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Old 10-06-2011, 09:15 PM   #1
Mirthrindr2
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Just Back from 9/22 Viva Italia

Just returned from our first trip with ABD two nights ago. The ABD trip ended last Friday 9/30, but we stayed for an additional 4 nights on our own and just returned 2 nights ago.

Longer trip report to follow soon, but a few thoughts I wanted to pass along quickly for a couple of folks I know will be on the 10/13 Viva Italia.

Our ABD guides were Tina and "Middle" Marco (there are apparently three Italy ABD guides named Marco). Tina is from the states and Marco was from northern Italy. Words cannot express how much we loved these two and how fantastic a job we felt they did. There chemistry was wonderful and they played off each other so well. In the most complementary sense of the term, they were like a Laurel and Hardy act and kept us laughing the entire time (Tina playing the part of Straight Man while Marco played the perfect proverbial Funny Man). I cannot say enough good about them. Tina will not be there for the 10/13 trip, but Marco indicated he will be so hope you enjoy him as much as we did.

All three hotels were very nice, but our order of favorites is Luna Baglioni in Venice, then Bernini in Rome, and finally the Hotel Paggeria Medicea in Artimino.

Our tour guide in Rome was named Stephan or Stephano. He was FANTASTIC. I hope you get him for your 2 days touring Rome.

When driving around Rome on the rather large bus, try not to look forward out the front windshield. There were a lot of white knuckles on our bus from watching the absolute craziness of driving in Rome, LOL. I’ll never look at another news article about the worst drivers in the US again because we have NOTHING on the Italians. Actually, to be fair though, they are the perhaps the “craziest” drivers, but I think they are far more skilled than US drivers simply by having developed the necessity.

The drive up the very narrow, winding road up the long hill to Hotel Paggeria Medicea in Artimino was outright scary. While I’m sure we were never in any true danger, a wedding had just apparently finished and so there were many cars flying DOWN the hill road as we made our way up. The road often had a steep drop-offs to the right and sharp corners on the road with no indication of the oncoming fast driving cars until they came flying around the corner only yards in front of the bus heading straight for us. The bus often had to slowly ride the far right edge of the road in a precarious manner for the cars to have enough room to squeeze pass on the left side going in the other direction and allow the bus to continue up the road.

Rome was my favorite location and was so full of excitement and things to see and do. Venice we thought was the most beautiful of the three locations. While we truly ENJOYED Florence, it was our least favorite location and was also the most crowded.

Well, that's it for now. Still feeling the effects of Jet Lag since only 2 nights ago my body was considering it 4:15 in the morning right now and I think still does.

To those heading on the 10/13 trip, have a fantastic time, I know you will. We were amazed and can't wait to do another ABD trip in the future.

Ciao!
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Old 10-06-2011, 09:20 PM   #2
sayhello
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I had Tina last year as one of the Guides on my Med Cruise ABD!

I'm glad you had a good trip! Looking forward to hearing more about it!

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Now posting my Greek Odyssey Trip Report (2013)

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Old 10-07-2011, 01:39 PM   #3
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Welcome back Mirthrindr2! Glad you had a wonderful time in Italy. It's hard not too. I have to agree that the drivers in Rome are outright crazy! Can't wait to read more about your trip and hopefully see some pictures!
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Old 10-07-2011, 06:41 PM   #4
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We had Tina two years ago on our viva italia trip in September. Also had Davide. We really enjoyed both of them as our guides.
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Old 10-15-2011, 12:58 PM   #5
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My husband and I are definitely looking into this for the future. My only concern would be that the trip would be too "disneyfied" Does that make sense. I like the idea that everything is handled for you but I also want to see the real "Italy" not a packaged view. What were your thoughts?
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Old 10-15-2011, 02:19 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by traceypi View Post
My husband and I are definitely looking into this for the future. My only concern would be that the trip would be too "disneyfied" Does that make sense. I like the idea that everything is handled for you but I also want to see the real "Italy" not a packaged view. What were your thoughts?
ABD's are really *not* Disneyfied! Honestly, the only "nod" to Disney on most of the itineraries is that you get exclusive pins. Also, generally, on one of the evenings (or on long bus rides) they may show a Disney movie. Other than that, what Disney means on these trips is a standard of quality (especially where the Adventure Guides are concerned!) and access to things that you can't always get access to on your own. It's the Disney *name* not the Disney characters...

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My Taming the Last Frontier ABD Alaska Trip Report! (2009)! 7 parts, pictures, stories, & more impressions!
Also check out my ABD/DCL Mediterranean Magic Trip Report! (2010)
NOW POSTING! My DIS Unplugged London/Paris/Disneyland Paris Trip Report! (2011)
Now posting my Greek Odyssey Trip Report (2013)

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Old 10-15-2011, 04:46 PM   #7
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I agree with Sayhello--what you are getting from Disney is their attention to detail; we've been on other tours which get you to the main sites etc--but we like the approach Disney has with a lot of backstory/culture. Really quite the opposite from a typical "packaged" tour.
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Old 10-16-2011, 05:36 AM   #8
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Please let us know how you spent your other 4-days....
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Old 10-31-2011, 09:50 PM   #9
Mirthrindr2
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Quote:
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Please let us know how you spent your other 4-days....
To GAN and others I know have asked for more information and a Trip Report from our 9/22 Viva Italia, my apologies, we've unfortunetly had a terrible tragic family event that started a few days after we returned from Italy, so we've been very preoccupied.

I hope to still compile a TR in the near future.
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Old 10-31-2011, 11:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mirthrindr2 View Post
To GAN and others I know have asked for more information and a Trip Report from our 9/22 Viva Italia, my apologies, we've unfortunetly had a terrible tragic family event that started a few days after we returned from Italy, so we've been very preoccupied.

I hope to still compile a TR in the near future.
I'm so very sorry to hear this, Jim. I'm sure folks understand!

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Check out my Southwest Splendors Trip Report! (2008). 5 parts, full of pics & details & impressions!
My Taming the Last Frontier ABD Alaska Trip Report! (2009)! 7 parts, pictures, stories, & more impressions!
Also check out my ABD/DCL Mediterranean Magic Trip Report! (2010)
NOW POSTING! My DIS Unplugged London/Paris/Disneyland Paris Trip Report! (2011)
Now posting my Greek Odyssey Trip Report (2013)

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Old 11-02-2011, 04:54 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mirthrindr2 View Post
To GAN and others I know have asked for more information and a Trip Report from our 9/22 Viva Italia, my apologies, we've unfortunetly had a terrible tragic family event that started a few days after we returned from Italy, so we've been very preoccupied.

I hope to still compile a TR in the near future.
Jim,
Just saw this post. We'll keep you both in our thoughts.
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