I have not written a ‘blog’ before but, with this being my first Ramblers holiday, and with some gentle coaxing from our walk leader, maybe now is the time to ‘break my duck’.
Having enjoyed several coaching holidays in various parts of the world I decided to have a change in 2013. A friend suggested having a look at the latest Ramblers Worldwide brochure.
Searching for somewhere new to visit which would include a mixture of historical sight-seeing and plenty of opportunities for walking amidst some spectacular scenery, I chose ‘A Classic Greek Journey’.
And what a good choice it turned out to be! In a nutshell the itinerary took our group of twenty from Delphi to Olympia, and onto Sparta and Nauplia, before finishing in Athens.
The archaeology and history, in the shape of some surprisingly well-preserved temples, amphitheatres and monuments, certainly lived up to expectation. Generally the sites included well laid out and informative museums and there was plenty of time to take in both. If you’re fascinated by Greek mythology then this is the tour for you.
I was not the only person travelling on my own – only twelve of the group were paired up – and anyway we all seemed to get along really well. I think this was helped by our evening meal arrangements. Our leader, Alison, made the effort to ‘recce’ suitable tavernas within walking distance of our hotels. Often we sat down at one long table which encouraged us to mix more, rather than making a bee-line for the same faces each night.
I’ve always liked a structure to my holidays – to know broadly what each day holds. Our pre-dinner briefings, together with Alison’s daily dose of fast facts, kept us all informed and aware. So if the next day’s schedule didn’t wholly appeal, of if you were starting to feel ‘ruined out’ then you could take a rest, or do your own thing.
So would I choose Ramblers again? I suppose in a sense this wasn’t a typical Ramblers holiday – the emphasis being more on walking at the archaeological sites rather than in the countryside. But yes – I most certainly would – I liked spending more of my time in the fresh air, rather than simply travelling, and I particularly enjoyed the camaraderie of a smaller group. In the latest brochure the ‘cities and parks’ of Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius are beckoning!