I’ve put the final itinerary together for my “Thirsty Traveler’s Tour” and am quite excited about the final outcome. In fact, I’m ready go right now!
June 16: Prague — Enjoy a guided walking tour of Prague’s city center and castle complex. Your guide will be a young, professional who lived through the Soviet days. You will hear first-hand accounts of life in Prague under Soviet rule, the former Czechoslovakia, and the struggles of making a living in a new democratic state. After lunch, enjoy a free afternoon to exploring more on your own.
June 17: Prague — The Czech Republic joined the European Union only as recently as 2007, although it has been free from the grasps of communism since 1989. This is as close as you’ll get now-a-days to experiencing socialism and the somber lifestyle of the former Soviet Union. Today is devoted to experiencing Prague, home of filling food and the world’s best pilsners. Later, hop on a flight to Pisa, Italy.
June 18: Volterra and San Gimignano — Join local resident Annie Adare who will take you on an informative walking tour of Volterra’s historic town center. The remainder of the morning is event-free. Following lunch, and maybe a siesta, we will travel a short distance to San Gimignano, a Tuscany hilltown noted for tourism, its many medieval towers, fine food and great wine. Later, we will return to Volterra and enjoy an Italian dinner at my favorite pizzaria.
After dinner, enjoy strolling the main streets with the locals on their daily passeggiata, considered a time to get out in the cool of the evening, get some exercise, and catch up on the local news.
You could go to bed, but why? Tonight we’ll enjoy an evening at my favorite wine bar, La Vena di Vino (the vein of wine). Join my friends Bruno and Lucio for a great night of fun interaction with the local crowd!
June 19: Florence –– Today is devoted entirely to Florence, the most famous Renaissance city in Europe. We will begin by traveling, by bus, to Florence (about 1.5 hours). Upon arrive in the city center, we will jump right in and visit the most famous site.
Today’s highlights include a visit to the Galleria Accademia, home of Michelangelo’s David. Additionally, you will visit the Duomo (famous for Brunelleschi’s dome) and experience a walking tour of the historic city center. There will be plenty of opportunities to get out on your own for shopping, another museum, or simply to relax. Later, return to Volterra for the evening.
June 20: Volterra — Enjoy a relaxing day in Volterra. We have no specific plans for today. Enjoy sleeping in, visiting a museum, getting in some shopping and actually enjoy the ambiance of the town.
Later we’ll gather at my favorite restaurant in all of Italy, Ristorante Del Duca. Here, husband and wife chefs, Genuino and Ivana, serve up the best food in Italy. You will enjoy fine “Tuscan-style” food and wine served in a unpretentious, yet formal setting. There is no better dining experience in Italy…period!
June 21: The Cinque Terre — The rugged coastline of Liguria is loaded with small fishing villages, terraced vineyards, olive groves, and breath-taking vistas. Although the area has become quite a tourist destination in recent years you’ll find the local folks still attached to their age-old customs and traditions.
Today, we are throwing our sightseeing itinerary to the wind, kicking back our heels, and enjoying our vacation in Italy’s Cinque Terre region. After an orientation, you will have the remainder of the day and evening to relax and enjoy our home village of Riomaggiore.
The Cinque Terre is well known for its fresh and crisp white wine. Even if you normally do not like wine, try it here. Equally as famous are the two “dessert” drinks. Lemoncello, a syrupy and tangy digestivo, an d Sciacchetrà, a sweet desert wine made from dried grapes.
June 22: The Cinque Terre — Traveling to and from the “five villages” in the region is easy by train, or boat, or trail. The National Park is full of scenic trails, which provide endless opportunities to get out and explore the outdoors. Others may wish to stake their claim on one of the many beaches a catch some sun. Each village has its own character, decor, and ambiance as well as plenty of shopping and dining options. After a full day of independent activities, we will meet in the town of Vernazza. Here, enjoy experience dinner at my favorite restaurant in the region, Il Castillo, which affords amazing vistas of the surrounding mountains, the sea, and the sunset. Enjoy a freshly prepared dinner of local seafood and pasta accompanied by the local Cinque Terre vino.
June 23: Fly to Dublin — We will leave Italy today and fly back to Ireland. Tonight you will have an opportunity to reflect and celebrate the Thirsty Traveler’s tour experience. Enjoy one last pint!
June 24: Your tour ends today. Fly out of Dublin to your hometown in the USA.