Posted by Carol (NM) on 04/03/2005
We just returned from Switzerland and Italy yesterday. We had an incredible trip. Just a few tips to sponsors for future reference: The country of Italy shuts down from Good Friday to Monday Little Easter. Keep this in mind if you plan to travel over the Easter holiday. This was a problem, especially trying to find a place to eat lunch. We signed up for the Pisa excursion for $55. While the tower was spectacular, once we arrived we discovered that another eu 15 was requested to climb the tower. When we were in Venice, we stayed on the island Lido. We were required to spend another eu 6 to travel back and forth to Venice which was a waste of time and money. We did nothing on Lido except sleep, so we are not sure why we stayed there. The manager chased us down the street screaming for his keys (we only went to dinner); when we returned in the evening, he shut off the light in the lobby where our students were playing cards. According to him it was late.
While those are my negative comments, I have many good ones, too. Laura Pagano, our courier was fabulous. She kept our students and adults entertained/occupied day and night. She is knowledgeable (she is a native) and flexible. We tried to stay on schedule, but when you have a large group, things happen. Laura just made the calls and we were good to go again. She took our students out dancing (twice) and to the Vatican for the candlelight vigil. She instructed us how to stay safe on the metro as well as how to negotiate with the vendors. She speaks Italian, French, German and English. I highly recommend her for your next tour. The food was great. The Stadzkeller in Switzerland was entertaining. If you have middle school students you might want to leave when they perform the 'cow scene'. The dinner entertainment in Bucca Nicholas (Rome) was fun. Everyone sang along to 'That's Amore' and 'O Solo Mio'. We were joined in the trip by another group. The students had a great time getting to know one another. In fact, a couple of the kids are coming to NM this summer to visit us. The trip was a cultural exchange in more ways than one. ciao, ciao
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