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Author: rlocke39@gmail.c...

Joined: 8/28/2013
Posts: 2
GCT Trips Taken: 2
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2006

October 08, 2013

I recently completed a tour where every pre-trip document warned that extended walking and walking on uneven pavement was clearly spelled out. Yet there were several in our group who had severe problems. This resulted in the trip leader having to slow down the entire group or falling back to be sure the stragelers didn't get lost in the crowd. This further resulted in the majority of the group missing explainations by the trip leader as we passed interenting places along the route. Not heeding these walking warnings is disrespective to the entire group. 

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 977
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
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

October 08, 2013

All the trip descriptions contain pretty much the same wording when it comes to uneven pavements, hazards, etc.  The only exceptions are the ones that have really strenuous hiking and climbing.  This is known as CYA.  For most of us, we can manage alone or with a little help from our companions or from the Program Directors.  If anyone is really causing delays along the way, the PD will suggest that they skip one of the walking tours.  If anyone really cannot manage, but insists on joining in anyway, the PD can arrange for them to be sent home.

These tours are designed for the older traveler.  GCT can use the word "experienced," but we all know what that means.  I have been on tours where people use canes (I do myself), but not where people use walkers.  And I don't think wheelchairs would even be allowed.  So I'l not sure how much anyone could have been that inconvenienced.

Author: kba

Joined: 6/19/2010
Posts: 67
GCT Trips Taken: 6
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2009

October 09, 2013

It would be interesting to know which trip was involved.  I would also like to know what "severe" means....Do you mean walking with a cane, using a walker or rollator?  I have been on several GCT trips.  Usually fellow travelers who do not feel they can "keep up" are very considerate and make other plans.

Author: tpreminger

Joined: 5/14/2011
Posts: 48
GCT Trips Taken: 3
OAT Trips Taken: 3
Traveler Since: 1999

October 09, 2013

 

When I came back from Greece I talked with OAT about this issue.  Walking on cobblestone and uneven paths is one thing. Climbing STEPS is another and Greece is full of steps, up and down the very large and steep hills.  The cable car wasn't working as we were leaving Santorini and it's 640 steps back to the harbor.  Walking up the side of a mountain to see an in situ Khori meant steps every 50 feet or so.  There are steps EVERYWHERE in the country.

Steps help minimize the steepness of the climb, but require a different set of muscles and can wear a person out sooner.

I was told adding the challenge of steps to  descriptions is under consideration as a number of people have brought up the issue.

I use and recommend a walking stick as even those who don't need one will find they help maintain balance when walking on unfamiliar terrain.

Author: arnold

Joined: 10/20/2010
Posts: 15
GCT Trips Taken: 8
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2004

October 09, 2013

 I sympathize completely with the original poster on this issue.  While I have enocountered many considerate travelers who forego certain strenuous parts of the tour for the good of the group,   I have also been on more than one trip with GCT during which the mobility of the group was severely compromised and an  unproportionate share of the PD's attention was diverted to one person. 

Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 443
GCT Trips Taken: 10
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2002

October 09, 2013

This subject was discussed extensively in a previous thread -- one I have been seeking but unable to find. The general tone, as I recall, was very similar to this one. GCT trips (I can't speak for OAT) are designed with the "average" tourist in mind. There is a pace programed in that will allow the desired highlights to be viewed without rushing or pushing anyone. There will almost always be individuals for whom the pace is too fast, and usually a few for whom it is too slow. Unfortunately, on the Amalfi Coast and Tuscany tour in 2007 we had both in the same group and the friction was palpable. Only the strong will and vast experience of the program director served to defuse the situation and allow all (or nearly all) to have an enjoyable tour. The relatively young "power walking" couple expressed that it was their last GCT tour, to which everyone else, mostly silently, said "Amen!" The one individual who was the slower downer was counseled to also seek other tours in the future.

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 559
GCT Trips Taken: 6
OAT Trips Taken: 2
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. Ireland

Traveler Since: 2006

October 09, 2013

OAT/GCT activity descriptions have been discussed before and most seem to think that they are all right the way they are. However, I think that steps make a huge difference in an activity level. Even younger, healthy people have knee problems that would make it painful to walk down 640 steps.

Road Scholar Greek Island trip description below.

Activity Notes

Walking up and downhill, up to two miles per day. Standing up to four hours per day, with breaks; uneven terrain and steep stairs without railings at historic sites.

"Steep stairs without railings" would make me think seriously about that trip.

Another question: I always wonder what posters mean when they write "walking stick." Is it a cane, a wood walking stick or a collapsible metal trekking pole? When I see "walking stick" I think of walkers with their wood poles in Switzerland.

 

 

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 977
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
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

October 09, 2013

Since I could be accused of being a "slower-down" type, I should say that most people like me know their limitations and don't attempt anything we couldn't accomplish.  On the Britanny post-trip extension, I had already decided I wouldn't attempt Mont St. Michel even before I fell in Rouen.  And I wasn't the only one.  And because I was nervous after my fall, I didn't take most of the walking tours, although I was very sorry to miss Honfleur which I had looked forward to.

Author: tpreminger

Joined: 5/14/2011
Posts: 48
GCT Trips Taken: 3
OAT Trips Taken: 3
Traveler Since: 1999

October 09, 2013

 Luisa  

A walking stick can be any or all of the items you mentioned. Though these days with travel restrictions being what they are most people have a pole, stick, or cane that folds into smaller segments. 

I have a decorative cane that folds into three sections and fits into a 6" x 12" pouch.

 I've seen ski poles, intricately carved canes, victorian walking sticks, even a  cane made out of pcp pipe that pulled apart and fit into the gent's carry-on.  Airlines want those items to take up as little room as possible as well as store easily.

You can find a variety of poles, sticks, canes at your local sporting goods store,  pharmacy,  or online.

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 977
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
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

October 09, 2013

Mine is a very pretty floral pattern that folds up.  I got it originally because I thought it would be a good idea to bring it on trips, although I didn't need it for years and years.  It always went in the bottom of my suitcase.  And I think I found it in a Christmas gift catalog.  Of course, I do need it now mostly because I'm afraid of falling.

Author: grandcircle

Joined: 3/5/2010
Posts: 279
GCT Trips Taken: 0
OAT Trips Taken: 0

October 09, 2013

Hello Everybody -

Thank you for your comments.

We do our best to educate travelers on the level of difficulty of our trips - both over the phone during the booking process & through the Traveler Handbook mailed with the reservation confirmation.  We rely on travelers to make informed choices around their own personal circumstances. 

Rlocke39, we will be contacting you offline to further discuss your experience.

Kind Regards,
Michelle
GCT/GCCL Forum Moderator

Author: jl.anderson

Joined: 3/17/2010
Posts: 83
GCT Trips Taken: 1
OAT Trips Taken: 4
Countries Visited:

With OAT/GCT: China, Peru, Ecuador, Ukraine, Russia, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, plus 40+ more countries on my own.

Traveler Since: 2007

October 09, 2013

captainlarry:

Is this the thread you were searching for?  It was on the OAT Forum under suggestions:

http://www.oattravel.com/community/travel-forum.aspx?g=posts&t=3697

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 559
GCT Trips Taken: 6
OAT Trips Taken: 2
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. Ireland

Traveler Since: 2006

October 09, 2013

The folding cane that can fit into a 12" pouch sounds good. I have an aluminum trekking pole but it doesn't collapse that much so I have to bring a larger suitcase than I actually need.

 

Thanks for the information.

Author: grammyflo

Joined: 3/15/2010
Posts: 177
GCT Trips Taken: 13
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2002

October 09, 2013

I found my folding cane in the Travel Smith catalog.  I take it everywhere when leaving the ship. I carry it folded and out of the way in my GCT shoulder bag.  Almost never use it, but when climbing stairs (hills) without railings, uneven ground, it comes in very handy. (trick knee) Balance is everything.

Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 443
GCT Trips Taken: 10
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2002

October 09, 2013

Is this the thread you were searching for?  It was on the OAT Forum under suggestions:

http://www.oattravel.com/community/travel-forum.aspx?g=posts&t=3697

jl, that's not the one I was refering to, but it is a very good thread that says much of the same things. Thanks. The one I was looking for was on GCT Forum, since I posted on the thread and I have posted very little on OAT.

As to the folding cane, I now have one. I have neuropathy and therefore have balance problems. Just before departing for Ireland this past June I went to a pharmacy in Vienna, Virginia and bought the cane for about $25. It folds to a package measuring about 10 inches by 6 inches. It fits in my iPad bag, along with the tablet, and unfolds to the proper length for my 72-inches height.

Author: kba

Joined: 6/19/2010
Posts: 67
GCT Trips Taken: 6
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2009

October 10, 2013

Good Morning Captain Larry:

I believe the post to which you are referring is in the Tuscany/Amalfi (May 2012) column.  Your posts are wonderful and very well thought out. 

Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 443
GCT Trips Taken: 10
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2002

October 10, 2013

:-)

Author: frederickperona

Joined: 6/23/2010
Posts: 5
GCT Trips Taken: 6
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2005

October 10, 2013

 My husband carries a wooden cane/seat he has Parkinson's and has been allowed to carry it on flights for 5-6 years. He will continue to carry it however he has recently had DBS surgery and most of his Parkinson's symptoms are gone...so we are off on a Elbe RIVER  cruise in Appril to celebrate.

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 559
GCT Trips Taken: 6
OAT Trips Taken: 2
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. Ireland

Traveler Since: 2006

October 11, 2013

The following is the warning for the Greek Island cruise in Know Before You Go. "This Greek Island cruise features a fair amount of walking over uneven surfaces."

No mention of stairs or steps without railings. Stairs might be mentioned in the Handbook (which is mailed after registration) and judging from the questions on this forum, I think many people do not read the handbook carefully (if at all) and there's no guarantee the customer service rep will mention it when someone calls to register.  

What does a "fair" amount of walking mean? People will interpret that differently and there will be travelers who are slower than others.

 

 

Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 443
GCT Trips Taken: 10
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2002

October 11, 2013

kba's search was much more thorough than mine. Here's the link to the thread I was thinking about"

http://www.gct.com/community/travel-forum.aspx?g=posts&t=2541

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