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Author: kba

Joined: 6/19/2010
Posts: 67
Trips Taken: 5
Traveler Since: 2009

February 22, 2013

I have emphysema and, unfortunately, strenuous walking, is an issue for me.  At this point I have been taking primarily river cruises but I would love to see a little more.  All of the land trips and most of the river cruises only say something like"you must be physically fit and be able to walk over cobblestones."  Can anyone suggest land trips which allow you to veer off on your own and take your time if necessary.  I absolutely do not want to be the one slowing a group down and I don't want people having to wait for me.  I also like to spend more than one or two days in a location.  Maybe I should just stick to river cruises but I would appreciate some other ideas.  Thank you. 

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 970
Trips Taken: 11
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

February 22, 2013

Unfortunately, the two land trips that I think would have suited your needs best are no longer being offered. 

The first was the Costa del Sol that involved two weeks based in Torremolinos, with an option for a third week, where you took day trips and a couple of overnights and had plenty of free time on your own to roam around.  It was my first GCT trip in 1999.

The second was Malta as the base trip.  There was a fair amount of walking and seeing excavations, but you wouldn't have to do more than you wished.  I believe it was a week or ten days with one overnight on Gozo.

Most of the other land trips mean moving from place to place after two or three nights.  And that's why I like the river cruises so much now.

I wouldn't worry much about the descriptions of hours of walking.  They're not continuous hours of walking, but over a period of a day.  And I think GCT errs on the side of safety by making sure that people understand that at least a moderate amount of exertion is necessary.  It wouldn't do for someone to spend all that money to get to a place and discover he/she wasn't able to enjoy it.

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 535
Trips Taken: 8
Countries Visited:

Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Canada, Mexico, Spain, France, Monoco, Croatia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji

Traveler Since: 2006

February 22, 2013

I do wish that the company rated the trips the way that Road Scholar does. One for leisurely walking and then numbered up to five or six for very active.

Pauline is correct, the Costa del Sol would have been a perfect trip for you. I went with an elderly friend who sometimes opted to stay around the hotel with other less active people. There were couples on our trip who had been going every year for several years. I hope they do bring that one back, I'd go again.

However, you might look into the Ireland trip. There was no fast-paced walking and we had stops where you could wait in the cafe and.or gift shop. On most of the stops we had plenty of time to explore on our own at our own pace. Because of a bad knee, I had difficulty walking but still enjoyed the trip. I couldn't climb the stairs for the Blarney stone, but the grounds are beautiful so I didn't mind missing that part.There are some long bus rides but the scenery is beautiful. If you manage to go ashore on your cruises I think you could manage the Ireland trip.

Another possibility is Discover South America. I think if Ireland would be a one, this would be a two. There were stairs in a few places but I don't recall any long walks. There was one person using a walker but she took taxis a couple of times and met us at the venue.

If you're interested in either, you could check the reviews and discuss the possibilities with a customer service rep.

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 970
Trips Taken: 11
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

February 22, 2013

Yes, I had forgotten about Ireland.  Not really, but as an idea for you.  The walking was not fast-paced.  I also didn't climb up to the Blarney Stone, but I did a little walking around the gardens and then sat on a bench and talked with a woman in a wheel chair.  She was traveling with her family and just let them go on ahead from time to time while she sat and enjoyed the sights.

Author: sealionlady

Joined: 8/1/2010
Posts: 125
Trips Taken: 13
Traveler Since: 2001

February 22, 2013

The new "Spain's Cultural Capitals" tour may work ..... it covers three cities, spending four nights in each.   Why not review it and see what you think?  There are plenty of days when very little is planned ..... either do an optional or opt to relax at a cafe or museum.  It's a new trip, there are no reviews yet, but it looks pretty good. 

Author: singsling

Joined: 6/23/2010
Posts: 241
Trips Taken: 11
Traveler Since: 1995

February 22, 2013

The other posters are right about Ireland being a good trip.  We were there in May-June 2012.  The first night we stayed 5 nights, the second location we stayed 4 nights, the third location we stayed 3 nights, and the fourth one we stayed 2 nights, then the other two locations one night.  This does not include the pre-trip to Belfast.  We liked that arrangement a lot.  There are two areas where if you wanted to walk, you could, but the one area with the Columns there was a shuttle bus down and back, so that's available for that site.  I did climb the Blarney castle, but didn't kiss the "stone"; my husband did.  It is almost not doable  for short people, Some of the steps are longer than my legs can reach.  Nothing to see up there, a little view; the interior of what was the castle is just stone walls, floors, steps, so you won't miss much.    Another area where we got  out of the bus and walked along water and up to the top to see afar--you don't have to do that either.  I forget the names of t hese places, but Ireland in Depth is a good one for you.  If you get the PD named DeeDee, you will have a good time and she does stay back regardless, she walks slow mostly, and will make sure you can make it. 

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 535
Trips Taken: 8
Countries Visited:

Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Canada, Mexico, Spain, France, Monoco, Croatia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji

Traveler Since: 2006

February 22, 2013

I don't know much about the new Spain trip, but that may another possibility.

One suggestion is leave a day early and rest before the tour starts. I did it in Ireland and wish that I'd done it on other trips. I spent the first night in a downtown hotel in Galway, slept as long as I wanted, had a leisurely breakfast and walked around the town at my own pace, then took a taxi to the hotel where the group was staying. The hotel is not located within walking distance of the city but GCT provided a bus for us.

I didn't take the Belfast pre-trip and wonder if that's where the walk with the columns are; I don't remember anything like that on the main trip.

I don't remember any strenuous walking. Glendalough is slightly hilly but there was no rush getting around. There is an elevator in the center at the Cliffs of Moher and you wouldn't need to walk far uphill or the stairs. The cliffs were fogged when we got there so we all just wandered around the center and had lunch in the cafe.

The hotel in Dublin is a few blocks from the center, but there is a tram right around the corner, which I took on a couple of times when my knee was bothering me. There was a woman using a cane and when I saw her and her husband in the National Museum she said they'd taken a taxi. It wasn't far so I doubt that it costs much.

I took the post trip in Dublin and enjoyed the hop on/off bus and walking through St Stephen's Green. I did not do the walks with post-trip group because I didn't think I could keep up but I saw and did what I wanted to in Dublin  and enjoyed it immensely.

Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 414
Trips Taken: 10
Traveler Since: 2002

February 23, 2013

I can't say a lot about the Ireland trip - I'm going in June and July this year. But from the description I suspect that singsling's comment about the columns refers to the Giant's Causeway. That is part of the Northern Ireland pre-trip extension.

By carefully choosing your participation in activities, and by consultation with the program director, you can vary the degree of activity to meet your needs on just about any trip. I honestly think that the most walking I have ever done on a GCT tour was on the Great Rivers of Europe cruise. Besides the walking tour of each port, my First Mate and I would spend all of our free time walking about in areas not covered by the scheduled tour. Or sometimes going back to spend more time in areas we had seen in passing.

I don't know how to say this tactfully or compassionately, so I'll just plunge in. Don't expect the pace or the itinerary of the tour to be modified to accommodate your lack of mobility. The pace of the tour is advertised and the itinerary specifies when and where considerable walking will be required. Plan ahead for alternate activities where the scheduled activities seem too stringent for your capabilities.

I have experienced times when a tour director was criticized for being too fast, and on one occassion, not with GCT, I joined in those complaints. I have also experienced at least once, and that was with GCT, when a small group complained of the slow pace of the walking tour. I believe that GCT has an expectation of the capabilities of their clients and does a good job of designing tours to fit. But where it does not inconvenience the main body of the group, the program directors will attempt to meet special needs.

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 970
Trips Taken: 11
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

February 24, 2013

I also agree with Luisa about going a day before and resting up.  And I did that when I went to Ireland in 2011.  Not for that purpose, but because there were no flights from Boston to either Shannon or Dublin on Day 1.  So I asked GCT to make my reservation on Aer Lingus from Boston to Shannon and then made my own reservation at the Park Inn at the Shannon Airport.  Got in early in the morning, checked into my room, and had a big Irish breakfast.  It was windy and raining, so there was no point in going anywhere even for a walk.  I put myself to bed and slept most of the day.  Had dinner there and breakfast the next morning before checking out.

I was wide awake and ready to go.  Whereas my sister and niece, who went in 2012, traveled from CT to Boston where they caught a flight to JFK and then on Aer Lingus to Shannon.  They were both exhausted when they landed.  It really makes a big difference if you can do it

As far as holding people up on walks, you can rest or go back as long as you let the PD or local guide know.  I do remember stops for coffee and/or tea, restroom stops, photo op stops.  I found the pace doable, and I am slightly asthmatic which is worse if I rush.  The only people that wanted to move faster than the group were a threesome in Malta, and the guide had to keep calling them back.

Author: asdfghj

Joined: 8/3/2012
Posts: 4
Trips Taken: 6
Traveler Since: 2009

February 24, 2013

 I don't know if you have considered Africa.  I took the Ultimate Africa trip last May. There was not much walking on the trip. We were in the Jeeps on game drives and could not get  out due to the wild animals.  There was a walk one day, but two people did not go. There was walking in Victoria Falls, but as we had mostly free time the three days there, you could pace yourself or do less.

The trip was fabulous. I highly recommend it. It is an OAT trip.

Author: kba

Joined: 6/19/2010
Posts: 67
Trips Taken: 5
Traveler Since: 2009

February 26, 2013

Thank you everyone for your thoughtful replies.  Spain, Ireland and Africa are definitely on my wish list and they do seem manageable.  Don't worry, Captain Larry, you are "spot on" and I am not offended.  I have been on a couple of trips where a fellow traveler thought the world ought to revolve around their abilities...or lack thereof....that's not me.  I would like to be able to head off on my own without being obvious or making a fuss.

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 535
Trips Taken: 8
Countries Visited:

Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Canada, Mexico, Spain, France, Monoco, Croatia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji

Traveler Since: 2006

February 26, 2013

kba, thanks for responding. It's nice to hear your take on our suggestions.

I don't think you'd have any problems on the trips that you're considering. I did not take the Belfast pre-trip but the main Ireland trip is not fast paced. On most stops, our PD made a few suggestions and told us when to be back on the bus and there is free time to explore at your own pace.

I hope you decide on which trip you'll do first and have a wonderful time.

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