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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 August 2019
    Bev Chinnery

    Terrific Vacation

    Where else do you get the opportunity to meet 15 wonderful people from Italy, England, Australia, Scotland, Belgium and the US and spend long, delightful days riding, taking in beautiful scenery and history, and summer nights eating and strolling the sights and sounds of Italy, capping it off with a long day trip to Venice (bring your walking shoes!) and a delicious evening meal on the canal. This trip is much more than cycling.. it’s a step in time in truly one of the most beautiful places in the world.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There was a collective beauty as the miles unfolded.. rivers flowing for miles on end, hilltop castles jutting toward the sky, unending vineyards and apple orchards, and fresh air to breathe in as each new scene came around the corners. Blending this with the group dynamics of idle chatter and laughter along the way and at various stops, and a few short history lessons now and then, made me feel like I was truly a visitor in a magical place for a while.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Michele was a strong leader. His riding skills, group leadership and overall knowledge were exceptional. Michele’s sense of humour was much appreciated and he was a gentleman in anticipating the needs of all group members and took the time to ensure everything was running smoothly. He’s a good communicator and kept us well informed about the expectations of each day.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It’s probably best to have completed several 75km daily rides to know the distance and time on the bike. The first day is particularly long and straight, so music and headphones might be nice to help enjoy the miles. We had some triathlete riders in our group who were fabulous.. and strong riders, so even though it’s NOT a race, it is nice to be able to keep up off and on. I didn’t mind falling back at times but was glad I could reasonably stay with the group along the way. Bring mosquito spray and sunscreen. Electrolyte water tablets were helpful. Small, easy snacks for the distances. A cooling towel during hot afternoons made a nice difference. Lake Garda beach is beautiful but rocky ( no sand), so flip flops are good to bring along. If you like scenery, the ferry ride is a pleasure as it criss-crosses the lake and ours was the last stop. We arrived around 9pm and by the time we checked in, a few of us opted out of dinner, so the pre-ferry purchases were dinner too. I stayed a couple of days in advance at Lido and took the boat rides into Venice to wander around. It was a great way to relax into the trip, and Lido Beach is well worth the time!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Day 3 was a great mix of riding. Day 4 was the longest uphill climb (1 km, then 5km), but day 5 also had some long climbs in the morning. Well-rewarded by the winery tour and magnificent lunch. Breakfast at all hotels was excellent. All evening meals were fabulous too.. you’re in Italy after all. With coffee stops and a few snacks here and there, $40 to $50 Euros a day was lots.. plan extra for museums, etc. in Venice on the last day. Accommodations were clean and comfortable.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    ZOE PHILLIPS

    FANTABULOUS

    Many of the reviews describe how stunning this ride is and it's all true. I'd like to review a slightly different side to this trip - how it changed me as a person and that is down to 3 things: 1. The ride as a whole and all the beautiful sights along the way 2. The friends I made and the "moments" we had that I will treasure and giggle about for ever 3. The leader - read on... Mario soon became re-named 'Super-Mario'; a true professional - caring, fun, sociable, knowledgeable, encouraging, supportive BRILLIANT, PASSIONATE & SIMPLY EXCELLENT. With mental health now recognised at being so important to people's well-being, Mario skilfully managed to transform me from a tired, unsure, lost soul back into a happy, confident, motivated person hungry and ready for the next challenge. I laughed like I have never laughed before, made wonderful friends, felt good about myself and relished the escapism for a week. I shall never forget this trip and it is refreshing to see someone (young) like Mario who adores his country, loves his work and shows such respect and kindness. From the moment we 1st shook hands to tearful goodbyes, he took full control in such a fantastic mature manner and I felt in safe hands throughout. I really hope his parents get to read this as they should be SO proud. I can't wait to do another Exodus trip (this was my first) but worry it won't be the same without Mario - the other Exodus leaders have a lot to live up to as he has set the bar so high! Thanks Mario.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching everyone on the group achieve those hills. With love and laughter, you can all get there and enjoy the rewards, be it gelato, carafes of Prosecco or a stunning view.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    THE BEST

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This was my 1st trip since being on my own - I couldn't have done anything better. It was scary clicking that 'booking' tab but my life restarted as soon as I met the Exodus crew. So if you're not sure -honestly, do it!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I've probably gushed enough but just to say, thank you Exodus, thank you Andy, thank you Mario and thank you to my new friends who are still making me laugh out loud until my ribs ache!
  • Reviewed July 2019
    ZOE PHILLIPS

    Dolomites, Lake Garda & Venice ride

    Many of the reviews describe how stunning this ride is and it's all true. I'd like to review a slightly different side to this trip - how it changed me as a person and that is down to 3 things: 1. The ride as a whole and all the beautiful sights along the way 2. The friends I made and the "moments" we had that I will treasure and giggle about for ever 3. The leader - read on... Mario soon became re-named 'Super-Mario'; a true professional - caring, fun, sociable, knowledgeable, encouraging, supportive BRILLIANT, PASSIONATE & SIMPLY EXCELLENT. With mental health now recognised at being so important to people's well-being, Mario skilfully managed to transform me from a tired, unsure, lost soul back into a happy, confident, motivated person hungry and ready for the next challenge. I laughed like I have never laughed before, made wonderful friends, felt good about myself and relished the escapism for a week. I shall never forget this trip and it is refreshing to see someone (young) like Mario who adores his country, loves his work and shows such respect and kindness. From the moment we 1st shook hands to tearful goodbyes, he took full control in such a fantastic mature manner and I felt in safe hands throughout. I really hope his parents get to read this as they should be SO proud. I can't wait to do another Exodus trip (this was my first) but worry it won't be the same without Mario - the other Exodus leaders have a lot to live up to as he has set the bar so high! Thanks Mario.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching everyone on the group achieve those hills. With love and laughter, you can all get there and enjoy the rewards, be it gelato, carafes of Prosecco or a stunning view.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    THE BEST

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This was my 1st trip since being on my own - I couldn't have done anything better. It was scary clicking that 'booking' tab but my life restarted as soon as I met the Exodus crew. So if you're not sure -honestly, do it!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I've probably gushed enough but just to say, thank you Exodus, thank you Andy, thank you Mario and thank you to my new friends who are still making me laugh out loud until my ribs ache!
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Terry Cole

    Awesome

    Our guide Machele and back up driver Andy really looked after us , Michela went the extra mile with the history of Italy 🇮🇹 and Venice the best price wise restaurant , though the weather was extremely hot , looking forward to next year to come back again , thank you Exodus for a awesome holiday . One very happy cyclist 👍🇮🇹🍺🍺🍰🚴🏿💕

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Awesome place to ride your bike

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Michela , went the extra mile to look after everyone looking forward to be on his next guided trip

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Tacke extra cycling clothes for wen the weather is hot , , sun cream , drink plenty of water or a hydration tablets in your bottle

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Nothing really just awesome holiday
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Mike Reaveley

    A Wonderful Week with a Great Guide

    A brilliant trip from mountains to sea. The route is along immaculate cycle paths and quiet country roads. The cycling is rewarding and challenging for short periods and the scenery is spectacular.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    This really is a superb trip. There is plenty of cycling with some challenging climbs. Every day was full with so much to see and do. The scenery during the rides was varied and very beautiful. The towns we visited were all full of history whether it was Trento, Lake Garda, Verona, Vicenza, Padova or Venice. The highlight of the trip was the first two days in the mountains and the ferry ride across Lake Garda. A situation developed halfway across Lake Garda when certain items in the on-board bar reached a critically low level. Fortunately, an Italian Naval re-supply vessel was in the area and came along side and the white wine was soon replenished !! We were lucky the weather - clear blue skies with temperatures in the late twenties.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Mario is an excellent leader. The group's safety was always his top priority and he spent quite a bit of time moving within the group whilst on the move checking everyone was ok. There was never any doubt about what we had to do and when we had to do it, without being overbearing. He is warm, friendly and has a fantastic sense of humour (well you'd need one, dragging us lot around!) He was a great host in the evenings and took us to some good restaurants. On the last evening he booked a restaurant in the open right next to a canal, a wonderful location. He was knowledgeable about the countryside through which we were travelling. Overall, a great guy - hope I get him on the next trip. Cuido was our support vehicle driver. Obviously we didn't spend as much time with him but similar characteristics to Mario - friendly, helpful and very knowledgeable on cycling. Together, a great team !

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The more training you do the less gasping you'll do at the top of the hills

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you like cycling and culture this is the perfect trip for you.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Karen Ratcliffe

    Great mix of cycling, fabulous views and towns

    This was a lovely trip with lots to see in each of the stunning towns. We only passed through Soave (on the bikes of course) but we had a good extended break there for exploring! Lunch stops and coffee breaks were fabulous. Plenty of time for a decent lunch and a cheeky drink... or two. The cycling is a great mix of hills and cycle track, with a couple of decent climbs followed by some nice downhill switchbacks (views at speed) to reward your efforts!! Obviously it was everyone to their own pace. No pressure to ride fast or slow. There was plenty of opportunity to explore each of the beautiful towns, before and after dinner. Our guide was always happy to offer a much needed post dinner walking tour. The restaurants were all great so there was plenty to walk off! I’d happily go back to any of the towns to spend more time. The ferry crossing from the North shore of Garda to Desenzano is busy and lengthy. There’s no bar or cafe, and no outside deck options so go prepared with drinks, snacks, entertainment... it’s a long one!! You lose the bikes and catch the train from Padua to Venice. This made a nice change.. I’d been to Venice previously but only briefly so I appreciated the extra time to explore, and I super appreciated arriving without my sweaty kit on! :) It was a great way to spend the last full day. I highly recommend this trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It’s hard to say, as I enjoyed this trip from start to finish. I especially enjoyed the views cycling down to Garda.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was fabulous. Enthusiastic, energetic and passionate about his home town and country. Very knowledgable and full of stories.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Only the tip about being prepared for the ferry crossing, as mentioned in my summary notes. Take drinks, snacks and something to read or play ... there’s nothing on there!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Book it!! :)
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Rebecca Horsley

    Volcano to Venice

    Cycling straight forward. Some wonderful places. Interesting hotels. Weather was not great though.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Some of the culture art and churches.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    NA

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Weather unpredictable. Have an extra day at end for Venice.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    More time needed for visiting art and culture. Check all notes each day or you may miss something. Eg. Vouchers for places. Ensure you check where to get off the boat on lake Cards as not clear for all hotels.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    j allen

    DIdn't hit the high notes

    This was a curate’s egg of a trip, definitely not the best Exodus trip we have taken. It is rather a tour that is done on bicycles rather than a ride proper and yet it fails as a tour. The riding was not challenging enough for me and a bit challenging for my wife – so probably the right level for us as a couple. That said, far too much of the riding was done on endlessly boring cycling paths with unchanging views. There are a few climbs of decent length and steepness, hence the challenge for some of the group including my wife. Only two descents were memorable and I dislike being told to go slowly on them – go carefully yes, but not to go slowly for the hairpins that did not exist. And ultimately, very sad that you cannot ride from Padova (Padua) into Venice – due to lack of suitable routes - obviously beyond Exodus’ control. As a tour you visit some fascinating places, Verona, Vincenza, Padova and Venice to name the main ones, though only in Venice do you have time to explore. Vincenza has 23 buildings by the architect Andrea Palladio and Padova is home to a great university. Venice is one to see if you have never been before. That the visit to a family vineyard is considered to be the highlight of the trip for many – superb buffet lunch and most agreeable tasting – underscores that this is not an epic ride. The “support” van was a disappointment compared to our previous trips. For mechanicals, not an issue, but to support human endeavour distinctly lacking: only water was provided. No coffee, tea energy drinks; no biscuits, chocolate covered raisins or other energy giving eats; no picnic lunches magicked up in remote and beautiful places, no fresh fruit.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Sadly lacking one

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I understand that this was our group leader's first as leader. He was a little over-protective to start with but mellowed during the course of the week. Informative and helpful but lacking the obvious enthusiasm that we have had from leader's on other trips

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    With no sustenance on the support van, all coffee, tea and lunch stops are at cafes, pizzeria's, or other establishments requiring payment.... this adds noticeably to the overall cost of the holiday. If you wish to enter St Mark’s basilica In Venice – do not join the queue, instead take your day pack directly to the baggage drop (you are not allowed to take into the basilica) which is on a small side street to the left of the basilica and go directly to the front of the queue waving you baggage ticket (it’s free) – you will be allowed straight in.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We suffered from a distinct lack of fresh fruit and vegetables. The salads on the menus were not great.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Ed Jackson

    What a trip................

    This really is a great trip - with a good amount of cycling with some challenging climbs to get the heart and legs working. I love the fact that every day was busy with so much to see and do. The scenery during the rides was varied and very beautiful. The towns we visited were all full of history and culture whether it was Trento, Lake Garda, Verona, Vicenza, Padova or Venice.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The whole trip was very inspirational, but visiting Vicenza was definitely a highlight. You could feel the love and passion that Michele has for his home town and briefly meeting his family was very touching.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Michele was and is the best group leader I have had on any Exodus trip - he was my group leader when I went to Sardinia and I booked this trip for the pure reason that I knew he was the group leader. His energy is incredible and he is 100% focussed in making sure that everyone has a great time.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you have reasonable fitness just so you can get the most out of the holiday. You want to enjoy the rides as mush as you can and there are sections that are quite challenging , so a reasonable level of fitness is a huge benefit. And "throw yourself" into your holiday - your fellow travellers are a big part of your holiday, so join in with everything and you'll get so much more from the experience. I've certainly come back home with a new set of friends.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Don't hesitate to book this trip - a great combination of cycling and culture.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Gabrielle Barfield

    Fabulous

    This trip was an easy downhill cycle from Bolzano to Venice. Starting in the Dolomites with the amazing mountains surrounding us we were cycling mainly on beautiful cycle paths through the valley and along the Adige River. With 16 like minded people we were able to explore all the gorgeous villages on the way. With our guide Martino giving us full descriptions of the history of the areas we visited. The hotels were mostly average, all providing a hearty breakfast before riding. Lunch was had on the way and dinner was enjoyed with the group, usually Martino"s pick. all mostly good Italian food. I loved everything about this trip, the people, both locals and on the tour, the scenery, the cycling, the towns we visited, the culture, the history, the food. If you're wondering whether to do this trip, just do it. You won't regret it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Meeting a group of different people from different countries with a common interest of being fit, having fun, and seeing a different part of the world.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Martino was excellent in giving instructions of what to expect on the way etc. He was a wealth of knowledge on all things Italian, delivered with a sense of humour and patience. Roberta, our driver was also fabulous, friendly and so helpful.