The folks I mentioned in the previous post had a great trip to Tuscany and Rome. They spent a few days at a top Florence hotel and from there took a docent-led walking tour of ancient Florence one day and on another they enjoyed a full-day wine tour accompanied by two certified sommeliers. They had a special lunch at a biodynamic goat cheese farm along with an array of Tuscan wines, as an introduction. Then they went to some of the finest chianti classico wineries for extensive private tastings. After their brief stay in Florence, they stayed at a huge organic farm estate with a castle. On the property the staff and interns raise heirloom produce and animals, cured meats are made, art and lifestyle workshops are held...what a special experience is available to guests there! From the estate they visited Siena and also took another wine tour, this one highlighting the famous Super Tuscans as well as some of the amazing wines coming from the Tuscan coast, believe it or not. Finally, they went to Rome, where in addition to all the usual Roman delights, they took docent-guided tours of ancient Rome and the Vatican. Every day I wished I was with them, especially for the wine tours!!
The only day I might have passed on was their day of arrival...I found out a few days before their departure that there was going to be a nationwide transportation strike. Yikes! But hey, this is Europe, and labor strikes are part of life, just like those four weeks of average vacation they get. I prepared the travelers as best I could with back-up plans on how to get where they needed to go, and advised them to pack a suitcase full of patience. When you are traveling and faced with a situation you can't control, but which does have a foreseeable conclusion and does not physically threaten you, sometimes it's best to just take a deep breath and have a cocktail or glass of wine if you can find one! I myself can get too stressed out if things do not appear to be unfolding as planned when I travel, so I probably need to heed my own advice more often. But I am usually armed with information and can find a way to remedy any problem that may arise, and that is what I try to do for my clients. I say this all the time when I'm researching health issues, but KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. That applies to travel, too.