranged and adjusted to meet your personal interests. The Bermuda bus system is excellent and makes getting from place to place easy.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching the sunset on Elbow Beach was one of the highlights. Another was visiting Fort St. Catherine on St. Georges.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Since this was a self-guided trip, I can't talk highly enough about my leadership during this trip. [The arrival briefing provided by the Headwaters staff was excellent.]

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The South Shore hike is the longest and seemed much longer than the distance in the guide. I would recommend using the bus system to bypass some sections of the Railway Trail on this hike. Alternatively, you can choose to forego one or more of the side trips, especially Hog Bay. [Definitely do the Horseshoe Bay section, however.) Carefully read all the daily guide materials before setting out. Some of the directions are dependent upon distances and having a good pedometer is useful. However, you're on an island, so even if you miss a trail marker, you can't get too far afield.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thoroughly enjoyed my time spent on Bermuda. The Coco Resort dinner menu never changed. but you can mix and match starters and entrees to provide more variety. Also, the creme brule was disappointing, but most of the other desserts were good!
  • Reviewed January 2019
    Miles Alexander

    Walking the Francigena Way

    My wife and i, early 60s, still working and reasonably fit, wanted something different from day trips from a villa. Italy, late summer, activity, smaller towns and with Rome as an objective - this seemed to be, and was in fact, an excellent tour. The range of rural walking is varied from wooded sections to open fields. There is some urban walking and a short section along the Autostrada but this does not detract from the overall experience. Apart from the weekends, when we met some local walkers, the greatest number of 'pilgrims' that we encountered on any day was 6. There was plenty of time to enjoy the walk and the hill top towns.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There was no single moment but we lost count of the number of time that we opened a door of some undistinguished church in a small town to reveal a stunning interior. The rock-cut church of the Madonna del Parto, a former mithraeum in Sutri was extraordinary - not to be missed. Each of the towns seemed quite sleepy when we arrived mid-afternoon but being Italian, they came to life in the early evening. They all had architecture of interest and although (or possibly because) this is a less fashionable area of Italy, people were very welcoming and helpful, Getting our Testimoniums from the office just off St Peter's Square on the afternoon we arrived in Rome was extremely satisfying.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Self guided.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Although this is a moderate level walk, it does involve some hills and although we traveled in late September, the temperatures hit the 80s on a couple of days. Taking a litre and a half of water each was essential as there isn't necessarily the opportunity for obtain a drink along the route. along the way. We also bought simple food (bread, cheese, meat, fruit) each day for the next days lunch for the same reason. I would certainly recommend walking shoes or boots.; trainers will simply not be good enough. We took walking poles but these were not really needed and quickly ended up in our luggage. I agree that it is difficult to get lost, but equally, that an English version of the notes rather than what appears to be a translation would ensure best accuracy. If you do get wildly lost, there is a VIa Francigena app which shows where you are in real time.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We would start each day before 09.00 and arrive at our destination by mid-afternoon allowing time to enjoy the walk without it becoming a route march. The prospect of an ice cold Peroni was very motivating. This allowed time to relax at the hotels before exploring the towns as they awoke in the early evening. Do not obtain your own Credenziale as we did - Exodus provide them in your travel pack. Learn some basis Italian phrases which is not difficult and is only polite. As these are not tourist towns, English is not widely spoken. Notably, the young owners of Enoteca da Ronko in Vetralla lived in England for a while and are happy to chat. If you have time, tag on a few days in Rome at the end of your walk.
  • Reviewed December 2018
    Elizabeth Smith

    Excellent way to walk in La Palma's rugged scenery

    Well organised trip with all we needed to do some reasonably strenuous but not technically challenging walks in a mixture of coastal and volcanic terrains. The travel arrangememts, accommodation and food were all fine, and it was good not to have to move on every night to new accommodation(3 moves). The route guides were straightforward for the most part and the paths well marked. La palma is relatively unspoilt and we liked meeting almost no-one on several of the trails! Weather was fabulous.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Caldera crater walk was stunning - the rock formations have to be seen in real life - photos don't do them justice.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for the number of steepish descents and ascents the ravines (of which there are many) entail - they're fine but good to be mentally prepared!
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Brenda White

    Self guided walking tour in italy

    The self guided maps were easy to follow. The hidden costs of park passes and transportation should be explained better in literature. The B&B was close to train and water, clean and friendly staff. We had a great week. It was a wonderful week of hiking in Italy. The dinner voucher was the only disappointment.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Sharing the walk with my daughter. Challenging terrain to traverse which made every view more beautiful. We were blessed with dry, sunny weather

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Self guided - n/a

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The costs of trains/buses/boat plus cost of park passes should be better explained and better understood by traveller. These costs were considerable every day and added up for the week. Do not accept dinner voucher substitution - huge disappointment !

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I was very disappointed with the last minute dinner substitution. the dinner venue changed a day before I left. The restaurant was very disappointing. There were only exodus diners present. The first 2 nights it was a set menu with only seafood items. The quality of the food was poor. We were starving after a full day of hiking and could barely eat what was presented. On the last night, we were given an actual menu. We thought this would be better. It was marginally better but still disappointing. We actually went to the restaurant that was on the original dinner voucher. The food here was excellent and lots of other diners! We would have been thrilled to enjoy 3 pre-paid dinners at this restaurant. I would like to be compensated for this last minute sub- par change. I believe the dinner charge was 20 Euros each. I also need reimbursement for downloading the app. I did not have the code to enter and had to pay for download.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Barbara Dolynchuk

    HEADWATERS TUSCANY WALKABOUT

    The walkabout was lovely. The agritourismo, food, wine and walking were great. The problem with the walkabout is namely directions. The directions submitted by Headwaters need to be updated. Sometimes, they just DID NOT WORK. This is very frustrating when you're in a country that you are unfamiliar with, are on a walking trail that is already moderately difficult, and unsure if you are on the right trail (and sometimes we were not). In some instances street names which were available would have been useful. In other instances, it would have been nice if the directions had said, continue for 4 km or 3 miles (instead of just continue on until you get _______.). That was the biggest/only "frustration" of the trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The scenic views on the walks.....so astounding!!!!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Stephano was fabulous. He is a very thorough and conscientious guy. Even with the language barrier, Stephano was easily able to make his directions or point of what he was discussing clear. He was ALWAYS on time for transfers etc and very easy to chat with from destination to destination.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    To do the walks you must be minimally in average shape/conditioning. Some of the hikes are easy but some (especially one) is quite steep and quite physically demanding!! Overall, Tuscany is very hilly so there is no getting around climbing!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Overall, a trip of my lifetime. I enjoyed it very much. The 4 course meals are fabulous....sometimes too much. For example on one of the days we do a wine-tasting around 5 pm and then headed back to the Agritourismo for our 4 course meal. In retrospect, I would have asked the kitchen not to prepare a meal for me that evening because the wine-tasting we experienced was #1. fabulous #2. lots of meats, cheese and bread was provided to enjoy with the tasting. We were stuffed when we left.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Rosemary Gregory

    great gozo

    A great holiday. Ta chenc is a lovely hotel. Single storey buildings with very spacious room and bathroom. A fabulous choice of food at breakfast with plenty of choice for dinner. Staff very friendly and helpful. Gozo is laid back with a very good public transport system to get you to start walks.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the ancient monuments and magnificent churches along with stunning scenery.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    NA

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Not a huge choice for vegetarians at dinner in the hotel.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The written instructions for the walks provided by headwater were very clear and easy to understand. The best walk instructions we have come across. We were very impressed by the speed and efficiency of responses to queries to headwater.