Italian Espresso » Review by ContikiCough
I looked up all the hotels that Contiki booked before this trip and found that they all had one and two star reviews on Hotels.com and other review sites, this should have been a red flag for this trip. Everywhere we went the accommodations were very bad, the staff and the locals were very rude, everything was designed as a sales pitch. Honestly, many of the activities of this trip felt like timeshare weekend, they are really showing you the wine, or the leather, the glass blowing, etc. because they want you to buy it. I guess that's not really a bad thing, if these activities would have been a good experience. The problem is that the staff and the locals everywhere we went were very obvious with their disdain for us, whether that is due to the fact that we were foreigners or with Contiki I am not sure. The accommodations were all terrible, the staff resented us, no air conditioning, no internet, broken bathrooms, no amenities.. basically many hostels are better. On the first night the tour guide took us on a crowded bus in Rome, in which I did not want to go on, where I was subsequently pickpocketed, which crippled my finances for the rest of the trip. There was not proper warning given for the pickpocketing on the buses in Rome, something I would expect a tour guide to be aware of. It also takes some of the enjoyment away from seeing the sites, as the thieves frequent all those locations and you have to look out for them as much as looking at the sites. It should be known that pace of this trip is very grueling, expect little sleep as the night activities can go late and every morning there is a wake up call at 6 am to start the days activities. In my case this led to a fever and chills on the 5th day, as my "Contiki cough" was strengthened by my lack of sleep. This also complicated things as I had limited capability to get medicine or change the trip due to being pickpocketed. The bright spots of the trip was people I met and traveled with on Contiki, who were very nice and interesting, and the bus driver, who was really good.
Review written Sep 2012event 0.3