Thursday, November 20, 2014

Garden Travelers On The Go In 2015!

Ancient Sicily and the Amalfi Coast
April 15-28, 2015
(with an optional Amsterdam extension, April 28-30)
While winter weather sets in across much of the country, my mind is on traveling! 2014 found me leading groups to England, Scotland and Tuscany and 2015 is setting up to be even more exciting! We will be doing a total of three trips next year, the first in April to Sicily and Southern Italy with an optional extension to Amsterdam. You will find the full itinerary and pricing below.
September 9-21, 2015 will find us leading a trip to Normand and Belgium. That itinerary will be available soon and will also be posted on the blog, as well as on my website when complete.
November 19-December 4, 2015 will find us leading one of our biggest tours yet, exploring Australia for 17 days. We are currently working on this itinerary, hoping to have it complete by mid-December. It will also be available both on my blog and my website.
I hope you will consider joining us for one of these amazing tours to some of the world's most spectacular destinations. For questions, please email me at
Ancient Sicily and The Amalfi Coast
April 15          Depart the U.S. for Palermo, Sicily
April 16          Arrival in Palermo, Sicily--Dinner at our hotel in Erice
April 17                      Today we will visit the ancient Greek temple at Segesta, which can make a valid claim to being the best preserved in the world. This archeological site, about seventy kilometers southwest of Palermo and reflecting the presence of several ancient civilizations, will certainly amaze you.  Its amphitheater boasts a hilltop position on Mount Barbaro that is second to none.  We will return to Erice in time for you to enjoy free time in this wonderful town.
April 18                      Our second day of sightseeing finds us at The Cathedral of Montreal, one of the greatest extant examples of Norman architecture in the world. It was begun in 1174 by William II and in 1182 the church, dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, was elevated to the rank of a metropolitan cathedral. The church is a national monument of Italy and one of the most important attractions of Sicily.   We will continue to the Villa Romana del Casale, a Roman villa built in the first quarter of the 4th century and located about 3 km outside the town of Piazza Armerina, Sicily. Containing the richest, largest and most complex collection of Roman mosaics in the world, it is one of 49 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Italy.  We will spend the night in Taormina.
April 19                      This morning we will visit the private garden of Rossella Pezzino, Giardini Le Stanze in Fiore. Rosella began the villa restoration in 1996 and the garden followed shortly thereafter in 2000.  After visiting this garden masterpiece, we will be treated to a wonderful garden lunch. This afternoon we are in for another treat as we visit Villa Cuseni.  Often considered to be the finest house in Taormina, Villa Cuseni has enviable views of both the sea and Mount Etna. The terraced gardens were carefully designed to hold the rainfall from winter until needed during long, hot summer months. The gardens each display a stunning, eye-catching feature, as well as being adorned with some of the original citrus, other fruit trees, roses, vines and wisteria. As a relatively modern 20th century garden, you will see bold Rococo and Art Deco design. Dinner on your own tonight in Taormina.
April 20                      We will begin our day with a trip to the Benanti Winery where we will not only enjoy a tour of the winery, but also lunch and a wine tasting.  This winery, one of the most important in Sicily, has won several awards over the last twenty years and is located directly on the slopes of Mount Etna.  After lunch, we will return to Taormina where you will have an opportunity to visit this charming town at your leisure.
April 21                      Today we will visit the Garden of Biviere and Villa Borghese.  The garden’s owner, Maria Carla Borghese, will be our guide.  We will have a wonderful lunch after our guided tour and we promise that this will be one of the highlights of the trip!  After lunch, we continue to the garden of the Grand Marquess of San Giuliano at Villasmundo, near Siracusa. The property has been in the Marchesi PaternĂ² Castello di San Giuliano family for more than 800 years.  After our visit we will check into our hotel in Siracusa.
April 22          Today we will see ruins!  An early visit to The Archeological Park of Siracusa will start our day.  Until the Arab conquest of 878, Siracusa was the capital of Sicily and was by far the most important city on the island. We will visit the Ear of Dyonisus, the Greek Theatre, and the Ara (altar) di Ierone. Afterwards, we will walk through the historical centre of Ortigia to admire the Cathedral, constructed over the ancient Temple of Athena, the Aretusa fountain and the ancient and baroque streets. Lunch will be at your leisure in Ortigia. We will then depart for Catania where we will spend the night.
April 23          This morning, we will depart Sicily for our short flight to Naples. Once we have landed and collected our luggage, we will meet our private coach for a visit to Pompeii. As you know, Pompeii is one of the world’s most famous archaeological sites, having been buried in the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D. when it was a thriving city of 11,000 people, complete with a complex water system, an amphitheater, a gymnasium and a port. When we finish at Pompeii, we depart for the Amalfi Coast.  Tonight will find us staying in Ravello, one of the most beautiful and picturesque towns in all of Italy.  You will not be disappointed in Ravello!
April 24          We have been on the go since we landed in Sicily more than a week ago, so we hope you find this day a real gift—a day of leisure to explore Ravello! Ravello is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town’s Duomo (Cathedral), the villas Rufolo and Cimbrone and their gardens, the church of San Giovanni del Toro, and more await you in this most beautiful place. Or maybe you’ll make your way down to the water for a relaxing and leisurely afternoon.
April 25          Today we will travel to the Island of Ischia where we will visit the private home and garden of the late Lady Susana Walton.  This is a truly magical place and you will be awed by its beauty.  We will tour the garden and be treated to a garden lunch, followed by some free time in Ischia before returning on the ferry to Ravello for the evening.
April 26          This morning, we will depart Ravello and make our way north to Rome via the Palace of Caserta, known as the Versailles of the south. This extraordinary palace and garden is difficult to describe. Its sheer size and beauty will take your breath away. You really have to see it to believe it!  We will also make another special stop before arriving in Rome.
April 27          Today, we will spend the day in Rome. You will have the opportunity to see some of Rome’s most famous sites, including the Roman Forum, the Colosseum, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and more.
April 28          Depart Rome for the U.S. or take the optional extension to Amsterdam, listed below.
The cost of this trip is $4,250.00 per person. This package includes all ground transportation by private coach in both Sicily and Italy, your flight from Sicily to Naples on April 23, all entrance fees into the public and private sites visited as a group as noted in the itinerary, a minimum of one meal (breakfast) each day with some lunches or dinners also provided. Not included are the tips for our coach drivers in Sicily and Italy, usually $5.00 per traveler, per day.
Should you wish to travel singly, a single supplement is available on request. Single spaces are always limited due to limited availability of single hotel accommodations, so please inquire early.
Dec. 15, 2014—Deposits of $450 are due no later than December 15 and preferably sooner to secure your space on the trip. ***If you are traveling singly, your single supplement will be due at the same time as your deposit to secure your space.
Jan. 10, 2015—The first installment of $1,000.00 is due to Garden Travelers.
Feb. 10, 2015—The second installment of $1,400.00 is due to Garden Travelers.
Mar. 10, 2015—The final installment of $1,400.00 is due to Garden Travelers.
Optional Extension:  Due to the timing of this trip, we have a unique opportunity to add an optional, 3-day extension to Amsterdam to visit the world famous bulb display at Keukenhof, Het Loo palace and leisure time to explore Amsterdam. The cost of this extension is $450 per person, which will include a 3-night hotel stay (April 28, 29 and 30), ground transportation for group visits, cost of admission to the sites we visit as a group and breakfast each morning.  ***PLEASE NOTE*** If you choose to join us on this optional extension, you will be booking a “multi-city” international flight. You will be flying from the U.S. to Palermo, Sicily and then from Rome, Italy to Amsterdam, returning to the U.S. from Amsterdam at the end of the extension.  This is not difficult to book and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have. If you choose to join us on this extension, you will be returning to the U.S. on May 1, 2015 (staying in Amsterdam the nights of April 28, 29, 30 and flying out the morning of May 1 to land in the U.S. that afternoon/evening).
AIRFARE:      International airfares are NOT included in the price of the trip. This allows travelers to use a variety of means, including airline and credit card points, to purchase their airfare. Garden Travelers will be happy to answer questions and can offer some assistance to travelers in booking airfare and will suggest flights for all travelers to ensure that the group arrives at the appointed destination in a timely manner and we stay on our first day’s schedule.  ***PLEASE NOTE*** (repeating from above) You will be booking a multi-city flight if you choose to do the Amsterdam extension—U.S. to Palermo, Sicily, then departing Rome for Amsterdam and then Amsterdam to the U.S. at the end of the extension. Please consult with us regarding flights and times to ensure that the group arrives in a timely manner at each destination where the group will meet.
TRAVEL INSURANCE:  Garden Travelers does not offer travel insurance, but it may be obtained reasonably by individual travelers. We strongly suggest that you consider insuring your trip, as none of us knows when an unforeseen issue may arise. If you have questions about purchasing travel insurance, please do not hesitate to contact us, as we are happy to help.
PASSPORTS: Current passports are required for travel to nearly all destinations outside of the U.S.  Please be sure that your passport is current or that you apply for your passport (if you don’t have one) at least 90 days prior to departure, and even further ahead of time is preferable and highly encouraged.  Better to be safe than sorry!
G  A  R  D  E  N     T  R  A  V  E  L  E  R  S
T   E   R   M   S       &       C   O   N   D   I   T   I   O   N   S
RESERVATIONS & PAYMENT:  To guarantee your reservation, a deposit, noted above, is required at the time of booking. Payments must be made in accordance with the payment schedule.  Final payment is due no later than 60 days prior to departure, or as noted in the itinerary, after which time a late fee of $100 per person may apply.
CANCELLATIONS & REFUNDS:  A full refund minus $500/person administrative charge will be made where written notice of cancellation is received more than 90 days prior to departure.  If the airline ticket has been purchased, the client will own the ticket and will pay for it in addition to the $500.00 administrative charge.   Cancellations received 45-90 days prior to departure will incur a cancellation fee of 50% of the total tour price.  It the airline ticket has been purchased, the client will own the airline ticket and must pay for the ticket in addition to 50% of the total tour cost.   A cancellation fee of 100% of the total tour price will apply where notice of cancellation is received less than 30 days prior to departure. Garden Travelers will try to recover from its vendors part of the cost of the trip, but cannot guarantee what will be recovered for the client.  Once a tour has commenced there can be no refunds on unused portions. We strongly recommend that you take out trip cancellation insurance, which we are happy to make recommendations for.
PRICE CHANGE:  Tour price is based on a minimum of 20 passengers. Should the number of passengers fall below 20, Garden Travelers reserves the right to alter the tour price, in order to reflect that change. Price is also based on hotels as given, motor coach costs as negotiated, and an exchange rate of 1.5. Should hotels change for reasons beyond our control, or coach companies impose a fuel surcharge, or should the value of the dollar drop significantly against other currencies, the tour price may increase. Increase in tour price, for whatever reason, will not exceed 15% of list price.
TOUR PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE:  Airfare (unless otherwise noted), excess baggage charges, items of personal nature, telephone calls, room service and alcoholic beverages or other special beverages ordered at group meals, optional extensions, meals not listed in itinerary, or tips to the tour guide and driver. (At some special meals the cost of beverages will be included, and the customer will be made aware of these occasions.)
PRICES:  All prices are based on double occupancy and are in US dollars. Single supplements are charged to cover additional costs imposed by hotels on Garden Travelers for single occupancy rooms.
RESPONSIBLILTY:  Tour itineraries are planned in advance.  Garden Travelers reserves the right to make necessary alterations, should local conditions dictate.  When weather or unforeseen conditions beyond our control affect our routes or itinerary the best alternative will be provided. In exceptional circumstances outside the control of Garden Travelers, its agents or suppliers, such as, but not limited to the threat of war, political unrest, riots, civil disturbances, terrorist threat or action, legal or illegal labor disputes, adverse weather conditions and Act of God, Garden Travelers, its suppliers, or agents cannot be held responsible for such limitations or withdrawal of facilities. The use by Garden Travelers of transport and accommodations in connection with the tour is subject to the conditions of the operator/owners of such transport or accommodations, for whom Garden Travelers act as an agent.  If air travel is not booked with Garden Travelers, the client is responsible for meeting the group at the destination airport upon arrival.
Passengers agree that Garden Travelers or any associates thereof, will not be held liable in the event of any circumstance that may cause personal distress or injury to any traveler.

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